Being a stay-at-home parent necessarily introduces a
career gap onto your CV, but it doesn’t need to be a problem. This post explores some strategies that you can use to help you to restart your career in whichever way suits you best. The approach you take is likely to be dictated, in the main, by whether you plan on returning to your original career or taking a new direction entirely. It’s important to decide on the type of role you’re aiming for before you start writing, as the strongest CVs are tailored to a specific type of job. Here are CV Shed’s top tips for writing a stay at home mum CV, with examples included.
Writing a stay at home mum CV profile
profile should focus on the value you’d bring to a business. Saying that you need a job now that your children are at school doesn’t really sell you! If you’re returning to your former career, write as if the break never happened, emphasising your experience, unique value and
career successes. If you’re aiming for something completely different, this section should bring out your
transferable skills and demonstrate your commitment to the new industry.
Explain how you’ve used the time
Use the header “career break”, rather than “stay-at-home mum” or “homemaker”. It keeps the focus on your career rather than your family, and also gives you the opportunity to expand on the skills and experience you gained beyond clearing up Lego.
It may help to trim the dates on your CV down to just years, rather than including the month too. It can reduce the perceived gap and sometimes eliminate it entirely.
If you plan on returning to your previous career, there’s really no need to include any further detail at all. To avoid misconceptions you could add a short explanation such as “raised a family”, but further detail isn’t necessary or advisable unless it has direct relevance to your career path.
If, however, you’re planning on embarking on an entirely
new career, then this could be a great opportunity to highlight relevant skills that aren’t apparent elsewhere on your CV. Maybe you’ve done a training course in your own time or volunteered at a local playgroup? You can use this section to show how you’ve made the most of your time off to develop yourself in preparation for this new career.
Here are some stay at home mum CV examples to show how you could present the break:
Good example: Bad example:
Include volunteering and side hustles
For many parents, being a stay-at-home mum isn’t just about raising kids. If you’ve participated in regular
voluntary work, you can include it as a job on your CV. Treat it as you would any other role, detailing your responsibilities and
achievements, with a focus on any skills that will transfer well into your target role. Position your volunteering work at the top of the career history if you’re taking a new direction related to that, or in a separate “Volunteering” section if not.
If you’ve taken advantage of the career break to set up a side hustle, again, this can be treated as a role in its own right. You’ll have needed commercial and financial acumen, customer focus and many other skills to get it off the ground and running, so identify the skills most in need in your target role and emphasise how your side hustle has developed them. Here are some stay at home mum CV examples showing volunteering and side hustles…
Volunteering example: Side hustle example:
Use hobbies to support a career transition
extra-curricular activities are related to your desired role, give them a shout out on your CV – particularly if you don’t have much professional experience in that sector. You’ll be able to include industry-specific keywords and convey a genuine interest in the role.
Expand CV timelines
CV best practice dictates that you go into detail for the last 10 years, summarise the previous 10 years and eliminate earlier years. For a stay at home CV, however, it can be wise to expand that timeline. If you’ve had a three-year break, for example, go into detail for your career over the last 13 years. That way, you won’t be selling yourself short on experience and skills when a recruiter scans through your CV.
Write a cover letter
It’s good practice to include a
cover letter with your CV, whether you’ve been a stay-at-home parent or not. The letter gives you the opportunity to let your personality shine through a bit more than it can on a CV and you can also go into detail about your motivations. This is the place to include a brief explanation of your current situation and why you’re applying for the role. Remember to keep the focus on what you can offer to the business, rather than what you want from it!
Be positive about the break
A gap on a stay at home mum CV isn’t a negative – it’s a perfectly understandable and common reason to have a break in your career. Use it to strengthen your CV and – even if it felt like an unrelenting slog at the time – realise that you’ve developed new skills and gained new experience along the way to throw into the mix alongside those from your earlier career.
If you’d like a
FREE review of your new CV, send it over to me for some unbiased feedback. There’s more detailed CV advice in my
book, available on Amazon Kindle.