In our current society, most individuals get an entry-level job after college or technical training between the ages of 20 and 25. Until more recent years, this has also been the regular age range in which families began to have children. The average age for those beginning to have kids has recently risen to about 30 years old for men and 28 years of age for women. Some speculate that this is because of rising student debt or the necessary time needed to start a career. With the rise of later-aged child-bearing, comes the problematic issues with resume writing and gaps in employment while raising children. Navigating this hole can seem difficult or intimidating, but with these three easy steps, you will have the confidence to re-enter the workforce.
Explain your gap was a choice: Oftentimes, a gap in a resume might seem as though you were fired or dismissed from your previous career. Be sure to emphasize that it was a choice to pursue the ability to manage your house and children. Gaps in employment due to termination are viewed by most employers very differently than those gaps made by choice and do not reflect dissatisfaction in the previous employer. If making it to the interview stage of a submitted job proposal, offer generalized reasons for leaving. Good ideas would be to include the goals you had set for yourself and your time working at home. Ex: Wanting to stay at home to assist in the responsibilities of feeding and training your baby until they were of school age. It will be important to emphasize how you stayed educated and maintained your ability to perform in the new career that you were expected to return to.
Focus on Personal Growth and Development: While staying home and taking care of personal responsibilities to the child/children, stay focused on ways to keep growing. Reading informational books, staying informed on specifics in your previous industry, and keeping certifications and licenses up-to-date will be extremely beneficial. Offering future employers the asset of knowledge accompanied by preparedness will make you a valuable addition. Stating other previous long-term employment commitments can assure future longevity with a potential new hire.
Be Honest and Open: Always remember and not negate the purpose of your leaving a job or career. Be honest with your reasoning and open to an engaging conversation on why you felt you needed to make that decision. An article issued by the University of Pennsylvania Law Review’s Human Resources Department asked more than 3,000 people recruited online to act as potential employers and choose one of two candidates with similar experience but one having a 10-year gap in employment. Those who revealed the personal information of why they had the gap, were 30 to 40 percent more likely to be chosen than those without. Honesty and integrity can go a long way in the face of others’ opinions of you.
Career-searching and employment don’t have to be intimidating or embarrassing when you have had to step aside for a life-altering event or to raise children. Explaining the choice you had, focusing on personal growth and development, and being open and honest to express your lifestyle choices of staying home will guarantee you more options and openings when you are ready to bridge that gap.