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May 10, 2024

Mothersday Hero

Written by Theresa Perales

Reentering to the workforce after a gap in employment has historically been a daunting and overwhelming experience due to concerns about skill gaps or acclimatizing to the workforce. Job seekers often face the burden of proving the value they bring with the skills and knowledge gained both before and during their pause in employment.

Mothers are among the largest population of job seekers returning to the workforce, with the considerable challenge of validating their value. In 2022, the number of mothers in the U.S. with children under age 18 seeking to reenter the workforce increased to 72.9%.

In December 2023, California had 830,000 job openings. Leveraging the talent of mothers reentering the workforce could offer a promising avenue to fill these position. However, there has long been a stigma against job seekers, especially mothers who take breaks from formal employment.

Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom or caregiver reflects a commendable integrity and dedication that is often snubbed. Mothers who temporarily step out of the workforce while their children are young represent a valuable and overlooked talent pool, and the stigma they face is not their only barrier to reemployment. Mothers also face the challenge of having confidence that their skills can meet employers’ demands.

Resume Enhancing Tips for Mothers

The San Diego Workforce Partnership’s learning team works with many of these women who have admitted to feelings of nervousness. “I worried about finding another job, so I explored short-term training options like paralegal or notary courses to gain new skills and boost my employability.” – Johanna Gleason, job seeker

An employment gap does not equate to a skills gap. In fact, acquired during this time such as problem solving, schedule coordination, attention to detail and monitoring can greatly contribute to a workplace, more than one might realize. Some of the most transferable skills gained can be used for roles and tasks like project management and strategic planning.

When preparing to reenter the workforce, the key is to craft your resume and cover letter in a way that highlights these transferable skills. Below are a few suggestions those with a gap in their employment history can use to enhance their resume.

  • A functional resume format can help emphasize the ongoing use of soft or essential skills. Employers stress the value of these skills, as they are crucial for initial job success and are transferable across various jobs and sectors.
  • Creatively showcase the hard skills you developed during this period, using language from roles such as logistician or childcare worker.
  • Consider including a cover letter even when it is not required. Research shows that even when cover letters are optional, recruiters still expect them and give preference to those candidates. Additionally, the cover letter provides an excellent opportunity to address any employment gaps by highlighting education or training completed during this time. It also allows you to showcase how your caregiver skills are directly relevant and essential to the role you’re applying for.

“In my cover letter, I showcased my experience as a stay-at-home mom, emphasizing skills I honed as a caregiver and volunteer. I was able to talk about hard skills such as using office equipment and technology, and soft skills such as organizing events and educational resources.” — Barbara Bass, job seeker.

“I found the resume workshop extremely helpful. It’s been a while since I last updated my resume, and I discovered some significant changes, like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). I picked up tips on incorporating both soft and hard skills into a professional summary in lieu of an objective statement. However, the most beneficial aspect of the workshop was the access to resources. I’m confident that these resources will not only assist me in crafting a resume but also in creating one that will give me a competitive edge.” — Joy Decena, workshop attendee.

For more guidance on how to prepare a resume, cover letter or even for a job interview, attend our Job Search Series and meet with one of our learning team members. Virtual and in-person options are available every week.

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