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If you're a stay-at-home mom considering a return to the workforce, this blog is your companion every step of the way - from discerning your career direction to preparing your application and addressing your resume gap, this is the perfect place to start.

Resume Gaps: How to address your career break while job searching

interviews job search linkedin resume Sep 12, 2023

Many moms who have paused their careers to raise their children worry that the gap on their resume will stand in their way of landing a job. If this is you, rest assured that we have some helpful strategies to help you overcome the gap and proceed with confidence.  In fact, a recent survey by Indeed Flex found that 68% of people have experienced a gap in employment so you’re not alone, resume gaps are becoming more common, and employers’ views are shifting. 

Let’s talk about some strategies for representing your career break in a way that addresses any concerns an employer might have, while turning their attention to the tremendous value that you bring. Often naming the reason for a career break answers any questions that an employer has so that they can look beyond it and understand the skills that you bring to the table.  Remember, you do not need to implement all of these strategies – do what feels best to you and feel confident in yourself.  A gap in employment isn’t something that you should feel you need to explain or apologize for – instead these are strategies to bring transparency to your candidacy and help you communicate your past experience.   

Employment gaps on your resume 

There is no requirement that you must include your stay-at-home mom experience on your resume but some people choose to include it and here are a few reasons why... 1) it clears up any question that an employer may have about your gap in employment and 2) it allows you to highlight some of the skills that you’ve developed while you’ve paused your career – this is particularly relevant if you’re applying for jobs where there are transferrable skills with your work as a stay-at-home mom. 

If you do decide to include your stay-at-home mom experience on your resume, you may want to include a few bullet points to help you communicate the work that you did and the skills you developed.  What tasks were you responsible for as a stay-at-home mom?  Did you manage daily household operations, budgets, schedule management, child development, learning and curriculum development, etc.?  What skills did you utilize that translate to the workplace?  Did you rely on your skills in time management, calendaring, multi-tasking, budgeting, teaching, and/or organizing to help you run a successful household?  Think through your day-to-day, the things you accomplished, and the skills you used and highlight the things that are most relevant to the jobs you’re planning to apply for. 

That said, some people choose to leave their stay-at-home mom experience off of their resume and use the space instead to highlight other parts of their skills and background that make them a strong candidate.  You have limited space on a resume so if you believe the best use of that space is to focus on your summary, skills, past work experience, and a combination of volunteer experience, trainings and/or certifications, and projects then that’s a great approach as well. 

Employment gaps on your LinkedIn profile 

LinkedIn recently introduced a new “Career Break” feature that allows professionals to address the gaps between more traditional employment in the Experience section.  If you select to include a career break on your profile, you can choose between one of several reasons why you took a break and one of these options is “Full-time parenting.”  This is a great way to create transparency and indicate why you have a gap in employment on LinkedIn. 

Employment gaps in an interview 

If a question arises in an interview regarding your gap in employment history, we’d first like to remind you that you’ve already made it to the interview stage.  If your resume gap hasn’t impacted your candidacy thus far then an interviewer is probably just trying to gain a complete view of your experience and employment history. If they do ask about your career gap, it is likely in the spirit of better understanding you and they will likely view your time spent raising your family in a positive light so assume their intent is supportive and proceed with confidence in your response. 

We’d recommend honesty in answering this question because it builds trust instead of trying to hide something.  Briefly answer the question and then move on with genuine excitement for the future.  You could say something like, “I paused my career to raise my children and now that they are a bit older, this is the perfect time for me to return to the workforce. I am excited about this opportunity because I believe that my skills in __________and passion for __________ align well with the company’s goals.”  This type of response answers the question honestly while refocusing on your qualifications as a candidate. 

As you take these next steps in your job search, remember that you have grown as a person during the time that you’ve paused your career and you bring new insights, efficiencies, and passions (among other skills) to a future employer.  If you move through your job search with confidence, employers will sense it!   

If you’re looking for more strategies for addressing your resume gap, check out our free guide, “15 ways to overcome the gap in your resume.” In addition, if you are looking for more actionable tips to support your job search? Sign up for our newsletter below.  And as always, we’re with you all the way! 



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