Written by Annabel Hall - Getting you work ready.
Is your resume out of date? Are you unsure how to tailor your resume to a preferred job? Are you struggling to get job interviews? Writing your first resume after taking a career break to care for your family can be an extremely daunting prospect. Today’s job market is highly competitive and it can be challenging to get notice amongst the crowd. For Mums, it can seem even more difficult. For many, it can be discouraging, stressful and a question of where to begin!
Whether you have been out of the workforce for six months or ten years you will need a well-structured resume that showcases your key skills, attributes, abilities, career history and achievements to recruiters and / or prospective employers. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is what do I include in my resume and how do I fill the “parenting gap”?
Today I wanted to share with you my answer to this question so you will have a solid structure to start building your resume when the time comes.
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What to include in your resume
Resumes can be broken down in to five sections:
1. Contact Details
Centre your full name at the top of the first page. Use bold type and size that is significantly larger than the rest of your type. Aligned to the left hand side of the page, give you address. Use the right-hand side of the page on the same lines to give your telephone number and email address. Alternatively, you can centre this information.
Note: It’s not necessary to include the words resume or CV in the title.
2. Career Objective / Career Summary
Career Objective: A short, defined statement that describes what you are looking for in a position. It is an opportunity to market yourself as well as stating what you do. It should link directly to the position for which you are applying and instantly inform the reader of your suitability to the advertised job. Always ensure that your career objective is employer focussed, not job seeker focussed.
Career Summary: Provides the reader with a quick overview of your professional experience, skills and attributes. It’s an opportunity to market yourself to the reader and to highlight your suitability to the position for which you are applying. Summaries are best suited for applicants with over five years work experience
3. Education and Professional Development
Always list your education in reverse chronological order and include dates attended, course title and where it was completed. Follow the same format for any relevant professional development courses that you have undertaken. List professional development activities under their own separate heading.
4. Key Skills and Attributes
This section is your opportunity to tell the reader that you have all the necessary qualities that they are looking for, to be the successful applicant or to be shortlisted. This is where you can really start to tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying. Ask yourself – What sort of person are you? What are your key skills, knowledge, abilities and attributes.
5. Career History
The most effective resume is one that focuses on your achievements not just the responsibilities that you performed in previous roles but the positive impact you made whilst you were there.
For each position include: The employer (including a short description about the company), dates of employment, position held and position purpose, responsibilities and achievements.
- Responsibilities: Always begin each bullet point with an action verb. An action verb describes you as an initiator of an action and leaves a positive impression on the reader. For example; Managed, Designed, Developed, Implemented.
- Achievements: Are tangible proof of your past employment. They are most powerful when they are quantified using numbers and/or percentages. This demonstrates your focus as being results orientated rather than task orientated.
How to fill the parenting gap
The key to completing this section is to think about it in the exact same manner as you did your work experience. What unpaid work or activities have you undertaken during this time? What skills have you utilised that correspond with the skills that you would utilise in the workforce? For example; Did you volunteer at the school canteen? This involves; customer service, cash handling, safe food handling practices, food preparation and the ability to work in a team. Were you the Fundraising Coordinator at your child’s kindergarten (communication, marketing, event management and cash handling)? Did you manage the family budget? This involves, bookkeeping, profit and loss statements and forecasts and projections. Perhaps you wrote a blog? This requires excellent written communication and social media knowledge.
As mums’ we are renowned for our ability to multi-task. The amount of unpaid work that we take on and the skills that we use on a daily basis are endless. Use this section to your advantage. Highlight the key skills that link directly to the job for which you are applying.
When documenting on your resume, follow the same format as your work experience. Inform the reader of the period of time out of the workforce for maternity leave or to care for the family. List the responsibilities and achievements for each activity undertaken during this time.
Hopefully this little insight has answered a burning question of yours too. If writing your own resume is getting a bit too much. Let me take the stress out of the process for you. I can work with you to design and build an eye catching, achievement focused resume that won’t get lost amongst the crowd. Let’s work together so you can enter the job market with ease, confidence and success!
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