When you decide to return to the world of work after not having worked for a while when you have been taking care of your children, it can all feel extremely overwhelming indeed. Whether it is out of financial necessity or because you feel that for you personally, it is the right time to look for a job, you will usually have a considerable gap in your CV. Many worry unnecessarily about how to address the gaps when it comes to interview time as they fear that it may be seen as a disadvantage by a prospective employer. However, with the correct strategies, you can present your caregiving experiences as valuable assets that can be utilised in a positive way.
When you are spending much of your time with your own children from birth to perhaps starting nursery or infant school, you quickly develop many skills such as empathy which can be useful for many jobs.
Just think of the number of times where you have had to intervene in various disputes, deal with tantrums, having to explain things in a calm way, teaching and playing etc. You have cared for, nurtured and kept safe, a baby as well as juggled other responsibilities including your own needs. The abilities that parents learn while raising their children are highly significant and most are familiar with communications, multi-tasking, organisational skills, time management and problem solving just to name a few, without them even being aware! By highlighting these transferable skills on your CV, you can demonstrate how your capabilities are relevant to various roles for which you apply.
Often, parents who have young children are able to volunteer their time in a way that is related to their children's activities. Many volunteer and are most welcome,in nurseries, schools or in community organisations. These experiences can prove your dedication, commitment and initiative and will undoubtedly teach new skills. Included in your CV, this is also a good way of bridging the gap and showcases your continued focus on personal and professional growth.
When caring for your own children, there are often courses and workshops available as well as online courses which you can do when it suits you. Acquiring certificates or learning new skills can be emphasised on a CV and highlights your proactive approach to learning.
While not everyone is able to do volunteer work or attend various courses, you still fill your time with meaningful activities. Consider including relevant activities such as any freelance projects you may have embarked on or even personal accomplishments such as gardening or diy skills.
For anyone entering work after a break, strong professional networks are essential. Former colleagues, mentors, and other useful professionals should not be underestimated as they can provide guidance, advice, support and potential job opportunities.
Overcoming and filling in the gaps left in your CV due to childcare responsibilities will require a thoughtful approach with an effective presentation of your skills and responsibilities. By utilising your transferable skills, highlighting volunteer work and filling gaps with personal / professional development as well as using your professional support network to your advantage, you can present a highly impressive CV which will enhance your job prospects.