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How Do I Explain Six Years Taking Care of My Kids?

by Anonymous
(Somewhere, USA)

am not actively looking for a job, but would like to have my resume ready in case I would need it in the future.

For the last six years, I have been a stay at home mom. I have a BA, and work experience from the past. What do I say that I have been doing for the last six years? (In other words, "How do I deal with such a long employment gap?")

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Aug 26, 2009
Use the Right Resume Format
by: Kathi

If you've ever been laid off and had trouble finding another job or if you took years off after the birth of a child, you know that employment gaps like these can play havoc with your resume.

A few missing years in your employment history can come back to haunt you when it comes time to re-enter the workforce. But this challenge can be faced & overcome. You just need to figure out how to tactfully and accurately address such an employment gap in your resume and cover letter.

Obviously, some reasons for an employment gap will be viewed more favorably than others. But whatever the reason, do not make the mistake of including employment gaps on your resume. If you can explain the time away and feel that it would be important for a prospective employer to know this information, you can always include a brief statement in your cover letter.

The right resume format is essential in instances of employment gaps.

A functional resume format or a combination resume format will probably be your best choice because both format emphasize skills and experience over a chronological job history.

Start your resume with a brief "Summary of Qualifications," which is a 3 to 8 sentence overview of skills and areas of experience.

Next, include a section entitled "Areas of Strength" or "Skills Summary," which lists keywords appropriate to your professional experience.

Next, you'll list your "Professional Experience," with employers, titles, and job responsibilities. Do not omit the dates or you will end up raising more questions than necessary.

While you've been unemployed, you may have gained additional experience and skills, which can be included on your resume within a section called "Additional Experience."

For example...

* Did you serve as Treasurer for a civic or nonprofit group?
* Were you an unpaid tour guide in the local museum or tourist spot?
* Did you direct or plan activities as a volunteer for an after-school or day care center?
* Were you a sports coach or Scoutmaster on the weekends or during the evenings?

List any experience like these with dates and responsibilities, and then end the resume with your "Education" section.

This is the way you deal with employment gaps!

You can find templates for both functional resume formats and combination resume formats here:

Sample Resume Templates

You may want to mention any gaps during your employment history in your cover letter that goes with the resume. Cover letters give you the ability to present your intentions and qualifications to a recruiter in a concise, appealing format.

Take time to create a resume and cover letter that accurately present your skills and experiences (despite employment gaps), and your efforts will surely be rewarded!

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