Mind the Gap

5 ways to deal with that space on your resume

by Michelle Keefe  | June 24, 2019

The gap  –  the new reference term for the space on a mom’s resume that screams I have been out of the workforce for years.  How do you address it? We say, “Head On!”

Here are 5 tips on how to take the spotlight off that gap and shine it on you. 

  1. Own it. Not on your resume but to yourself. You did something very valuable for your family and you worked hard doing it. 
  2. Include Volunteer History. Unpaid work is still an opportunity to build skills and experience. Whether you volunteered for the Parent/Teacher Committee or a local civic group these are all valuable. List out all those tasks, challenges, successes, and the skills needed to perform these roles.  You will be surprised how much you learned and how much value from these experiences you can apply to a new role. 
  3. Blow them away with a stellar summary. Here’s your opportunity to wow potential employers and highlight your accomplishments instead of focusing on that gap. Remind them of the amazing career experience and education you have and then dazzle them with what you did and learned in that time away. 
  4. Consolidate Your Freelance Experience. Have you done some shorter term projects using your skills? You can consolidate these projects under one heading on your resume.  Graphic design work for a friend’s new website, social media management for a local company, or helping out the family business. Every one of these deserves a place on your resume. Including these in one role – “Your Name Consultants” – will also streamline the look of your website while highlighting the work for each project.
  5. Add Continuing Education. Don’t overlook all those hours logged enhancing your education over the years.  Show hiring managers the efforts you put in to professional development. 
  6. Celebrate the skills you developed during those gap years. Soft skills – those specific and critical qualities that allow people to interact with greater empathy, knowledge, and understanding are of incredible value in the workplace and very difficult to teach. Consider for a moment the myriad of activities in which you participate (as listed above).  Those roles involved dealing with many personalities on a daily basis. They also required extreme time management skills (squeezing in volunteer work before preschool pick-up), multi-tasking (managing a toddler while reserving a venue for a fundraiser), and leadership (running a board meeting with parents, and administrators).
  7. Do not undervalue yourself. Sell yourself just as anyone else would sell themselves when looking for a new job.  You have earned your place in the ranks.

Remember – stay positive and emphasize your enthusiasm to return to work.