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Editorial
Need a Resume for a Stay at Home Mom Returning to Work? Here Are 10 Mistakes to Avoid
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Rachel Montañez
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I help you ditch career burnout and boredom.
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You don’t get a second chance with your resume. It’s important to immediately impress potential employers with your skills and values. Even though a resume is a crucial step to getting an interview, we don’t always seek out experts to help us get it right.

You’ve got tons of skills, and leaving it up to a friend that’s doing great in his/her career and is fab at English just doesn’t cut it. Recruiters and hiring managers have to get through hundreds of resumes in a short time. Research shows they spend anywhere from just six seconds to a mere minute on a single resume. You don't want the type of resume that gets tossed.

Avoid these 10 things if you want to get to the interview stage:

1. Are you listing your job as a stay-at-home parent?

Mama, I know it isn’t an easy job. Not many women can do it, and you’ve done a great job. The point of a resume is to get to an interview, and you need to show that your recent employment adds to your ability to bring a company money and success. 

2. Are you putting all the juicy stuff in the top 1/3 of your resume?

We live in an attention-deficient age. The top third of your resume is your key real estate. Use it wisely. If you don’t get the employer interested in interviewing you in the top section of your resume, you’ll lose out.

3. Are you embellishing the truth because you can’t remember?

It can be hard to remember all the ins and outs of our employment if we’ve been working as a stay-at-home parent. Don’t embellish the truth. You may get caught in an interview or if the recruiter or hiring manager does any searching. Besides the chances of getting caught, you have your integrity at stake — character is priceless. Low-ball it if you can’t find out a way to source the information you need. 

4. Are you following current resume trends?

The world of careers and recruitment moves fast. You don’t need to include “references available on request,” your address (the city is enough), or employment with a start date more than 15 years ago. If you have a LinkedIn profile, which you should, make sure to include it in the header of your resume. A Jobvite social recruiting survey found that 93 percent of recruiters search your online profiles before they offer you an interview.

5. Do you have too many words selling your skills?

It takes skill, practice, and experience to understand what does and doesn’t work on a resume. Writing a resume is your chance to show what you think, feel, and value about your professional life. I know caring for a little one can be taxing and we don’t usually have time to reflect on our achievements, but try to aim for less than 23 words in a sentence. Make sure your key resume sentences are simple to understand and around 15 words. 

6. Have you listed your duties?

Recruiters want to see what you’ve achieved and how you added value to the company because this shows why you are right for the job. Client or customer growth, revenue increases, and budget savings are easy to quantify. Show off those precious resume diamonds by quantifying your accomplishments and duties.

7. Are you missing specific skills?

Classes, conferences, or any relevant certifications, professional affiliations, and language skills show that you actively engage in your professional development. These are great skills you can't afford to leave off your resume.

8. Are you using the right resume format?

Using a functional resume tends to lead to “I’m hiding something” as it doesn’t include dates. The best type of resume for you would be more of a combination between showing your skills and core proficiencies and a chronological format. In the “Executive Summary” section, highlight the work that makes you a star and show why you can completely nail it in the job you’re applying for. In your “Core Proficiencies” section, outline the things you know how to do and then list your career history starting with the most recent job.

9. Are you valuing unpaid work?

You need to value it, Mama. Describe any volunteer work using powerful action words just as you would for paid work. You can also include freelance and contract work too.

10. Have you included words and skills listed in the job role?

This is a proven technique. You'll want to use the most powerful words and skills listed in the job specification. I’ve mastered it and have seen the results it’s yielded over the years.

If you need more help, here's more on how to write a resume.

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Rachel Montanez is a career coach and career development speaker. Check out her website here and connect on LinkedIn here.

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