It’s not you, mama – it’s your resume. Check out these Top 10 SAHM Resume Mistakes, learn how to FIX them, improve your resume, & get the job you want!
“I’ve been looking for jobs for months now. What gives? Why am I not getting any response to all the resumes and applications I’ve sent out?”
Well, friend, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not you — it’s your resume.
You were a stay-at-home mom for YEARS — awesome, precious years you would never in a MILLION years trade for anything else! — and your career was the last thing on your mind. Then, suddenly it was time to go back to work. Your kids are grown. Finances became too tight to continue surviving on one income. Or, you find yourself unexpectedly having to single parent those beautiful babies.
We never want to think the unthinkable can happen, but I’ve gotten so many emails from Scattered Woman Crew members explaining how their husbands lost their jobs, up and left, or even died under tragic circumstances. The only way for their family to survive is for them to go back to work.
But they have NO IDEA how to go about finding a job. Their resume is over a decade old, collecting dust on a floppy disk at the back of the filing cabinet. (They think…)
The biggest hurdle to most SAHMs finding the job they want or need is their resume. So, before you find yourself in similar circumstances, let’s talk about the top 10 mistakes SAHMs — just like you — are making on their resumes, so YOU can avoid them!The biggest hurdle to most Stay-at-Home Moms' finding the job they want or need is their resume. So, before you find yourself in similar circumstances, let’s talk about the top 10 SAHM Resume Mistakes, and how you how to AVOID them! Click To Tweet
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SAHM Resume Mistake #1: Not utilizing your time at home to boost your marketability.
I’ve talked about the need for SAHMs to Work on Your Resume NOW! several times before, but this point cannot be overstated. Yes, we LOVE being home with our babies. We find fulfillment there, and we want to soak up every precious minute we get with them while they’re little.
I SO get it.
And at the same time, we know our little ones won’t be little forever. Eventually, they’ll grow up, and it will be time for us to go back to work. Or, God forbid, something should happen to our husbands, and we would be responsible for providing for those babies. Our time at home is not guaranteed, so we need to keep our careers in the back of our minds and be looking for ways to boost our marketability for when we want or need to return to work.
SAHM Resume Mistake #2: Believing you have done nothing of career value during your time at home.
Oh, friend. Stop believing this lie right now. You HAVE done things of career value! SAHMs next to NEVER just sit around all day and do nothing for 20 years.
You’ve served at church or on the PTA, you’ve had side-hustles, you’ve homeschooled your kids and been involved in co-ops, etc. All of those “things” you’ve done with and for your kiddos — and even for yourself — can combine together to make a beautiful Mosaic Life that points the way to a fulfilling new career.
SAHM Resume Mistake #3: Not keeping track of volunteer, freelance, or part-time gigs while at home.
Maybe you have been hustling and thinking about going back to work someday. But you didn’t write any of it down.
This is where busy mamas get tripped up: documentation. (Seriously, has ANYBODY out there actually completed baby books for ALL their kids?!)
Let me tell you from resume-writing experience: when the pressure to write a resume is on, it is really hard to remember quantitative details about that PTA fundraiser you ran five years ago. How many people did you lead/supervise? How much money did you raise? What percentage more did you bring in compared to the year(s) before?
All those numbers can make a HUGE difference on a resume to prove to employers that your time at home was valuable not only to you, but to them! It is SUPER important to write down everything you can remember about every little freelance gig, part-time job, or volunteer opportunity you have throughout your time as a SAHM.
You can learn more about how to keep track of all that documentation easily with a Mom Master Resume in this post:
SAHM Resume Mistake #4: Believing you have to meet 100% of requirements on job postings before you can apply.
Women in general are notorious for not applying for jobs unless they meet 100% of the requirements listed on the job posting. Newsflash: YOU DON’T!
Not surprisingly, men typically don’t care if they meet even half the stated requirements. They apply and bluff their way through! (Don’t take it from me — check out Hardball for Women by Dr. Pat Heim. This book is SUPER enlightening when it comes to gender differences in the workplace! I wrote more about what I learned from Dr. Heim in this post.)
Here’s the bottomline: if you meet 75-80% of the requirements, apply! If you don’t meet that much, but you do know someone in authority at the company, apply!
Take the pieces that DO apply to you from the job posting and focus your resume and cover letter around your strengths there. Most of the time you don’t have address the pieces you’re lacking until the actual interview. Focus on just getting your foot in the door first!
SAHM Resume Mistake #5: Assuming employment gaps won’t be noticed.
They will. I promise. HR professionals are trained to look for employment gaps because employers still believe those gaps mean the employee is a risky hire, although this practice is slowly beginning to change in the US thanks to influence from other countries.
It’s OUR job to show them we are NOT a hiring risk!
Check out this post on my top 4 Resume Tips to Tackle the SAHM Employment Gap for more info on how to handle that gap on your resume WELL!
SAHM Resume Mistake #6: Using the wrong template.
Most templates are not designed with the SAHM in mind, and that employment gap we talked about above can be even MORE pronounced if we use the wrong resume. Be sure to check out the post mentioned above, so you know the best things to look for in a SAHM resume template. Or, just grab my FREE SAHM Resume Template & Tip Sheet, so you know your template won’t be a problem. 🙂
SAHM Resume Mistake #7: Using an objective.
When most of us were still working outside the home, using an objective statement at the top of our resume was the industry standard. However, it is not anymore!
Objective statements are out and “profile statements” or “summary sections” are in. To make sure you know the difference and how to write an awesome NON-objective statement for your SAHM resume, check out my post on How to Write a Killer Summary Section.
SAHM Resume Mistake #8: Focusing solely on responsibilities.
Speaking of passé resume trends, paragraph summaries of every responsibility for every job we had way back when are no longer necessary or helpful.
Today’s employers want to know not just what you were responsible for but what you accomplished. If you need some guidance on exactly what that looks like for you, hop over to this post:
SAHM Resume Mistake #9: Trying to DIY it without professional guidance or feedback.
I’m definitely a do-it-yourself kind of woman, so believe me when I say that your resume is one project you should NOT attempt without professional guidance or feedback. Even if you want to write your own resume (which I actually do recommend), it is a REALLY good idea to send your finished draft to a resume writer or career coach for feedback.
Sometimes, industry standards change. Or a certain field may demand a different resume format from the standard. Or you just might not know how to best demonstrate that you are in fact exactly what this employer is looking for. And sometimes we’re just not the best proofreader for that documents we’ve spent hours and hours staring at. 😬
Whatever the reason, please DO get feedback on your resume from a professional. If you’re worried about money, getting a resume reviewed is a cheaper option than having a resume written for you. And when you factor in the time and lost income that comes with repeated failed applications, investing a small amount in a resume review to make sure your application is a success — the price is a STEAL!
If you need feedback on your SAHM resume, I’d love to help you. Contact me for a free quote!
You can ALSO join our free Career Help Facebook group to get support from other mamas going through the same thing you are — plus, you get expert resume writing and career search help and feedback from me, as well!
SAHM Resume Mistake #10: Hiring a Resume Writer, but not being intimately involved in the process.
Perhaps you read through the 6 Times You Need a Resume Writer and decided you’d rather shorten your job search time by investing in a professionally written resume. Let me give you one word of advice: PLEASE be intimately involved in the resume writing process with your resume writer!
The goal of having someone else write your resume is to make sure you’re putting your BEST foot forward, even if writing resumes is NOT your forte. However, what good is a super polished resume if, once you get into an interview situation, you totally blow it by not know what your resume claims about you and your accomplishments?
Not much good at all, since there’s little chance you’ll get the job if it looks like you’ve lied about your experience. 😬
So, when your resume writer asks you to look over your resume draft and make sure everything looks good, be sure to REALLY read it and make sure everything is accurate — not overstated, and not downplaying an accomplishment you feel strongly is a good selling point for you.
Once you get your final draft, be sure to spend some time becoming intimately acquainted with its contents. You need to know your resume like the back of your hand in order to answer interview questions and be able to use the same language to describe your skills and accomplishments. Even though someone else wrote it, make sure it still SOUNDS like YOU!
Which of these SAHM resume mistakes might YOU be guilty of?
I hope after reading through this list that you will be guilty of NONE of these mistakes when your time comes to return to the workforce!
If you’re a mama in the midst of a SAHM job search, what tip is the most valuable for you? What other tips would you give mamas heading into the job hunt soon? Tell us in the comments!
As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.