17 September 2009

Update your resume before you leave your job to stay home with the kids

resume.jpgI'm so impressed with Melissa's ability to think ahead, especially in the face of an impending move.

I am getting ready to leave the workforce for a few years while we relocate for my husband's job. I will be staying home with the kids and know that at some point in two to three years I will want to go back to work. So, my hack is to write up my resume before I quit. Then I can remember all of the committees I've served on, workshops I've attended, and duties I've been responsible for in my current job. Plus, let's face it, 24 hours a day with two kids under three is going to make my brain a little melty for a while and trying to remember my pre-SAHM life may be challenging in a couple of years. [Challenging? Near IMPOSSIBLE. If someone asked me to write a resume right now, it would take some serious mental gymnastics. -- Ed.]

I would add that getting a few letters of recommendation for your files (while your stellar performance is fresh in the minds of your boss or coworkers) wouldn't hurt either.

There's so much to say about this. I know quite a few women who left the workforce once they had kids fully intending to go back in a few years. But those few years did a number on their self-confidence, at least where professional qualifications were concerned. I imagine that having a resume all ready for that future date would be a comfort and an ego jumpstart as one started looking for a job.

Any other tips for parents who are considering restarting their careers after time at home with kids?

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Excellent suggestion! I did this, though not intentionally, and have been so glad. My tip is to keep volunteering or consulting in your field if at all possible, for even the briefest periods of time, while staying home. Because it keeps the giant gap out of your resume when you return to the workforce. I've been fortunate enough to serve on staff for a non-profit in my field. The pay is nothing, but it worked as a placeholder to show action instead of inaction on my resume. ]

I agree with RG's Mama. I've been home full time with my kids for over two years now, but have kept my toe in my field through teaching a few online courses here or there. And, while you are home, it is more difficult to keep up with those resume' worthy items, since there are no annual reviews to force you to keep your data current. Do whatever it takes to get you to actually record any work you do during your absence from the FT world. I keep a digital "Resume Stuff" folder on my desktop that stares at me and reminds me to drop in quick jots about courses I'm teaching or volunteer work I'm doing, etc.

My advice would be to keep all licenses up-to-date. If you let one lapse, you may have to take classes or tests before renewing.

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