I Do Everything. How Can I Translate That on a Resume? A Recruiter's Insight on: SAHM's Resume, Part 1
With Industry Insight by: Chris Wood, Consultant
How to Define a Stay at Home Mom in a Resume: Job Title
Recruiters are busy. Most spend only 6 seconds looking at a resume before they decide if the applicant is a good fit for the position. When a recruiter skims down to the ‘Experience’ section, the listed job titles are the beacon of their attention. For most positions, this is a very straightforward portion of your resume. When you take a job you should have a strong understanding of your job title and responsibilities, but for stay-at-home moms, this can be a bit tricky. How can you embody all of the responsibilities of a stay-at-home mom in a job title?
There isn’t a lot of information on this topic out there, so I decided to ask a top recruiter in my area. I specifically wanted to inquire about the use of ‘CEO’ to describe your leadership role within the home; I had seen this listed on a few mom blogs and Facebook profiles. Though I do believe there are many parallels between the work of a stay-at-home mom and a CEO, Chris, Account Executive with Spencer Reed Consulting in San Diego, brings up a good point:
“[Using CEO/COO as your job title] could automatically have them [the recruiter] move on to the next resume because they didn’t look through the details and assumed the mom/candidate was overqualified.”
This brings me to the primary goal of your job title and your entire resume: stay relevant to the position at hand. If you are applying for a position in Marketing, then shape your job title to reflect the desired skills for the position. A resume builds your career story and the list of job titles ideally show a progression in the field you are pursuing. Crafting your job title to align with your past and future work experience is a strategic way to make your time at home appealing to a potential employer.
I think using "CEO of Smith family" as a job title to represent your time as a stay-at-home is meant to communicate the leadership skills necessary for the position. Leadership is an incredibly marketable skill, but it should be communicated in a way that convinces the recruiter that you will lead work projects effectively. For example, a CEO of a company makes high-level decisions involving millions of dollars and hundreds of employees; whereas, you may be applying for a human resources position that requires the candidate to be detail oriented with strong interpersonal skills to lead employee benefits projects with small groups. Although these are both leadership skills, they are very different when applied to the day to day acts of the position.
Crafting a unique job title from scratch may be tricky. Below, you will find some job titles, separated by industry, which you may consider using as your stay-at-home mom job title on your resume:
Education: In-home Lead Instructor, Residential Activities Coordinator, Home Life Facilitator, Family Education Specialist, Home Childcare Leader, Residential Program Lead
Business: Residential Communication Specialist, Family Finance Coordinator, In-Home Childcare Manager, Household Administrative Assistant, Household Operations Specialist
Healthcare: Home Case Manager, Familial Medical Specialist, Residential Care Coordinator, Home Infant/Child Health Aide
Looking at the job post of your desired position and those like it will help you to understand what the employer wants, allowing you to have greater insight on choosing the most appropriate job title. Some job posts may state specifically what job titles and experience they are looking for, use that to lead your job title decision. One of my favorite sites to research and find a plethora of job titles is O*Net. Check it out to begin your search!
Finding a strong job title is the just the start of marketing your time at home to employers. Please read the next which covers ways to align your experiences at home with those in your next career endeavor.
HUGE THANKS to Chris Wood for contributing to this article!
I Do Everything. How Can I Translate That on a Resume? A Recruiter's Insight on: SAHM's Resume, Part 2
With Industry Insight by: Chris Wood, Consultant
Connecting the Dots through Strong Experience Bullets
Every day as a stay-at-home mom is different, challenging and incredibly important. When applying for a new position outside of the home, it is critical to communicate your work your work in a meaningful way through strong bullets in your resume. Many women I have coached discuss their time at home with a modest tone. I believe this is unnecessary and unfortunate. There is such respect for the work that mothers do and it can be advantageously showcased on your resume. If you choose to incorporate your time at home in your resume, it's important to consider the audience and what they want to see. I asked Chris Wood, Account Executive with Spencer Reed Consulting, how to navigate adding SAHM experience, he states:
“It [stay-at-home mom] is equivalent to a full-time job. Don’t try to mask it. Just relate everything to the business world. Just because the kids (employees) are much smaller/younger doesn’t mean the work isn’t as hard (if not harder).”
In essence, the recruiter and hiring manager need to see how you can connect the dots of your work as a stay-at-home mom with their needs in the position. A bullet section is an ideal place to visually connect the dots. First, you can use similar keywords used in the job description. If the employer wants someone with strong administrative skills, then reflect on the work you have done coordinating schedules, overseeing family financial expenditures, or managing child healthcare records. One of the many benefits of staying at home is you gain experience in a variety of career fields creating many opportunities to tap into transferable skills in your experience section.
Chris encourages the use of transferable skills in stating:
“The biggest concern employers have is… ‘Will this mom/candidate be able to jump back into the pace of the daily required job?’ So, really, if a Mom can just go in with confidence and ability to explain transferable job skills and/or explain how she kept up with her previous job skills, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
I’ve listed an example below to illustrate transferable skills and connecting the dots for an employer.
Listed Job Requirement:
• Provide supportive client services ensuring effective communication as a liaison between client and program administration.
Possible Bullet for SAHM:
• Led childcare services for two children overseeing academic, health and well-being to be communicated with teachers and stakeholders, building a communal support network.
An easy exercise that will help you to build strong work experience bullets is to write a quick list of everything you have done that relates to the position in which you’re applying, collage your list with the requirements listed in the job post to create a strong bullet sure to catch a recruiter’s eye in 6 seconds.
If you need help with this, or any other aspect of jumping back into the workforce, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd LOVE to help!
With Industry Insight by: Kelli Clark, Area Sales Manager
I checked LinkedIn ‘Top Jobs’ today and noticed my local Anthropologie was hiring a customer service associate; I was very tempted. I began to think about what fun a retail job would be at this stage in my life -Hello! Discounts, upgraded wardrobe, well-dressed co-worker friends, complimenting people all day) and wondered if other moms might feel the same way. My friend Kelli is an area manager for Seven for all Mankind and Splendid, two moms that I know I'll always find a nice piece of clothes candy, so I asked for her insights in hiring stay-at-home moms returning to work, not only in her stores but retail overall.
Kelli plays a prominent role in hiring for the stores she oversees in San Diego, CA, and they are hiring NOW. I wanted to know if she had ever hired a return-to-work mom, and the benefits. She said:
“The stay at home moms who have worked for me have had great work ethic. They come to work on time, they work hard, and they are committed for the time they are in the store. They can genuinely connect with customers because they have some life experience and can use that engagement to build their sales and reach their goals.”
Now we know that retail is a viable option for stay-at-home moms, so let's discuss ways to represent yourself in a marketable fashion in your cover letter, resume, and interview. Transferable skills are incredibly instrumental in helping you stand out in the hiring process. I asked Kelli, “What are some key transferable skills stay-at-home moms can use for retail positions?” She stated: “Time management, multi-tasking, event planning, volunteering, handling stressful situations.” You may be thinking you don’t have professional experience in those areas, but I would challenge that most stay-at-home moms have a strong representation of these skills. Here is an example of how it could look on a resume:
Jones Residence 2012-2015
• Planned and facilitated daily schedule for two children involved in over 12 weekly activities exuding strong time management and organization.
• Arranged weekly mom group meetings with over 15 attendees for two years; scheduled location, created activities and oversaw logistics.
• Displayed level-headed problem-solving in stressful situations involving children, teachers, peers, and family.
• Multi-tasked an array of child care, activities, events and daily responsibilities providing a well-run and fun household.
I’ve underlined the keywords, and synonyms, Kelli used to help you to see how you might replicate the use of keywords in a job description with your stay-at-home mom work experience.
I worked in retail for one holiday season my first semester of college at Victoria Secret. Aside from coming into work mildly hung-over most days, I didn’t have the work ethic, respect for the brand or a way to connect with the women I was helping; with all of this said, I was totally unsuccessful. I believe these skills are accrued and refined as a stay-at-home mom. But one aspect of a successful return to the working world is a schedule that allows you to balance all the responsibilities at home with those at work. I asked Kelli about flexible schedules in retail, and she replied: “Yes. If there are special events you know you need to be off work for in advance, like a school play, teacher conference, or field trip you want to attend during the week, all those things can be accommodated without losing pay because you can often make up the hours another day that week.”
I can attest to this as I see Kelli take her children to school most days, and she is always on time.
Lastly, I asked Kelli about upward mobility in retail; she responded there is “almost always” room to grow. Growth is an integral part of your decision to return to work in retail; moving up in the ranks is sure to motivate you. I highly suggest asking about ways to grow with the company when you interview for a position in retail. You aren’t limited to a customer service role, especially if you already have experience in retail or leadership. Check out this list of 47 jobs in retail to include in your next job search.
My favorite question to ask a hiring manager or human resources specialist is “What do you look for in an ideal candidate?” Here’s Kelli’s response: “For any position at 7 or Splendid you need to be able to show passion for the brand, engage with clients and sell, be self-motivated, able to do physical work and be on your feet all day, and be open to giving and receiving coaching and feedback.”
I’m excited to share the option of retail with you! Please send an email if you have further questions, need support with your resume or would like to get connected with Kelli regarding opportunities with 7 or Splendid.
Huge Thanks to Kelli Clark for contributing to this article!