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Returning to Work? Don't Forget to Mention Your Kids

Staying at home counts as work experience

Published on: September 18, 2018

Woman interviewing for a job

Are you preparing to trade in crib sheets for spreadsheets? For the 29 percent of American moms who are SAHMs, returning to work after a few years can be daunting.

Whether you’re a mom returning to work or someone who hires others, here’s a list of things to keep in mind:

Own it

That gap on your resume doesn’t mean that there was a gap in your life. It represents sacrifice and a strong sense of self. You knew what you and your family needed at that time. 

You took the risk to leave your former place of employment, along with many of the securities it allowed. You are a risk-taker and you owe it to your past self to honor the gap for the full range of experiences it brought to your family. 

Never shy away from talking about your employment gap in an interview. Own the gap, and your interviewer will begin to see the value you bring to their company because of it. 

Value it

Most likely, the biggest reason why you avoid talking about your employment gap like the plague is because society has told you that the work mothers do isn’t valuable. Reframe what you did while at home, so the experiences more clearly relate to a work setting. 

Did you do all the grocery shopping for your family on a single income? Sounds like you’ve got great budgeting skills. Do you have multiple children under 5? You must have skills in project management, employing conflict resolution practices and working creatively to solve problems in high-stress environments. 

Remember: You didn’t just cuddle cute babies 24/7 when you were a SAHM. Stop letting others convince you that your time was not well-spent. 

Sell it

The no. 1 thing that you can do to tear down the misconceptions around employment gaps is to talk about it.

Think of it as a great sales pitch. Use action verbs; you didn’t merely lead, you achieved, developed, directed and executed. And you didn’t just help, you counseled, facilitated, guided and rehabilitated. 

It can be hard to talk about what makes us great. If there’s any time to give yourself a little brag, make it in your job interview. The work you have done is important. Don’t be the first one to forget that. 

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