Help with Resume After Being a Stay at Home Mom for 5 Years

Updated on August 23, 2011
M.L. asks from Springfield, IL
11 answers

Hi! I am hoping to return to the workforce as soon as possible. However, when I look at my dusty old resume, there is a 5 year gap of unemployment. I've been a stay-at-home mom all those years and now I am unsure of what to put to fill that gap. Should I add homemaker to my resume? Stay at home mom? Will this turn away possible employers?
Any advice will be gladly appreciated!

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answers from Santa Barbara on

Please read what Everly wrote....this is for professional experience. This is not the time to be cute at put that you are a M., the director of lunches, park time coordinator and lead diaper changer. You can have an small additional section for community activities to put things like school board and neighborhood watch coordinator.

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answers from Albuquerque on

Do NOT put homemaker or stay at home mom on your resume! A resume is work professional jobs only. I have hired many people and I would seriously question the judgement of someone who put stay at home mom on their resume. Simply list the professional jobs you've had with the years you held those jobs. There will be a gap, but if you're qualified that won't matter necessarily. When you interview you can explain that you've been home for five years but are ready to come back to the workforce now.

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answers from Houston on

My church offers free career counseling for this, with no pressure to join the church or anything. They cater to a lot of stay at home moms returning to the work force after years of work gaps with resume building, finding their strengths, interviewing skills.

Don't worry about that gap. Focus on your strengths. If you were in the PTA or soccer team mom, in the church nursery or whatever, you can even include things like that.

Advice here:

Or, you can find a career counselor here:



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree that having something more recent would be useful: board member, volunteer at your kid's school, etc. I'm struggling with that, but have a patchwork quilt of volunteer work I will plug in.



answers from Chicago on

I agree with Everly, too. However, I don't know that I'd just leave a gap completely unexplained on the resume. When I was a hiring manager, if I saw a large gap of more than a year with neither an explanation nor other relevent activities to fill the gap on the cover letter or resume, I was more likely to put it in the "other" pile.

If you were on a school board or did something with added non-home responsibility, that should definitely go on your resume under the "other activities"-type section. In your cover letter, you can also talk about the types of accomplishments you had in the last 5 years and prior to staying home that would correlate to the position you're applying for.

Perhaps while you're looking for a job, take a class or two at the local community college to brush up on skills and such to make yourself more marketable.

I'm sure I'll be facing this same challenge in some years if I decide to re-enter the workforce--since I just left it 2 years ago, I've got a little time to figure my future out!

Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

when I updated my resume, I listed my previous experience as "B.K.".....before kids!

& then I added a "future goals" secure job outside of home.



answers from Minneapolis on

Make sure that you list accomplishments - anything that you did that made money, saved money, reduced risk, or improved quality for the company - while at your previous jobs. Worry less about the gap and more about the quality of what is on your resume.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree with Everley. Just list your accomplishments and brief work history.
Resumes have changed a lot. Accomplishments are the main focus (ex. Increased sales by 12% in 2005) not the timeline. But DO include a brief work history as well.



answers from Chicago on

I used to be a customer service manager and did all the hiring for my department. I'm a stay at home mom now myself, but when I was still working, I would much rather see what you were doing for the past 5 years then see a gap that long. Simple: "stay at home mom of 3 etc" would be great.....
Different people might look at it differently, but that was how we looked at it at our company....
Good luck!



answers from New York on

It really helps to have a current date on your resume. Sometimes, when I see that the most recent date is 2006, I stop looking. So I would put something like 2006 - present and then decide how you'd like to handle the wording. Try to include if you were a PTA supporter, church organizer or somehting like that. But put something next to that date (even simply Mother of 3 - it is what it is).

An objective would be helpful, too.



answers from Chicago on

Leave the resume as the professional work you've done. Use the cover letter to say you are looking forward to returning back to the professional work after a 5 year haitus to focus on your family.

When I was laid off I did a few other things, but they didn't tie at all to my professional career. I left those things off my resume. I used the cover letter to state I took the time to focus on personal items and was looking forward to continuing my career.

There's a place in Lake Forest called the Career Resource Center ( For a nominal fee, you can meet with an HR professional weekly to help guide you in your search for work. Well worth the money.

Best of luck!

Good luck!