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View Full Version : How do you come up with a resume after being a SAHM for so long?


luvdzne
08-04-2006, 10:03 AM
I have been a SAHM for the past 12 years. I need to go back to work, however I'm not sure how to put together a resume. The last time I worked I was a CM at WDW. I keep looking at applications and when it comes time to fill in employment history I never know what to put there either. I don't want it to look like I've done nothing for 12 years. Also, I have volunteered in the schools since the kids started, how do I put that in the application and/or resume?


Thanks in advance for any help!

Deb & Bill
08-04-2006, 11:42 AM
You write a functional resume. You list your skills and talents and what you accomplished. Only put job references on the application if you are asked about them.

For example:

Organizational skills: Organized activity for twenty five persons. Included dining, lodging, etc.

Developed method to organize computer files based on date of use/content of file/type of file. Improved productivity by 50% over two week period of use.

mjantz
08-04-2006, 11:44 AM
I would suggest having someone help you build your resume. I had a friend who works in a corporate office as a secretary look over mine. She was able to make things sound more important than I was.
Definately put down volunteer experience. If you've chaired any committees or anything like that, put that down.
I don't know what kind of position you're looking for but if you can, it may be valuable to put in a few years of part time/paid by the hour work before moving into full-time employment. A company may be a little hesitant to hire you for a 40 hour week if you've been out of the workforce for 12 years.

Deb & Bill
08-04-2006, 11:49 AM
Go buy What Color is Your Parachute. It has examples of different types of resumes and how to write them. Don't pay a professional to write one for you.

wscato
08-04-2006, 11:50 AM
Along these same lines, does anyone know any free but legitimate websites that offer resume writing tips? I need to work on mine too.

Thanks,
Ginger

mum of two pirates
08-04-2006, 12:00 PM
If it were me I'd go to your local emplyment office. When I went they had a computer program that you use, it's like a test you just answer questions about an 1/2 to an hour. When it was all done, it told me what things I was good at, what things I have, like 1500 of them. I was thinking of going back to collage on the dislocated worker thing. It told me what I would like, and would be good at. give it a try, at least call them. They have a lot of programs that will help you get your res. done. I live in washington and we also have programs that would pay for half of your wages for the first 500 hours. Our local carear paths office has training prog. that pay all your wages for 500 hours so you can get some exp. before the work force to show your employer that you can do your job, with out them forking out the money. Good luck

Lisa_Belle
08-04-2006, 12:03 PM
I wouldn't pay someone to write a resume for you. For free resume writing tips, I would go to your local library and check out some books. I've use the "What Color is Your Parachute" but my favorite is "The Damn Good Resume Guide."

Definitely include your volunteer experience. Most of my best stuff is through volunteer committees, because my job duties don't vary a whole lot. And if you've chaired any committees - even homeroom moms - you already have management experience. And managing paid employees who have a paycheck incentive is a whole lot easier than managing volunteers who have little incentive.

Also if you want to get your feet wet a little before going back full time, you can sign up with a temp agency. You'll have a chance to gain a little experience (especially helpful if you'll have anything to do with a computer because those skills change so rapidly), have a current job reference and ease yourself back into the workplace.

Good luck in your job search!

luvdzne
08-04-2006, 12:17 PM
even homeroom moms - you already have management experience. And managing paid employees who have a paycheck incentive is a whole lot easier than managing volunteers who have little incentive.



Never even thought of using my experience as a room mom. I've done that for the past 7 years, as well as working in the classroom. :yay:

Thanks everyone! I will go to the library and look for the books mentioned. I have tried putting in applications before, but when it comes to my work history I give up. Plus a lot of places want resumes.

ETA: I am looking for something along the lines as a secretary, office work. Actually anything that will help pay the bills. With the price of everything going up I can't afford to be a SAHM anymore. :guilty:

grlpwrd
08-04-2006, 12:38 PM
Never even thought of using my experience as a room mom. I've done that for the past 7 years, as well as working in the classroom. :yay:

Thanks everyone! I will go to the library and look for the books mentioned. I have tried putting in applications before, but when it comes to my work history I give up. Plus a lot of places want resumes.

ETA: I am looking for something along the lines as a secretary, office work. Actually anything that will help pay the bills. With the price of everything going up I can't afford to be a SAHM anymore. :guilty:

If you don't mind would you post any updates? I'm sure many here can learn from your experience.

GL! :wizard:

MyGoofy26
08-04-2006, 12:54 PM
I'm going to second the functional resume - it allows you to get all of your skills and experience down without worrying about the "chronology" of it, and they're becoming more and more widely accepted.

And definitely put down volunteer experience - you don't have to get a paycheck for it to be a marketable skill.

PatMcDuck
08-04-2006, 01:14 PM
I kind of had to do this sort of resume, and it worked for me. After working in the Disneystore for 5 years, I now work in a pediatricians office, front desk. Let me say, it's a great job for a former SAHM. I have 4 kids (ages 20-14 now) Between them, my kids have had almost every common kids affliction. (I do not give out my own medical advise of course, but it helps me know what questions to ask when taking messages, and I am very sympathic). This job can be either full or part time, and the pay is much more than retail, even entry level. My challenge was finding a place that would train me, with no experience. Now, I can always find a job, even if we relocate (To FL someday, I hope!)

mercydisney
08-04-2006, 02:55 PM
Thanks OT for starting a great thread!! I think their are alot of SAHM who all have thought about going back to work, but just don't know how to get started, after staying at home for so long. As alot of the post have said, we do have alot of qaulifications, but some of us seem to forget because after doing them for so long and being taken for granted (some not all but me, yes),
we forget how valuable we are.

I do some parttime babysitting at home to pay for DIsney. but do consider myself a SAHM. Good Luck!!

As GRLPWRD states Please keep us updated. Would love to know how it works out.

FionaLovesShrek
08-04-2006, 03:15 PM
I was a SAHM for 7 years and when my EH decided he wanted a divorce, I was forced to return to work. I filled out a lot of applications and I used the resume builder on my excell program. I was honest and didn't pretty up my resume. I was called by a doctors office when my resume was given to them from someone else I had submitted it to. They hired me. I soon was hired back with my former employer who said during my interview, "You look like a housewife. What do you do on weekends, bake cookies?" :furious: I thought that interview hit a dead end, but the very one who said that to me, hired me, and tells me I am one of the best employees he has :teeth: Finding employment is not easy. I was told I was virtually unemployable by one company. But keep at it, you will find someone willing to give you a chance.

MrsPete
08-04-2006, 03:21 PM
I would just fill it out with your work experience "as is". Put in a little bit about being a room mom, etc., but don't over-do it. If you do, you risk them thinking that your entire identity is tied up in being a mom, and they may think you'll not be dedicated to your work.

In the cover letter and at the interview you'll have an opportunity to explain that you've been home with your children for years. This is a perfectly acceptable reason for a "hole" in your resume, and it won't be held against you (on the other hand, it's much more difficult for a man to explain a similar absence).

When you're interviewed, you'll want to be ready for the "Whatcha been doing?" question. You can deflect that question though and turn it into a positive for you:

"I chose to stay at home with my children for several years. (one sentence on where you've been -- now details on where you want to go -- this is what you want them to remember) Now they're older and in school, and I'm ready to resume my career. I'm excited about getting back into the work force, and I hope to . . . "

Do not go into WHY you stayed home with your children. It doesn't matter anyway, and if the interviewer is a working mom or the husband of a working mom, you risk alienating yourself if you extole the virtues of staying home with your children, and you risk having them believe that you might go running back home after only a few weeks, leaving them to seek and train someone new. Instead, turn the conversation to THE FUTURE and what you hope to accomplish in your new position. Legally, you don't have to answer questions about your personal life in any way, but if you appear closed-mouthed on the subject, it'll send up red flags to the interviewer -- better to tell a little and be seen as honest and forthcoming.

I think the biggest mistake most people make -- SAHMs or anyone else -- is failing to be aggressive enough at getting your foot in the door. Put in your application (along with your resume and a nice cover letter), and ASK who will be calling you and when you might expect the call. If they fail to call, CALL THEM. At the interview, ASK when a decision will be made; if they don't call, CALL THEM. The day after your interview, put a professional thank-you letter (thanking the interviewer for his/her time and quickly reiterating your interest in the job -- be specific) in the mail to the interviewer. You have nothing to lose by aggressively pursuing the job; you have everything to lose by sitting back and hoping to be noticed.

luvdzne
08-04-2006, 04:15 PM
Thanks MrsPete! Some great advice! :thumbsup2

I suspect with the price of everything on the rise, sadly I'm not the only SAHM that will be looking for a job. :sad2:

DiznEeyore
08-04-2006, 06:41 PM
Since you're looking to get back into clerical work, have you considered starting out with a temp agency? They're a little more willing to work with someone who's been out of the job market for a while.

They'll normally do testing to gauge your skills and then place you with different companies. It might be a good way to get your foot back in the door ... lots of places end up hiring their temps. Plus, it's a great way to build your resume up again.

Good luck, and please keep us posted! :)

PolyHereWeCome
08-04-2006, 07:42 PM
I would just fill it out with your work experience "as is". Put in a little bit about being a room mom, etc., but don't over-do it. If you do, you risk them thinking that your entire identity is tied up in being a mom, and they may think you'll not be dedicated to your work.

In the cover letter and at the interview you'll have an opportunity to explain that you've been home with your children for years. This is a perfectly acceptable reason for a "hole" in your resume, and it won't be held against you (on the other hand, it's much more difficult for a man to explain a similar absence).

When you're interviewed, you'll want to be ready for the "Whatcha been doing?" question. You can deflect that question though and turn it into a positive for you:

"I chose to stay at home with my children for several years. (one sentence on where you've been -- now details on where you want to go -- this is what you want them to remember) Now they're older and in school, and I'm ready to resume my career. I'm excited about getting back into the work force, and I hope to . . . "

Do not go into WHY you stayed home with your children. It doesn't matter anyway, and if the interviewer is a working mom or the husband of a working mom, you risk alienating yourself if you extole the virtues of staying home with your children, and you risk having them believe that you might go running back home after only a few weeks, leaving them to seek and train someone new. Instead, turn the conversation to THE FUTURE and what you hope to accomplish in your new position. Legally, you don't have to answer questions about your personal life in any way, but if you appear closed-mouthed on the subject, it'll send up red flags to the interviewer -- better to tell a little and be seen as honest and forthcoming.

I think the biggest mistake most people make -- SAHMs or anyone else -- is failing to be aggressive enough at getting your foot in the door. Put in your application (along with your resume and a nice cover letter), and ASK who will be calling you and when you might expect the call. If they fail to call, CALL THEM. At the interview, ASK when a decision will be made; if they don't call, CALL THEM. The day after your interview, put a professional thank-you letter (thanking the interviewer for his/her time and quickly reiterating your interest in the job -- be specific) in the mail to the interviewer. You have nothing to lose by aggressively pursuing the job; you have everything to lose by sitting back and hoping to be noticed.
I was a SAHM for about 7 years and returned to the workforce part-time last year. It's been a good experience and allows me to be home around the kids' schedules (no before-care, after-care, summer-care). The above post has some great points, so it saved me the typing!

I did put my resume in chronological order, with a simple two lines about staying home and volunteering in the schools. Although I was room mom for many years and active in the PTA, I didn't focus on these -- figured that the person/people interviewing are probably full-time employees, either with no children, children in daycare, or have a wife who's stayed home (and aren't necessarily progressive about SAHM's career dedication). Cover letter mentioned it again, but definitely highlighted my commitment to the job now that my children are in school most of the day.

When I was building my cover letters and resume, I did a lot of basic web searches on words like "cover letter". You have some great postings about free resources -- definitely would not pay someone.

Here's wishing you much success. Remember, it's not the number of rejections you may or may not receive -- you just need one yes.:wizard: