Resume Question - How to Add Stay at Home Skills :)

Updated on June 25, 2012
A.M. asks from Elmhurst, IL
16 answers

Hi Moms,

I have been a stay at home mom for over 8years now. In my life before kids I was a computer engineer - I have a Masters in computer engineering. Well, now that both my kids will be in school full time, I have started looking for a job again - same field that I was in before - IT. My resume is fairly standard - I have my objectives, skills, education, past work experience. However, I would like to add some other things to it - I have been active in my kids school. While I have not been a PTA board member, I have volunteered for many activities. I have also been a math tutor for middle and high school children. How can I include these on my resume? Any suggestions? Any hiring managers out there who can give me their opinion on how they would view that information if they saw it on a resume?


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answers from St. Louis on

You can add anything so long as it doesn't scream I was a stay at home mom. Like I was the Softball lay director. I chaired the fish fry. There are others but you pretty much have to stick to things that don't scream I have kids. I kept the financial statements for the women's club but I couldn't use that because I would have had to specify parishes and therefore religion.

Not sure if that makes sense but it is tricky.

Alright, you don't want to show you were a stay at home or what your religion is or any of the questions they can't ask. If you answer in a way that says I have kids, I am pregnant, I am a satin worshiper you have opened the door. They can then ask you how many kids and you have no basis for discrimination. They can ask you how many puppies you killed and you have no basis for discrimination. In all honesty unless you are going for minimum wage it will be held against you that you do not know the rules of the game.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

I'm certainly not all knowing in this area (and I would take the opinion of a hiring manager over mine :p). I did my husbands when he was job-hunting and took a resume class...his teacher said it was one of the best he'd seen...but that's the extent of my resume experience :p.

I think it depends on exactly what type of position you're applying for...and if any of this stuff is actually relevant. I think volunteer work (to some extent) is always a good thing. IF it's applicable, I would see what I could put there and make sure they are strong detailed statements. When it comes to resumes...I don't think 'more' is always 'better'. If your volunteer experience just consists of showing up to collect tickets for a fall festival...or volunteering in the classroom occasionally...that type of stuff...I don't know that it really needs to be on your resume...I would consider putting stuff on if you chaired or co-chaired things...or did something that showed applicable skills (planning, organizing, carrying out, directing, people skills, coordinating...etc.).

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that anything shows you were a stay at home mom - they're going to wonder what you've been doing the last 8 years anyway...and while some people may find it 'demeaning' work...I know many people that believe that being an involved stay at home mom is one of the hardest things you can do. It's just a matter of whether or not any of it really has any place on a resume :/.

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

As a recruiter? I need to know your IT skills are up-to-date.
ruby on rails?

To me - it doesn't matter that you have been a SAHM for 8 years. I want to know that your skills are still current. What platforms can you work on? What OS's do you use? Linux? Windows?

If you are determined to include work done over the last 8 years?
June 2003 - Present

* Tutored middle and high school students in math - algebra, trigonometry, etc.
other than that? If you were not on the board for the PTA - if the skills are NOT relevant to what you are applying for? DO NOT INCLUDE IT. that's my take!!

Good luck!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would keep it to a small paragraph with less than 3 sentences. They don't care about that time in your life.

We had a panel during one of our Psych club meetings in college and I learned so much from these professional people who go through resumes by the dozens daily.

They said, each and every one of them, that they glance over the resume looking for the education and experience for what they are hiring for. They do not look at long paragraphs, they do not look at long job descriptions, etc...those are drawbacks. They discount each activity that has nothing to do with anything that is not directly related to the job being applied for.

They all have engineering degrees that are hard degrees and the fluff stuff gets in the way of their search. If someone has a lot of that stuff on their resumes they toss them without even reading them. It means you like to talk too much about non work related stuff.

They think the only things important is the information directly associated with the job they are applying for.

So I would encourage you to have your resume on your computer along with several cover letters. Each one should be directly written for the specific job you are applying for.

For example. I have basically had 2 careers in my life with some experiences in a couple of different fields, developmental disabilities and child care.

If I am applying for a job with a company that offers services for developmentally disabled persons I focus on those jobs I have had in that field. My cover letter talks about how much I love working in this field. How much I could bring to their company, what I would hope to contribute to their companies bottom line.

I would not discuss anything I have done other that my job achievements and any professional associations. I would not talk about staying home these past few years to raise my grand kids to school age. Unless they were disabled and I was using my skills to care for them.

When listing other jobs I would cut out anything that is not related to the job at hand. Such as writing a curriculum for a 3 year old class. If I am applying for a job in a child care setting that is good information to have under past jobs, if I am applying for a job in developmental disabilities it really has no germane purpose in being listed. I would add more items along the line of developing programs for them that helped them to learn skills needed in daily living. Saying the same thing but with an emphasis that is more for the job I am applying for.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I currently work as a consultant for an outplacement company - facilitating job search skills workshops, including resume writing, for people who have been laid off by their employers. My background also includes 15 years in IT. I have a Masters in Software Design & Development.

Your resume does not have to account for all of your time, it needs to show your marketable skills and experience. If your volunteer work was using your IT skills (designing or maintaining websites for a nonprofit organization would be an example), then I would include it. Tutoring in math is in the realm of relevant, depending on the role you are looking for.

If you are looking for a hands-on technical role, as a recruiter for IT (which I have been) I would be comparing your technical skills and experience with our technical needs. Anything else on a resume would be just extra.

If you are you looking for a position as a team lead/business analyst/project manager/higher level manager then I would be looking on your resume for these skills and experiences.

As the previous poster said - more is not better on a resume - relevance is the deciding factor.

A positive for you is that IT has one of the lowest unemployment rates of any career field right now. The demand for skilled IT people is expected to grow faster than the number of people entering the field for the next several years.

Feel free to PM me with any additional questions you might have about your resume.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Unless the experience has to do with the job you're seeking, I wouldn't include it. I don't think they'll care about math tutoring, if the position is in IT. However, you will have time in the interview to explain what you were doing during the 8 year gap.

The last time you worked in IT was 2004, then? Things are a lot different now - have you kept up with the industry changes? Taken any classes or done any training to make sure you're up to date? If not, I think it might be a good idea. I fear that the hiring person may just see someone with really outdated skills. With competition so fierce, you want to have as much working for you as possible.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

IT... even with your degree, about the only thing that will matter is if you have CURRENT experience and proof of applying it and using it.

Things change SO much, in 8 years and in IT.
And the paradigms and trends of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Peoria on

Keep in mind that the objective of the resume is to sell yourself. With that being said, I think you should include a small section titled "Volunteer work" as it shows a strong character and someone who is willing to give (as opposed to letting everyone else do it!) But I would only keep it to a few short concise lines. The most important thing in talking about your volunteer activities both on the resume and in the interview is to demonstrate HOW you used your transferrable skills in your volunteer work. i.e.:
- Did you teach children computer classes? (shows you can teach employees at all levels and that you are patient)
- Did you use your leadership skills to accomplish a task? (shows that you are organized and can do successful project planning)
- Did you work as part of a team to accomplish something? (shows you can work well with others and complete your own part of the project)

And if you can get a reference letter from someone that can vouch for your work ethic as a volunteer, I think that says a lot.

Volunteering in our childrens' schools doesn't sound glamorous but when you think about it, you do have to use your professional skills and sometimes you have to work even harder to get things done because no one is getting paid to do it!!! How is THAT for a skill?!?! :)

Best of luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If the skills are relevant, you can list them as your most recent "job" on your resume. If they aren't, either briefly put them at the bottom of your resume or don't put them at all. For example, designing a website for the school or a club can go near the top. Being team mom for your son's soccer team can either go at the bottom if there's room, or can be left off completely.

Anything you've done to highlight your IT skills during the past 8+ years can go on the resume.

If your volunteer work involved managing people or running a major project or event, you can include that as well, since those skills can translate to management skills on the job. For example, I planned and ran the trike-a-thon for my son's preschool. It involved working with sponsors, hiring entertainment, coordinating volunteers, etc. Those skills could translate to a real world job. Volunteering at the food table at the event does not. Hope that makes sense.

Good luck in your job search.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Don't. (Not unless it's skillset relevant, like teaching coding, debugging, sysadminning, data mining, whatever, or handling the IT on a volunteer basis.)

One of my brothers is in upper management... Anything on a resume that is from being a SAHP pretty much guarantees that resume gets filed in the 'round' file. (garbage can) Why?

1) It screams of desperation.
2) It opens them up for discrimination suits (because kids become part of the interview OR they don't, but because it's in their resume
3) It places your kids on par with your potential job / aka you're looked at as a flight risk
4) Most employees and management have families and already know what's involved in being a parent or SAHP so highlighting parent/kid skills is also taken as an insult, like they're too stupid to know what's in involved &/or is taken as 'I'm a superior parent because *I* stayed hooooooooome." / brings up the vicious 'who has it harder and is a better parent the SAHP or working parent?' hot button topic.

(( Other things that get round filed are politics, religion, and sexual items in a resume. Of course, parenting, politics, religion, and sex are useful to have in a parenting mag, campaign, ministry outreach, Kinsey study... But big big big no-nos in jobs not tied directly to those 4 things.))

My ex is also in IT. They do NOT care about your personal life. They care about your resume only enough to see that you MIGHT actually be telling the truth that you know what you're doing enough to get you in the door, to whiteboard you for 4 hours straight and see if your personality is halfway tolerable.



answers from New York on

You could add an area on your resume towards the bottom listing volunteer activities, but only list major things or group them all into one catagory, like "worked on various PTA committees for ABC school". It's really not important to include this unless you're just trying to highlight that you just haven't been sitting at home.

If you were paid for your tutoring services, include those with work experience.

Most importantly an employer in the IT field is going to want to see that you've kept up with the changing technology.


answers from Tyler on

I listed all the volunteer work I handled, it was almost overwhelming! Along with the potential professional connections (Junior League, church, school affiliations) it is good to list the skills you have acquired doing these jobs. Leadership skills, organizing major fundraisers, knowing how to do a school/church directory on a computer...all marketable skills. And don't even get me started on non-profit treasurer jobs! They are the hardest jobs in the world, if you did anything in a volunteer capacity that involved balancing a budget or controlling expenses...please toot that horn! Good Luck! And don't give up if the first job isn't a perfect fit, it took me about 4 tries to find something that truly fit my family and my own personal needs!



answers from New York on

Hi A.M.,
I am in the same boat, but only for a few less years, here is a blurb from one of my coverletters that partners with my resume:

I am a seasoned Event Planner and am actively looking for work. I am ready to get back in the groove and make an impact on an organization that needs highly experienced, totally accountable and uniquely creative professional. Attached is my resume.

Please let me know when you have time to chat. I am available today and would love an opportunity to talk with you directly.

Here are some recent testimonials:


In addition, you need to fill in the 8 year gap with some sort of work that may have supported your profession. You need to show any and all projects that you've done pertaining t your industry and fill in the gap a bit. In this day and age, women are finding themselves in the position where they feel like they are starting all over again and that..that is considered a weakness. NO NO No. Use it to your benefit. Revamp your resume, fill in project work that you did over that 8 years, regardless of coprorate or personal. If you accomplished anything, then add it in. I'm in the same spot and have been out of work for over a year, so i revised and revamped my resume and filled in the gaps with project work, fundraisers, etc. in that space that is wide open. make sense?
reach out to me if you want to chat off line.




answers from New York on

i wouldn't. when you have a gap in your resume you will be asked about it during the interview and best approach i have found ti be is: i was looking for the best job possible and not settle for less



answers from Minneapolis on

You could but it under voluteer work, but seriously I doubt that will get you any interviews.I would mention during the interview when asked why you took a break.

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