Got a big gap in your work history? So does Gail. She spent the last eight years taking care of her aging parents. Maybe Gail's resume solution will help you figure out what to do on your resume.
Gail worked with Christy Seawall, a professional resume writer on my team. Here are the emails between Gail and Christy where they discuss how to deal with Gail's job gap.
Big Gap in Work History on My Resume
I've been out of the work force since 2004. My parents needed help and I was there for them. They have both passed away now and I am ready to get back to work. I have worked in office settings and that is what I would like to do again.
My main concern is what do I put on a resume as to what I have been doing since 2004? If you have any suggestion I would appreciate it.
3 Ways to Fill a Work History Gap on Your Resume
How wonderful that you were able to spend that time with your parents helping them in their final years. The transition back into the workforce is a big one. Let's take a look at how you can fill that employment gap and create an up-to-date image on your resume.
1. Upgrade Your Skills
While caring for your parents, did you do anything to upgrade your professional skills? If so, be sure to list that under Education on your resume, and you might also use it as a "job title" in your Experience section. For example:
Student, ABC Certification Program, XYZ School
If you haven't been upgrading your skills, consider doing that so that you can put something recent and relevant (such as a class, training, or even a certification) on your resume. An easy way to learn what skills you need to update is to read job postings for the types of positions you're interested in. Do they mention skills you don't have or need to update? If so, enroll in training asap so you can put it on your resume.
2. Volunteer Work
Other than caring for your parents, is there anything else you did during this eight-year period? Did you do any relevant office volunteer work (for your church, community, or other organization) that can be used to fill in the gap? If so, treat that volunteer work as you would a job, pulling out relevant skills and focusing on your accomplishments and the contributions you made.
3. List Your Care Giving
If your training and volunteer work don't completely fill your eight-year gap, list your care giving work for the remaining span of time. For example:
Caregiver for aging parents, 2004-2012
You Have Resume Options
If you decide to put care giving as your most recent job on your resume, perhaps you should then target organizations that would value your care giving experience. For example, look for administrative positions with elder care organizations, visiting nurse organizations, geriatric doctors' offices, nursing homes, etc.
Although you are interested in working in an office setting, perhaps a good way to move back into the workforce would be as a caregiver to the elderly. If you do this, you would want to expand on the caregiver section of your resume to highlight what you did for your parents. For example: Coordinated doctor's visits: ensured proper follow-up of doctor's instructions; communicated with family members to facilitate the best care; assisted with daily tasks such as food preparation, household maintenance, and running errands.
Wishing you the best in your re-entry into the workforce. Let us know how it all goes!
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