SAHM Job Searching-how to Explain My 3Yr Gap in Work Experience?

Updated on January 04, 2011
T.U. asks from Minneapolis, MN
13 answers

Hi everyone! I have been a working professional for 10+ yrs since college. I've never had a problem finding work in the past. My combined skills, education, work experience, and excellent references have landed me most jobs that I've sought. However, today is a different story. I have been a SAHM for 3yrs ( love my time at home with my little guy), but it's time to feed other sides of me. So, back to the working world I go. Just have to find a job, that's all! :)

My question is this, should I explain the gap in my work experience as my choice to stay home with my child. Or do I leave it blank? I'm considering doing some volunteer work to build up current work experience & new references (some of my references & previous employers are no longer around). But I still plan on sending out resumes as I find positions that interest me. I would love to hear from those of you how have been through something similar or if you are on the hiring end and have any advice to offer. Thanks!

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Lincoln on

There is nothing to explain. SAHM is legitimate. Now if you were single and floating around partying then there would be something to explain. Just say you were a SAHM. Please do not put Domestic Engineer. That term was coined by Roseanne Bar and it sounds silly. There is nothing to hide. You were doing a legitimate thing and in a normal situation.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

I wouldn't put anything about the "gap" on your resume but definitely mention something briefly in your cover letter. "....anxious to re-enter the work force after choosing to take some time off to raise my child....." They'll figure it out.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I went back to work 4 years ago part time and everyone knew me from before so there was nothing to discuss. I did not put my stay at home job in my resume but would add it to a cover letter. If you want to add it to the resume, perhaps a simpler variation of this one: I am what is commonly referred to as a Domestic Engineer. I handle all responsibilities associated with a home based, not- for- profit domestic social experiment (NPDSE). In this capacity, I handle all of the bookkeeping. I also manage the complaint department, in which I moderate all disputes and grievances between 2 or more parties with the goal of speedy and fair resolution. This is a job in which I am on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even while on vacation (I also serve as travel agent for the NPDSE). I schedule events, fund raisers, handle ALL incoming calls, insurance claims, appointments, utilities, and mortgage payments. I have been on call when the NPDSE requires an organic gardener, nutritionist, landscaper, and/or home renovator. When these responsibilities fall outside the scope of my physical abilities, I co-ordinate and subcontract them. When I am not being a life coach, a medic, a personal assistant, and the operator of a crisis management hotline, I am a motivational speaker. I have encouraged people to do their personal best, and make good choices. I have lectured to small unappreciative audiences in locations all over North America. I got this from
But in all seriousness, if they ask about the gap let them know what you did, but I wouldn't make a big issue about it. Stick to assessing if the job is a good fit for you and them, ask questions about why the job is available and if you can speak to someone doing that task now, what the career growth potential is, if there is travel, etc. the stuff that is important to you. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It is really sad when you have to apologize for doing the hardest job on earth as a gap in your resume. State it simply and proudly. You were/are couldbe who knows/ a stay at home mom. It is none of their business why you chose that and it by the way is illegal if they ask you if you plan to do anything like that in the future or if you will have more children. I am a little weary of people making it seem like moms at home are not holding their fair share in the working world. If it weren't for a lot of stay at home moms there wouldn't be a lot of wonderfully solid little people who are going to become great doctors, lawyers, botanists, veterans, educational assistants, paralegals, etc.etc.etc. This has to stop somewhere let us declare it done now. Be proud of yourself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would put stay at home mom. I didnt work when my dad had cancer they told me at the employment office to put down I was a personal caregiver.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Agree with the other poster. I wouldn't note it on your resume. The interviewer will likely ask that question, at which point you can explain your choice to stay home. What field are you looking for work in? I work in advertising and marketing and review resumes and conduct interviews quite frequently. Feel free to contact me if you would like an extra set of eyes on your resume or cover letter.



answers from Topeka on

I'm now 8 yrs into being a sahm YIKES there will be a gap new things that i'll need to freshen up on, how to expalin that it all depends on who your potential employer is if you have one that is understandble in your situation then all the hopes but if there is one that isn't then expalining to them will have to go about it a different way.For me i'm flexable,independent,I have octopus arms can multi task everything I do just because we have lost touch withthe real world & a pay check doesn't mean that we disabled from the work force



answers from Chicago on

Whatever you do, don't try to "cutesy" up your experience as a SAHM, like saying you managed a yearly budget of X amount of dollars (your husband's salary), organized social events (playdates), and have great multitasking skills. Prospective employers see right through that and, quite frankly, it doesn't look professional on a resume. Now, if you actually did some significant fund raising, designed and led a class for children, or performed some tangible type of work then definitely include it (as in, you started and organized your weekly meetup group, etc.). **And by tangible I mean something that would be above and beyond the duties of a SAHM, which are already challenging in the first place :)

You're right on track with volunteering to build up some experience and references. You may also wish to consider taking a few classes that allow you to brush up on your skills and show that you are committed to bettering yourself so that you can be a productive employee.



answers from Atlanta on

I went back to work full time in February after staying at home for almost 4 years. I did take on a few small contracts during that time, and I contracted for a seasonal testing company twice a year (but only for 6 weeks) -but for the most part those years were empty of work experience. I just told the truth! I said I had two children during that time and I took time off to have and be with them. It may have hindered my search -I'll never know -but I got plenty of calls and interviews and was hired on the spot for the company where I'm still working.



answers from Des Moines on

I just went back to work yesterday after being home for 4 years. I put it on my resume as a Full Time Mother because I wanted to account for my time over the last 4 years. With the way the economy has been the last few years, I didn't want someone thinking that I got fired at my last job and have been unemployed ever since. I was hired by a small law firm and they liked the way I put it on my resume (his wife has been at home in the past). I would agree with other posters that you should not feel ashamed of being home, it's a lot of work. Good luck.



answers from Madison on

I expect to have this same issue myself as I look for a part-time job out of the house to supplement my freelance income. Only when I decided to stay home with my daughter (when she started Kindergarten; she has special needs, and at that point in time, it made sense for me to stay home because of school holidays, doctor appts, etc.), I began my own freelance editing business, which I've had now for going on 6 years. So I have verifiable jobs/businesses that can be checked as well as fresh references to use. I still don't expect my job hunting to be easy, though.

Good luck. I agree; being a SAHM is the toughest and the most rewarding job in the entire world. I just wish the working world saw it the same way.


answers from Houston on

Go for the experience resume instead of the chronological resume.

Volunteer work would be great, plus it would provide you with current professional references.

"You could explain the gap in your employment on your cover letter. In The Resume Guide: 200 Damn Good Examples, author Yana Parker gives this guideline: "Make a POSITIVE, unapologetic statement about what you WERE doing." You should take a similar approach if you are asked about this gap on an interview. Explain that you took time off to raise your family."

from here:

there are a ton of helpful tips here:


answers from Chicago on

Agree with the other poster. I wouldn't note it on your resume. The interviewer will likely ask that question, at which point you can explain your choice to stay home.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions