Monday, April 06, 2009

Entrepreneurial Mom Returns to Workforce

I've been a stay at home for approximately 2-1/2 years. I went back to work for a short time (3 months) about 1-1/2 years ago. During that time, I started a cake baking business. Re-entering the workforce is now a must for me.

Having worked for 3 months in 2007, how do I explain the gap from 2006-2007 and then from 2007-2009? Other gaps in my work history are present as well, however, this is the longest gap. How do I put my best foot forward in explaining the 3-year gap?

by Garla Smith, Smart Moms®, LLC, and

Dear Cake Business Entrepreneur,
Congratulations on your decision to return to the workforce. In actuality you have already done the best thing for your resume by launching your cake baking business along with the other tasks I am sure you have been doing while at home. These tasks might include volunteer work, PTA support, tutoring in the classroom, or coordinating activities for the school band.

I see two options. One would be to show your “Entrepreneur – Owner of Cake Baking Business” for the longest period (if you indeed kept it running for that period). Then have another line entry for your work as a Mom such as “Volunteer, PTA Vice-President, and Full-Time Parent” for the shorter period.

The other option would be to consider lumping the 2006 – 2009 under one job heading but have several job titles such as Entrepreneur, Volunteer, Full-Time Parent.

I would use years to show time frame but no months. When you make it to the interview you can explain in further detail if asked.

You were not idle while you were at home. The key now is to communicate that in your resume. What skills did you acquire in all of the positions (paid on unpaid) that are valuable to employers? Perhaps bookkeeping, marketing, management, or administration.

Employers are changing their perceptions that moms are simply at home doing nothing. Many women are mastering organizational skills and communication techniques. They're applying financial strategies and cost savings that are valuable in the work place. They are able to multi-task, be extremely efficient in completing tasks, and bring a level of professionalism to a business that a person just entering the job market may not yet possess. It's important to communicate that in your cover letter and resume; and be ready to provide examples in the interview. Your examples should demonstrate real benefits that resulted from the use of your skills.

Best of luck to you in your job search!

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