LinkedIn moms? Seriously? Yep. When I was recently asked to speak at a career conference and told that a segment of the audience will be women who have stayed at home to raise their kids and who are now jumping back into the work force, I thought their biggest question is going to be: “How do I fill the gap in my resume?” For many women who decided to take a hiatus from their careers to raise a family, jumping back into the workforce can be a tough nut to crack for many reasons.
- The first person you have to get past is the twenty-something HR person who conducts the phone interview and who hasn’t a clue about your experience or what you can offer the company because s/he is only looking at keywords and how old you are because your resume screams “I’ve had a break in my work history,” or “I’m old!” Oy vey!
- If you’re lucky enough to get past the telephone interviews then you need to pass the in-person test and make sure “you’re the right fit” for the business and not feel like someone’s mother or worse, grandma! You’ll overdress for the interview because that’s what you know, or because you have no money to buy a new wardrobe post pregnancy. But in either case, better to be overdressed than under-dressed. By the time you’ve gotten to this point, you should be able to sell yourself anyway.
However, you need to get the phone interview and with 95% of HR professionals using LinkedIn to either find or vet candidates based on what they see there, your LinkedIn profile better be up to snuff.
So what do you do when you have a gap in your resume?
Well,with over 28,000+ women on LinkedIn with the words “Stay at home mom” in their online resumes some have been very creative in describing their “leave of absence from the workforce” as:
Title: Stay at Home Mom at [Last Name] Inc, or [Last name] House
One woman’s LinkedIn profile showed a gap twice in her resume where both times she indicated she was a stay-at-home mom in her “Experience” section. She worked at eBay for 13 months, took 2.5 years off to be a “stay at home mom”, returned to the workforce at a less popular company for 5 months, then dropped out of the workforce again as a “stay at home mom” for the past 18 months.
In addition to adding the creative title and company to your profile, others have gone a step further to add a qualifying description:
Leaving a description is helpful to explain the gap. And whatever the case for your gap (raise a family, take care of a sick family member, etc), it’s important to be proud of your decision, not regretful.
Both of these tactics are great ways to alleviate that gap in your resume and jump back into the rat race!