CV writing tips for returning to work mothers

Written by maryfenton
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CV writing tips for returning to work mothers
Leave the housework for a while and brush up your CV. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

You may feel a bit intimidated to re-enter the work force after being a stay at home mom, especially since employment trends may have changed since you last searched for a job. Start your search off right with a CV that highlights your skills, minimises your work gap, and makes a positive impression on potential employers.

CV writing tips

Your biggest worry when creating a CV will be that gap of time between your last job and now. Not everyone agrees on how that gap should be addressed, but it is important to overcome employers' potential objections. Think of what their questions or concerns might be, and address them in your CV.

Most employers prefer to see CVs in a reverse chronological format that lists your most recent employment first. Unfortunately, this puts a glaring gap at the top of your resume as your most recent entry may be a year, two, or more in the past. One way to avoid this is to change the format. Try using a functional format or a combination format. In a functional format, start your CV with a career profile, as you would in a chronological resume, then break your skill sets into categories and list your past positions by category. For example, your categories may be sales, technology, and management. Insert your previous positions into the correct category. This enables you to highlight your skills and professional history while minimising the employment gap.

Some employers, however, will see a red flag in the functional format. For this reason, you may want to consider a combination format. Start with your career profile, list past positions according to your skill sets, as you do in a functional CV, and then provide the reverse chronological order of positions at the bottom. That way you can highlight skills first, but still get all of the information out there.

If your field is one that requires ongoing training or is constantly evolving, such as health care or technical fields, mention anything you have done during your time at home in terms of training, research or practice. This may include volunteer work, part-time work, freelance work, or taking classes. If what you have done at home does not directly relate to the field you are choosing to enter, highlight your strengths and find a way to show how they relate.

Lastly, be sure to format your CV correctly. Many websites offer CV templates that you can use as a guide. Make sure your font is uniform and clear; your headings are correctly placed and stand out. Check spelling. Even better: have someone proofread your CV for you. A number of services -- some specifically geared toward mums going back to work -- will proofread and make suggestions on your CV.

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