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Resume tips for full-time parents returning to work

By Emilly Parris | 07 August 2019

If you’ve taken time off work to look after the kids, you may be concerned that your resume has little to show for all the work you’ve put in over the years—raising your kids and juggling all the daily tasks that come with being a new parent. While everything you’ve done is incredibly valuable, it can be a challenge to work out how to incorporate it all into your resume without sounding like you’re just listing domestic duties.

Many new parents worry that a gap in their resume will set them back and get them overlooked by hiring managers in favour of someone with more recent experience. The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with taking a career break to spend time with your new family.

Most employers understand that this is part of life and are more than willing to accommodate new parents as they adjust to working life. But, as with any career break, it’s important to address it carefully in your resume to avoid confusion and give yourself the best possible chance to get the job. Here are some tips to help you fill in the blanks of your resume:

6 resume tips for full-time parents returning to work.

  1. Include a summary paragraph.
  2. List transferable skills.
  3. Include volunteering roles.
  4. Work a part-time or temp job.
  5. Add any freelance work or short-term projects.
  6. Take on a relevant course.

1. Include a summary paragraph.

woman waiting for job interview holding resume

Many resume templates leave a section for you to add a career summary, and this is a great opportunity for you to address your current situation. Here you can write about your past experience as well as the time you spent as a parent and what you learned. 

Make sure that it relates to the type of job you’re applying for—for example, instead of writing that you took the kids to school on time everyday, you could write about the time management skills you acquired through your parenting duties. 

This summary is also a good chance to highlight your enthusiasm about returning to work and that you’re looking forward to starting a new schedule.

2. List transferable skills.

The skills you learn as a parent can be highly useful in the workplace. Things like multitasking, organisation, time management, problem solving, budgeting and communication skills are just a few examples of the many activities you’ve tackled at home that you can include in your resume.

3. Include volunteering roles.

If you took part in any community events or volunteer activities, now is the perfect time to include them in your resume. They definitely count and can make explaining gaps much easier. Volunteer work shows initiative and enthusiasm, which is something many employers look for in candidates.

4. Work a part-time or temp job.

Many part-time or temporary jobs are suitable for new parents who aren’t quite ready to make the leap to full-time work, but want to switch up their routine and prepare themselves to return to work in the near-future.

Temporary contract roles in particular, are becoming more commonly advertised across job sites and are a great way to ease yourself into the demands of full-time work. 

To make your transition into full-time work a little easier, you can try a part-time or temp role that relates to the field you’re hoping to work in, so that you can include it as relevant experience in your resume.

5. Add any freelance work or short term projects.

man working from home as a freelancer

Freelance work can be a great way to add experience to your resume as well as provide additional income to make your transition smoother. 

There are many freelance job sites (some even offering remote work that you can do from home) such as FlexJobs, People Per Hour or Freelancer where you may be able to pick up a few jobs. 

Even if the tasks you complete are relatively easy, this type of work can quickly fill in some of the gaps in your resume and help you talk about your experience beyond parental duties.

6. Take on a relevant course.

If you have been out of the workplace for a while, it may help you gain more confidence to take a course in your industry to help fill in any knowledge gaps. Additional training is not only a great way to boost your resume and add to your experience, but can also help you negotiate a higher salary with your employer.

Becoming a new parent is an incredibly life-changing experience and it is almost certainly going to give you a new outlook on life and your career. It is worth focusing on the ways in which parenthood has made you a better worker, so that you can express this to your employer both through your resume and during the job interview.

Are you ready to upskill?

Upskilled offers a range of flexible online courses to help make your transition from parenthood into the workplace much easier and less stressful.

If you’re thinking about updating your skills, check out the list of courses or chat to one of Upskilled’s education consultants to find out more. You can also read more career advice on SkillsTalk as well.
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