Resume Reworking / Rewording for SAHM Re-entering the Workforce

Updated on April 26, 2011
M.M. asks from Wheaton, IL
11 answers

I'm updating my professional resume. My last job officially ended in 2004. Do I list SAHM from 2004 to present? That just seems cheesy. Or do I address it under "summary/objective" heading? Where would the proper/best place be?

Thoughts or comments from any HR professionals would be appreciated.

***My question isn't the wording on SAHM vs. domestic engineer vs. chief cook and bottle washer. It's more about explaining the gap in employment. To list or not list?***

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answers from Atlanta on

Leave the dates off...simply put length of employment. You can explain if you get an interview. I, fortunately, have helped my husband in his business so I have something to list if someone asks....however it's not the same thing as working for someone else. If you need to fill out an employment application needing dates simply state " voluntarily out of workforce." I was a hiring manager for 15 years and the less you explain on paper and the more upfront you are in an interview, the better.


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answers from Boston on

you could use this:
Volunteer position requiring intense training in child development, early childhood behavior, interpersonal group dynamics,dispute resolution, educational planning, meetings with medical and other professionals and excellent communication skills. There is a strong emphasis on time management, accounts receivable, accounts payable, tracking inventory, procurement, cost reduction, team building as well as arranging and hosting special events.

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answers from St. Louis on

When I went back to school they told me leave it blank, don't explain the gap unless they ask. They won't ask because it is a no no question to ask about kids. This always seemed like stupid advice since it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why a woman would take a few years off from the workforce.

Having said that I would not list stay at home mom, nothing is less impressive. What I filled in the blanks with was all the volunteer work I did. One nice thing about being a stay at home mom is you look like the most giving human on earth volunteer wise.

I forgot what they said that does make sense. When you are using your volunteer work make sure you pick through it so that what you are listing pertains to the position you are trying to acquire.

If you really have been a stay at home and done nothing outside of that I don't know what to tell you. My world is professional positions, they probably will not give you a call back with that big of a gap. To them it shows you could drop out of the workforce and you aren't worth the time of training.

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answers from Chicago on

I was a HR Professional before becoming a SAHM and I would definitely explain the gap in employment, but not in a cover letter. Honestly, those don't really get read - we will skim the work history to see if you are someone we want to pursue. And I wouldn't try to make being a SAHM seem like it has trained you in anyway for they job you are applying for, but mention other things like volunteering or whatever. Good luck!

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answers from Houston on

I went to a women's event where Tory Johnson was the keynote speaker (she is a career guru for women) and she advised women in your situation to list anything and everything you did which you consider work - any volunteer, helping at the school, even working in the church nursery.

If you are asked in your interview why there is a gap, don't apologize for nuthin! Just answer "I decided to spend (insert sahm years) raising my kids. It was the best decision for me at the time, and now I am ready to spend my time doing something in (insert desired industry)".


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answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't list it.

I just helped someone get re-employed at my company who has been gone since 2004. She was an excellent employee, had kept in touch with people she worked with and let them know she was thinking about returning. They kept their eyes and ears open, and told them about a position I had. She ended up being over qualified for the position I had (even though she was willing to take a salary cut). A peer of mine had openings at the right level, she interviewed, and starts next week.

My recommendation is similar to comments you already have:

On your resume, only list professional jobs or other items that would relate to the position you are submitting a resume for. I was layed off in 2007 from the company I'm currently employed. I did 3 things for the 18 months I was "unemployed". Worked for my husband's company, taught children's music classes, and worked as a temp in my field. The only item I listed on my resume was the temp work in my field. The other 2 didn't apply.

Use the cover letter to very succinctly describe the gap in employment.

Work with a career resource center to help you find employment. There is one in my area that is very reasonable - $100. For that, you get a weekly meeting with an HR representative who can help you with your resume, give ideas on how to find employment, and go through a practice interview. It's

Consider looking to refresh your skills, through a community college perhaps. These kinds of items could be added to a cover letter to show you are refreshed and ready to go.

I have been a manager for over 15 years and have hired many people.

Let me know if you want to chat more.

Best of luck!

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answers from Jacksonville on

I wouldn't add it in the Previous Jobs, but usually they do have a spot where you can fill in a reason for time gaps. If they do put, stayed at home with children.

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answers from Phoenix on

I did and it seemed to not make a difference. I also stated the organizations that I was in as a board member for non profit places.... it looked better that I was using my time wisely while being a stay at home mom. I just put fundraising and moms group board member with light newsletter ect...

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answers from Dallas on

Did you hold any volunteer positions while being a SAHM? If you did, include those. If not, create an entry in your work history. Most large companies do not read/review or accept cover letters anymore, so you have to spell it out.

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answers from Cincinnati on

I have been a stay at home mom since 2007 and am now applying to go back to work. I didn't mention the gap on my resume and just left my work experience. I then addressed the employment gap on my cover letter/email. I just mentioned that I took the time to be a stay at home mom and now I was refreshed and ready to re-enter the workforce. I was able to get a return phone call the next day and had an interview last week so hopefully all goes well. Good Luck!

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answers from Chicago on

You can briefly mention it in your cover letter. Something like...after devoting the past seven years to being a stay-at-home mom, I am eager to return to the workforce as a (insert position or field). You could even mention things you mastered as a SAHM like time managment, organization, etc.

You don't really need to list it on your resume; just on the letter, and it will come up in the interview as well. Good luck!

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