Hey SAHMs: Here’s some back-to-work resume advice

I am a part-time SAHM and a part-time WAHM (work-at-home mom). Which I think makes me a full-time WASAHM. Or some other unpronounceable acronym.

Anyway, I have a lot of full-time SAHM friends who are thinking about going back to work now that their kids are getting older. I have never left the working world, so they ask me for advice. And all of them say right away to me:

I want to go back to work. But I haven’t worked in like six years. What will I put on my resume? 

And I say: HOLY CRAP, woman. You have most certainly been working for the past six years. You’re looking at it all wrong. You’ve got plenty of real skills and qualifications to fill in a resume.

You don’t believe me?

Trust me, mamas. I work with so many people who do a crappy job at work. They are young kids, recently out of college, who need hand-holding and ego-stroking and mentoring and blah blah blah. Or they are complacent num-nuts who have been in the same job for ten years and have no fresh ideas.

You could totally kick their asses.

Let me show you how to rethink what you’ve been doing over the past six to ten years. You need to translate your Mom Reality into Resume Reality. Ready? Here we go.

See? It’s all how you spin it! Grownups throw tantrums in the workplace all the time. You will be well-prepared for that ridiculousness, that’s for sure.

Now of course, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, the way I see it? You are eminently hirable:

* Moms have crazy mad skills that are unbelievably useful in the workplace. We have to be organized, we multi-task like crazy, we get along with/manage/coexist with many different personalities, and we’re pretty freakin smart. Last I checked, these are all desirable skills.

* Another fact to give a you a little confidence? I have been seeing lots of moms snagging part-time jobs recently. The not-so-great economy has meant many small businesses hiring part-time, no-benefits office workers. For anyone whose spouse is already the source of health insurance, and who doesn’t want to work 40 hrs/week, this is a great deal.

* And, by the way, you know all those baby boomers who are retiring? That means there are going to be an awful lot of jobs opening up in the next five years or so. Businesses are going to be scrambling for workers just as you are looking for work.  Or just as you are ready to make the jump from part-time to full-time. Sweet!

Now, I am Honest Mom. So I’m not going to sugar-coat it. It’s not going to be a piece of cake.

Yeah, you may have to take a bunch of steps back in your career from where you left off. Yeah, you probably won’t make tons of money right off the bat. But you have to start somewhere. Just get your foot in the door and go from there!

And just remember: You HAVE been working the last 6-10 years. Don’t discount what you’ve been doing. Any employer (that you’d want to work for) is going to respect the choices you’ve made for your family. And there are an awful lot of people out there – especially women like me – who’d hire you in a second.

I have a lot of experience as a job applicant, as a hiring manager, and as a freelancer/independent contractor. I’ve written tons of resumes, both traditional and non-traditional. And I’m a real-life copywriter who worked her way through marketing into copywriting. So if you have any questions about getting back into the workforce or changing careers, let me know. I’m happy to help however I can!

Comments

  1. says

    I LOVE this! I’m a big believer that you can carry your SAHM skills into the workplace. I used to be a (part-time) educational administrator, now I’m a SAHM and childcare provider. But I call myself an early childhood educator, started an early childhood ed blog (not the one I’m commenting from today) and fully intend to WORK IT when it’s time to dust off the ol’ resume! Great post!

    • says

      Thanks, Katy! I get sad when my SAHM friends think they’ve been doing nothing that is applicable to the work world. It’s so not true! I feel like I am a better worker now BECAUSE of my SAHM days. I mean seriously, the kidless people at work have got nothin’ on my multitasking skills!

  2. says

    Fabulous post! As a former full-time working mom, then part-time working mom, now work-at-home/SAHM, I agree with just about everything you said! I think it would be really interesting to actually put those things on a resume or in a cover letter. Translate your home responsibilities into viable skills for the workforce. I bet it would catch the attention of anyone looking at your resume. Just doing this shows you’ve got creativity! Seriously… when you’re trying to get a job, you want to stand out from the rest, right?

    How about:

    Mom Reality / Resume rewrite
    Hosts group play dates / Engages in team-building activities
    or…
    Interacts with high-maintenance moms on the playground / Works well with various personality types
    Stephanie recently posted… Moms & Dads: Are We Really This Different?My Profile

    • says

      Thanks! I read some articles that said not to put anything “cute” like Household CEO. I could see the reasoning for that – but I do think creativity counts. For example, if you’ve been a SAHM for five years and also been volunteering, your most recent title could be “Full-time parent and active volunteer” and the bullets could seriously be some of the ones I listed above. Also, a summary paragraph at the beginning of a resume is always good – since it highlights your strengths such as highly-organized, dependable, dedicated, etc…

    • says

      So true! It’s like any job – when you’re in the job, it’s hard to remember that what you’re doing is important and you’re gaining valuable skills. Which I forget as I’m doing my 5th load of laundry while scheduling a doctor appointment for my kid and cooking dinner. ;-)

  3. says

    I’ve just started being a SAHM but it’s nice to know that when my son (and any future little spawns… errr, I mean children) is older, I might have employment opportunities. Although, I’m not sure smart ass, bossy and stubborn can be well translated onto a Résumé. :)

    Thanks for making me smile and laugh on this dreary (weather-wise) Friday.
    Karine recently posted… Crackers and ApplesMy Profile

    • says

      Lauren, you most certainly WILL be able to go back to work! :-) And if you are seriously considering it in the future, it wouldn’t hurt to do some volunteer work (if you aren’t yet and can squeeze it in) – that’s real, true resume fodder!

  4. says

    LOVE this! It is so easy to get bogged down by the minutia of raising young children that we don’t realize how challenging it can be to manage all those tasks. I am also amazed at the pyschoanalyzing (sp?) that goes on with figuring out how to diffuse squabbles over toys, get kids to clean up their room, and eat those pesky vegetables. Not to mention the multi-tasking! Thanks for the reminder!
    Christie recently posted… The Church of BaseballMy Profile

  5. says

    Yes, we have some incredible skills, and they are very much applicable to lots of jobs. But if you were, like me, a SAHM for 20 years, good luck getting hired, no matter how intelligent, focused, skilled and willing you are to work. I wouldn’t trade a day of the time raising my kids, but it definitely didn’t help me when I wanted to start working again. I have given up the job search and I’m focusing on my blog and other writing and I’m very, very happy.
    Sharon Greenthal recently posted… Marriage – Come Rain or Come ShineMy Profile

  6. says

    Love this post and your two resumes. The company I work part time for has been very successful in hiring SAHM’s who are coming back to work and all of these hires have been committed and fast learners that because moms have so much experience.
    Julia recently posted… Uncooperative DaysMy Profile

  7. says

    Wow I may need you to help me write my resume so I can get a job outside of academia for sure!! Teaching requires planning, supervision, design, etc, right? :) Oh and since I get about 500 emails a day I probably have “strong communication skills” :)

    WASAHM is pronounceable! It’s like wassup? but instead of a question it’s an exclamation. Wasaaaaaahm! It can be a greeting code between work at home moms.
    Pish Posh recently posted… Saturday Sandwiches: Pavlov’s Portabello BurgerMy Profile

  8. says

    Most of the stuff we have to do all day to manage kids and home are definitely applicable to the work force!
    Don’t forget that we also have to manipulate kids into doing things they don’t want to do, like dental appointments and cleaning their rooms. A good manager also has to do this with their team.
    I say we deserve immediate placement in upper-management simply based on the success of this skill.
    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying recently posted… ListeningMy Profile

  9. says

    That resume you made was so creative and spot on. I work a few jobs part-time while M is in 3 day preschool. I go to students’ homes and teach them when they are unable to be in school for a medical/behavioral reason. I also supervise student teachers in my area for an online university. Plus the podcast (which isn’t really a job). Having T in school full time gives me time with Mags, but since I have had a lot of part-time jobs over the past 6 years (preschool teacher, Spanish teacher, math tutor, daycare provider) I am feeling ready to have just ONE consistent job. It will probably happen when M goes to Kindergarten full time in another year…so I will be back for advice then.

    Really great post!
    Mel recently posted… I’M NOT KIDDING…THIS WAS OUR DAYMy Profile

  10. says

    Wow, marvelous weblog layout! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you made running a blog glance easy. The whole look of your web site is magnificent, let alone the content!

  11. lost at home mum says

    Hey all,
    I am currently looking for work now my children are making their own way in life. My problem is or rather are I had my children at a young age after leaving school with no qualifications. I suffered from depression and although I gave my everything to my children I kind of left the world to get on with it with out me.I do have people skills but get nervous around too many people I kind of feel I don’t have any thing interesting to add to conversations so I tend to stay by myself, I know working will help me over come this as I am by my self most of the time while my children are at school and my husband works but I don’t know where to start. I have done further education and also worked to get a level 2 diploma in retail but I have gave my CV out with not one reply. i live in Liverpool UK and was just wondering if any body knew how to get my foot in the door in paid employment ( I have worked voluntary before) the extra cash would come in useful but mainly I just want to find myself and meet new people. If anyone reading this could help i would be most grateful.

    • Tracey says

      I have went through the samething as you! I have been a STHM for the last 10yrs. Now that my youngest has started school full time. I am looking for work and don’t know where to start. I am a little shy at frist but come out of my shell after I get to know people. I have a GED and no other schooling. BUT I have raised 4 kids from age 5 to 13. I haven’t had time to volunteer but I have been at every soccer practie and game for the last 9 yrs for all my kids. between me and my sisters we have 9 kids and I do all their birthday party. for cooking to games. sleep overs, play dates, trips here and there. School plays, concerts helped in class rooms and done everything at home to raise a family and take care of kids and a husband that works a full time job as a steel worker. I just dont know how to put that on paper. I really need a job to help out with bills and to also get out of the house now that the kids arent home. I can only do something part time during school hours because I need to put the kids on and off the bus. I NEED HELP lol

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