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Resume Tips for a Mom Returning to Work

Being a mom has been your primary focus lately and preparing a resume for your return to the workforce might seem like a daunting task. Create a resume that doesn't highlight your time off. Instead, let it showcase your competencies and assure prospective employers that your work skills didn't atrophy during the time you were raising your children.

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Engaging Introductions

If you're returning from maternity leave, you don’t need to include anything that suggests how long you have been out of the workforce. In fact, your introduction shouldn’t mention motherhood at all. The focus of the resume should be the same as it was pre-baby and emphasize what you can bring to the business. Below your name and contact information, insert a one-paragraph introduction that explains what you have to offer the organization and the type of employment you're seeking. Your introduction should not mention motherhood. If you're applying for a human resources job, start with something like "Enthusiastic and engaged human resources professional looking for an organization that values collaboration and innovative ideas." From that point, emphasize the skills you bring to the job and refrain from using phrases such as "re-entering the workforce," or "returning professional."

Highlight Areas of Expertise

If you've been out of the workforce for a significant time, replace outdated terms with up-to-date ones. For example, "Recruitment and Selection" was once an acceptable HR-related term, but by 2014 "Talent Acquisition" was the norm. The resume must look recent and relevant so it doesn't appear you've neglected to stay abreast of changes and developments in your field. "The more relevant your expertise seems -- written in quick and easily recognizable terms -- the more time employers may spend scanning your resume," says Monica Schroer, owner of the Kansas City, Missouri-based esthetics studio FaceTime. She also suggests women use a "table" format and create a section to draw the reader's attention to your areas of expertise. For example, if you're a medical sales representative, you might include one- and two-word terms such as, "Consultative Selling," "Customer Relationship Management," "Territory Management," and "Sales Development." "Every resume needs a 'hook,' and this table is it, especially if it contains a few keywords from the job posting," she said.

Focus on Professional Competencies

Whether you've been out of the workforce for nine months or several years, many employers may wonder if your skills are sharp. An effective way to combat that is to focus on your professional competencies in the resume instead of a lengthy chronological history of your work experience. While that may look impressive, a sharp employer will also see there are gaps in your work history. It's best for you to wait until the interview to explain those gaps are due to your motherhood, and don't be surprised by the question. "Be prepared to explain your work history chronology during the interview. You can never hide that history," says Cheryl Brown, a Houston, Texas-based legal recruiter who counsels many lawyers leaving or returning to work.

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Transferable Skills

Don't assume you have fewer skills than someone who didn't take time out for motherhood. If you managed a household budget with ease, you're likely proficient in such areas as record keeping, accounting, estimating and value comparison. Point these out on the resume in a way so they're not "just" household activities. Time management and event coordination may be among the other skills you used daily as a mom that could work their way into a resume or cover letter.

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