If you are one of the 2.3 million women forced out of the workforce because of Covid, you may not have looked at your resume in a while. But as we enter the second year of the pandemic and childcare and in-person schooling are still uncertain, caring for families during the pandemic has become an unanticipated career break with many women wondering how to explain their time away.
The good news is that employers know the statistics. They recognize the unequal burden the pandemic has placed on women and many leading companies like T-Mobile, Wayfair and Fidelity have specific return-to-work channels in place for professionals with career gaps on their resumes.
Julia Pollak, labor economist at online jobs marketplace ZipRecruiter, told Fortune that women should add something like, “2020 to 2021: Homeschooled two children during a global pandemic” on their resumes. We agree! We can’t imagine a more difficult and demanding job and the special skills required to do it. Employers will recognize that as well.
We also advise people to describe a break on their resume so a potential employer knows what you were doing instead of wondering about the gap. By listing that you took time away and how you spent it, you are answering that question during that critical first pass at your resume. And with lots of people leaving the workforce last year, you won’t be the only one with a break.
Updating your resume does not need to be a daunting or scary task. In fact, with the right tools and mindset, it can actually be a rewarding self-reflective exercise as you look forward to your future.
If you are like Verina Legrand, a career break can represent an opportunity to re-evaluate what you want to do professionally and pivot into something new. Following a two-year career break, Verina used her skills as a pharmaceutical sales representative to transfer into a talent acquisition role at a leading financial institution. “I completely understand how easy it is to get discouraged and think that there is no light at the end of the tunnel,” she says. “But there is.”
To help you get started, reacHIRE has created a Resume Toolkit specifically for returners. We know that a resume is often the first impression a hiring manager or recruiter has of you so it is important that you make sure it is focused on your potential and the tremendous skills and experience you bring to an organization.
We have experience bringing hundreds of people back to work, guiding them through the process so their aptitude and attitude shine through instead of career gaps. We also partner with progressive companies who rely on us to find and encourage people to return to work after a career break.
The reacHIRE Resume Toolkit includes how to:
- Put your best self forward, so employers see you, not your career gaps;
- Format your resume including details like preferred fonts, margins and spacing;
- Incorporate elements that help you shine and highlight your skills and strengths, not just where you worked and what roles you had;
- Build a Compelling Career Summary;
- Address Your Career Gap;
- Showcase volunteer roles and project work;
- Describe past roles and responsibilities;
- Define Hard skills, Soft skills, and Technical skills.
At reacHIRE, we believe a career break is not a career breaker. We are in this together and it is our mission to help as many women as we can return to the workforce through our partner programs built on supportive peer networks, passion and potential. How can we help you?