5 Resume Tips for Moms
As a mom you might face several challenges writing a top-notch resume, such as addressing gaps in your employment history and ensuring that you’re not underselling your professional abilities. Read on for five resume tips that will help you address common challenges so you can write an effective resume.
Tip 1: Know Your Career Vision
A lot of clients I’ve worked with have come to me first and foremost wanting to work on creating a top-notch resume that will land them a job. Many people think a resume is the ticket to a job offer.
I’m going to fill you in on a secret. The resume is just a tool you use to express your career vision. It's your career vision that will land you a job. Your career vision defines your personal brand, which you share with prospective workplaces through your cover letter, resume, interviews, and even LinkedIn. The first step to creating an effective resume is knowing your career vision.
Introducing yourself to prospective employers as “currently on maternity leave” is not going to elevate your resume. Before you dust off your outdated resume and start breathing new life into it, take the time to ensure you have a clear plan for where you’re going currently in your career. What’s your end goal? What unique value can you contribute to an organization? What’s your career story – past, present, and future? Once your career vision is clear, use it to create focus and consistency across all your personal branding tools, including your top-notch resume.
Tip 2: Showcase Current Career Accomplishments
There are three formats you can use to organize your resume, known as the chronological, functional, and combination formats. The chronological resume is favoured most by hiring managers because it’s easy to see what a job candidate has accomplished over time and highlights recent career accomplishments. Some hiring managers may even avoid other resume formats if they don’t see a chronological sequence of career accomplishments because they think the job candidate is hiding something from their past, whether it’s a poor employment experience, job hopping, or a long employment gap. I recommend my clients start with creating a chronological resume before they try out another approach.
Moms with a recent gap in their employment history may struggle more to show their recent career accomplishments in a chronological resume. What are you to do if you have a recent employment gap?
Career accomplishments include your employment history, but you can also demonstrate your career accomplishments through your education, training, and volunteer contributions. If you’ve been out of employment and are planning to transition back to a job soon, pursue educational and volunteer opportunities relevant to your career vision. Then include these recent activities in your resume to show prospective employers what you’ve been accomplishing to stay up to date in your profession.
Tip 3: Use Industry Norms
If you’re feeling pretty settled into your work and family life but feeling under challenged, consider if this is a good time for you to step up to the next level in your organization or industry. If you want to advance your career it’s vital that your resume reflects industry expectations.
Emphasize keywords common in your industry, highlight sought after skills, and include sections in your resume that are relevant to your field (e.g. “Technical Skills” or “Project Experience”).
Are you unsure of what to emphasis in your resume to fit industry expectations? Set up a few informational interviews with professionals in positions relevant to your career vision to get their insight on how they advanced their careers. You can ask to share your resume for their feedback to target it for advancement in your field.
Tip 4: Don’t Undersell Yourself
Research shows that mothers experience a drop in confidence when they take a leave from the workplace, but this drop in confidence doesn't correspond with an actual decline in their abilities. It’s all perception.
Be aware of this trend when you craft your resume. As you include information in your resume, ask yourself if you’re showcasing your strengths. Your strengths are valuable to an organization and that’s what hiring managers want to see. Don’t hide your accomplishments. Now’s your time to shine.
Tip 5: Focus on Results
I often look over resumes that list job duties. These resumes do nothing to portray the value that a job candidate will bring to an organization and will quickly end up in the ‘no’ pile in a selection process. Knowing that many mothers experience a drop in their career confidence (see Tip 4) this is an important tip to pay attention to while writing your resume, especially for moms who have been out of the workplace.
Meticulously go through your resume to turn each bullet point into an accomplishment. You can do this by re-writing your duties to emphasize what benefits resulted from your performance. How did completing each duty result in a positive impact for your organization, clients or customers? Quantify results whenever possible. By focusing on the benefits you created in past workplaces, you prove to hiring managers that you make results happen. They’ll be enticed to put your resume into the ‘yes’ pile so they can meet you to learn more.
Do you need resume help? Contact Meg to learn about her resume review services. Get personalized, expert advice that will prepare your resume for your next career move.