After a few years at home, it’s not easy to get back into the workforce. To stack the odds in your favour, make some time for your career and keep your resumé up-to-date.
Stay on track
Even if you’ve chosen to spend a few years at home with your children, it’s a good idea to invest some time in your work. That way, when the time comes to look for a job, you won’t be starting at zero. “A year before heading back, think about getting involved in a professional association, taking a continuing ed course or volunteering in the field you’d like to work in,” suggests career counsellor Mélanie Paquet. “You’ll build a network of contacts and develop your confidence, which will give you an edge when you start your job search.”
Do you work in a rapidly evolving field? Whether you’re a lawyer, computer programmer, tax specialist or scientist, it’s in your best interest to keep up on current issues. Then let recruiters know that you’ve taken a refresher course or read up on recent developments in your field. Include this information in your cover letter and in the professional development section of your resumé.
Should you tell all?
Since a long gap in your resumé never looks good, you’re best off clarifying what you’ve been doing so that employers don’t jump to the wrong conclusions. “Employers might think you’ve had mental health problems and throw out your application without further consideration,” warns Ms. Paquet. You can also mention your parental leave in your cover letter, as long as the focus remains on your skills and experience.
Your skills font and centre
Final tip: Forget the traditional resumé that lists everything in chronological order. Mélanie Paquet recommends putting together a resumé that focuses on your skills rather than one that emphasizes your years at work. (Click Final tip: Forget the traditional resumé that lists everything in chronological order. Mélanie Paquet recommends putting together a resumé that focuses on your skills rather than one that emphasizes your years at work. (Click Here to see an example)
This type of resumé is particularly useful if you want a job that is less demanding than the one you had prior to taking your leave. Your past experience as a fast-paced marketing director has definitely given you transferable skills for the coordinator position you’d like to land now. Your skills-based resumé puts your abilities front and centre, without pigeonholing you into a specific role.