Resume Gap - PLEASE HELP!?

I am a Stay-at-Home Mom and I need to go back to work because my family really needs the extra income. However, I have 4-year gap in my employment. It seems as though employers view this as the equivalent to having the plague. Because my children are ages 11, 7, and 5, I am looking for something flexible (and preferably part-time). I need something that I can bring home at least $200-$300 per week. I have six years of college and I am 3 tri-mesters short of my bachelors. I have plenty of work place experience, but employers seem to overlook all of this. Any suggestions for overcoming the resume gap or any suggestions for good employers?

Also, any suggestions on how to explain this to a potential employer? I am always uncomfortable saying I am a Stay-at-Home Mom, because I am just sure that this will be all they hear and judge me solely on this. I spoke to someone the other day & in the course of a 15 minute conversation I was asked 3 times "so, you haven't worked in four years?"


They said they would keep my resume on file, but I haven't heard back (surprise...)

Oh, and by the way, I am in Columbus, OH if you have any employment suggestions. Thanks!!

Update 2:

Ok, somebody had an issue with this in the other category so, just to clarify:

Ok to answer "how do [ I ] have six years of college and no BA?" It wasn't six years of full time schooling. I went two years full-time at one college and then had to take time off and then I went 4 years part-time (at night) at another college - obviously if I went six years full time I would have my degree!

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Six years and no degree is quite common, actually. I was in the spot for a while. I had a hard time at my first school (majored in sorority), hated the school my parents made me go to instead, dropped out when I got promoted at work, finally put myself back in school several years later to finish up. The entire process took about 12 years and I was actually enrolled at some school for at least half of it.

    Employers are changing (slowly) because they realize the workforce is changing. Parents are taking time off to be with their kids and are wanting more flexibility when they rejoin the workforce. If you don't need a job with benefits and insurance, you have a lot of options, depending on what you want to do. Here are a few things I have encountered in my years as a manager and in my current studies:

    -Get on file with the temp agencies (my company has a big office in Columbus and the only way to get in the door is through the staffing agency.)

    -Some companies are offering a job sharing program where one full time position is split into two part time jobs so that the employees have more time off for family or other obligations. This would be an option if you were seeking traditional office positions: accounting, business, etc. It's not terribly common yet but it is a growing option.

    -Check the local schools. My mom took a part time position as a playground aide/school assistant for a couple of years because her work schedule would match our school schedules.

    -When I worked in retail, I had a horrible time finding people who could work during the day. Most of my staff were students who could only work evenings and weekends.

    Personally, I'd rather hire someone who chose to take time off for family than someone who job hops every few months. Just tell them that you took some personal time for your family and now they are at ages where you are looking to start working again. Demonstrate that your skills are current and that you are motivated.

    good luck!

    Source(s): MBA student (hopefully I'll complete this one in fewer than 12 years!)
  • marie9
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Even though you have been a stay at home mom you maybe did some sort of volunteer work?

    To close a gap in time some people including myself have only included the year of employment. Also don't bold the dates and use a smaller font.

    If you took an odd class you can list that as well. If you learned things on the computer even if it was on your own you can list that as skills.

    if asked why there is a gap in my employment record, I would say "I took time off to have my children". It was your choice not because you were fired. I would explain this gap in my cover letter so that when asked for an interview that question would be covered.

    Sart your resume with a summary statement and career highlights raather than history of employment right away. Think of your accomplishments rather than that 4 year gap in employment.

    That way human resourses will actually read your C.V. and not leave it out of the pile.

    Good Luck

  • 1 decade ago

    This is how I answered my 5 year gap when I went back into the work field. I've had 3 instances of companies going belly up (Can you say Arthur Anderson), so I had to get my resume out. When asked to describe my work history, I have started before the "gap" started" and then say "I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my children until they were both in school. Once they got to school, I was desperate for adult conversation, so I decided to go back to work". This usually gets a smile (the adult conversation bit), and a shake of the head and moving on to the next question.

    Some employeers worry that family will take priority over the job - you know, Billy has the sniffles and I can't come in-that sort of thing. During your interview(s), you will need to play down the mom side of you and build on the solid, dependable employee side. Good luck to you. I might also downplay the need to supplement your income. Some employeers will look at that and think "once she gets over her financial crisis, she'll quit." I would focus on the part-time aspect and the flexibility, as well as getting back into the working environment...that sort of thing.

    One last thing - NEVER feel guilty for being a stay-at-home mom. That is the hardest job in the world and you should be proud of the fact that you did it. You have the best organizational skills, you can multi-task, you good with budgets and you can work with all types of behaviors. Anyone who judges you (and they may judge you the way I did) in a negative light, doesn't deserve.

    Again - good luck

    Source(s): Been there, done that.
  • dcgirl
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Research the companies that you are applying to. There are more and more female CEO's and COO's out there every day. Companies with a strong female leadership will be a lot more able to look past the gap in your employment. And many companies that don't have a female COO or CEO will still be willing to work with a mother who is returning to the workforce, as long as they have a progressive attitude.

    Perhaps taking your resume to a local headhunter would be a good step. Headhunters usually get their fees from the employer, not the potential employee, so don't let them charge you! But headhunters know their clients-- both employers and employees--- and can help steer your resume to an employer who doesn't see this time off as being a horrible thing.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well I took some time off to stay home with my child, and I had to explain it a few times it was just 3 months not 4 years. but I told employers that I wanted to spend more time with my child. I would explain it something like that. you wanted to take more time with your children now that they have grown some you feel its time to return to the work force. I would also try target. I worked for them for a while, they have good benefits and were really flexible at my store. and it might be a good place to get your foot in the door, which is the most important thing.

    and in the future you can always say that since all your kids were in school you took a part time job to keep your self occupied and also allow you to complete your schooling and now you are ready to move on to something more steady and full time.

    Also since it is after the christmas season a lot of places probably arent going to be hiring because all the temp hires that they have from the holidays.

  • 1 decade ago

    Rewrite your resume to highlight skills and knowledge first and putting your work history last. Then, positively spin your time off in interviews. When they ask, "you haven't worked in four years," answer that you have worked, raising kids takes hard work and discipline. Don't be afraid to talk up your experience at home and don't act embarrassed of if.

    Sure, there are some jerks who look down at being a stay at home mom. But if you're positive about your life, that should satisfy the majority of people who are in a position to hire you.

  • Toffy
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Since the other question was not this detailed, I do want to say that you have nothing to worry about. For the short term, try applying at a Grocery Store for just the immediate paycheck. Then work up from there. I had to rescue my family, and financial shortcomings as well. And I did it by way of the Grocery Store. It provided me with the income you desire, and medical insurance. Good Luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    Do you mind looking after other people's kids?

    Your being a stay-at-home mom could probably be an asset for a job at a daycare or something along those lines, even if your degree isn't in Early Childhood Education. If you are willing to work in this line of work you should check out various places in your area.

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