Inside: Resumes for stay at home moms can feel tricky at first, but break it down with the resume template, resume sections, and communication strategies and you’ll be ready to go land your next dream job.
Stay at home moms, you don’t need me to tell you this, but you are some of the hardest-working people on the planet.
Those tiny humans you are raising are amazing but I have kids too and I know – children are also NO JOKE. Parenting is tough and you are on the front lines making things happen.
What things are you making happen? Oh, the scheduling, planning, organizing, teaching, coaching, managing, cleaning, cooking, driving, nursing, shopping, feeding, bathing, refereeing, researching, etc., etc., etc.
All the things!
Now let’s say you are opening a new chapter in your life and career and returning to the paid workforce. How do you take all of those skills and translate them onto a resume?
I’m so glad you asked because it’s completely possible and this Career Coach and fellow mom is going to help you nail it!
Resumes for Stay at Home Moms – The Templates
One HUGE question I get when it comes to resumes for stay at home moms – where do I even start?
I recommend starting with a resume template you love so that as you start inputting your experience into the resume it looks great and gives you a boost of confidence.
Sure, the best part of the resume is all of your skills and experience, and we’re getting there soon, but dressing up a little bit does help.
Plus with the right template, you can make sure your resume doesn’t get booted out of Applicant Tracking Systems. Super important!
Here are visuals of two of my favorite templates, and you can even snag them here along with coaching notes!
Let’s Talk Goals
Now that we have your favorite template downloaded and ready, let’s talk about your career goals.
Before you start writing a single thing on this resume, we need to know WHAT type of job you are looking for and WHO the audience for your resume is.
Here’s why this matters.
Your resume is a marketing document – basically, a full-page ad trying to sell something (you) to someone (the employer). If your ad isn’t speaking the employer’s language and doesn’t address their pain points, they are never going to bit.
So, spend some time right now thinking about your ideal job. What skills are needed for that job? What problems are an employer trying to solve by hiring someone for that job? Why is that job right for you?
If you are stuck figuring out what type of job you want skip the rest of this discussion on resumes and go here!
What Should I Write on My Resume?
Now we are going to dive into what you’ll actually write on your resume, but not in the exact order it shows up on the template.
Don’t worry there’s a method to my madness! This all comes together in the end.
Your Transferable Skills
Skills are foundational to any resume – whether you are writing a resume as a stay at home mom, a career switcher, or looking for a role within your same industry.
The employer wants to know what skills you are bringing to the role and how you can solve problems for them. That’s why starting with brainstorming what skills you are going to include in your Skills section and throughout your resume is our first stop.
So pull out the job description for a job or jobs you are most interested in (even if you’re not ready to apply right now – this can be prep for applications in the future) and look at the top three bullet points in the Responsibilities and Qualifications section. What skills specifically are needed for this job?
Then as you brainstorm your Skills list, use words directly from the job description to describe the skills you know you rock at.
Are you great at bringing calm to an argument in the playgroup or PTA? Conflict Management. Are you amazing at organizing birthday parties and neighborhood get together? Event Planning.
Don’t sell yourself short, my friend. Own your skills and communicate them in the right way.
Your Killer Resume Summary
Now that you have a good grasp on what skills you have that the employer wants, let’s incorporate them into the rest of your resume starting right at the top.
If it’s been a hot second since you wrote a resume, you may be tempted to include a Resume Objective at the top of your resume above that skills section.
You don’t need a resume objective statement that says “I want this type of job.” The employer knows that because you’re applying to this job!
Instead, use this valuable real estate on your resume to set the tone for the rest of your resume and craft the narrative. Think of this as the trailer to the movie that is you. How can you pull in your audience in a compelling way so they want to learn more?
Typically I go with a three-sentence resume summary or professional profile that uses words and phrases like “experienced in…”, “track record of success in,” “recognized for ability to…” You have to be able to back up these statements of course, but you’ll do that in your Experience section.
Keywords are also key here. Think about how you can incorporate the exact job title of what you are applying for within your resume summary to draw attention to your fit.
Your Professional Experience
The Experience section is where a lot of stay at home moms start to get tripped up in resume writing.
How do I talk about the past X number of years when I’ve been out of the paid workforce?
1. Include your Stay at Home Mom Experience on your resume.
Here’s how that might look with a focus on accomplishments, the scope of your work, skills, and wherever possible PAR statements (problem, action, results).
2. Volunteer experience is work experience.
Don’t count out your volunteer work at the school, food pantry, youth sports league, church, etc. What skills did you utilize in that work that would be most relevant? Talk about them on your resume.
3. Freelance experience is work experience.
SO many times when I’m writing resumes for stay at home moms, we get 3/4 of the way through the conversation and then they say “Oh right, I took on these 5 freelance/contract projects over the past 5 years. Should I include those?”
And not just the title and company – talk about your accomplishments! More on that below.
4. Your previous roles still count.
Just because your past work experience is 5, 10, 15 years old, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t count. When dusting off your old resume and looking at what you included in your most recent paid role, try to do some reframing to give your old jobs new life.
Go back to that PAR acronym I mentioned earlier and instead of simply listing responsibilities, use each bullet point to talk about a Problem you solved, Action you took, and a Result that you drove. Believe me, they are there.
Unless you are a recent grad, I recommend moving your Education section down to the bottom of your resume. It’s important, but your experience and skills are what employers are going to want to know first.
When filling out your Education section, remember this isn’t only for degrees. If you have taken a certificate program and it’s relevant to your job search – add it! If you have taken non-degree-granting courses that are relevant to your job search – add them.
When it comes to resumes for stay at home moms, the problem I see most frequently is leaving OFF too much information, not including too much.
Your Interests Matter Too!
Yes, you read that right. Interests!
Including interests on your resume can be a great way for the employer to get to know the person behind the paper. It’s also the perfect opportunity to showcase why you might be interested in this company or role.
For example, if you are applying to a position with a swimwear company and you’re an avid swimmer – mention it! If you are applying to a healthcare company that focuses on animals – talk about your love for dogs! This stuff matters especially for mission-driven organizations.
Resumes for Stay at Home Moms: Additional Help
Okay, friend. How are you feeling about tackling your resume now?
A lot better I hope! Make sure you pick up your templates before you leave so you’ll be off and running.
And then if you need additional help, consider this your very formal invitation to set up a free career coaching consultation call with me! In 15 minutes we can talk through where you are getting stuck and figure out if working with a career coach and resume writer would be a good fit for you.