Being a stay-at-home parent is one of the most challenging roles you’ll ever undertake. You don’t need us to tell you that, of course!
Sometimes underappreciated as work, “mom-ing” helps you develop a number of pretty incredible skills at home. Don’t let anyone tell you that these skills aren’t transferable to the workplace!
For example, managing your household budget can easily transfer to budget-keeping and money management skills at work. Juggling multiple commitments and appointments is demonstrable proof of your productivity, organization, and time management skills.
But, we get it. While you may have plenty of marketable skills and qualifications, figuring out how to package all these things the right way can be hard without a little help. Besides identifying valuable skills, you also want to make sure you’re using the right format and language to appeal to recruiters, hiring managers, and clients.
Creating a professional resume is the first step toward getting back into the workforce. This document will help “sell” you to potential employers or clients by showcasing your unique skills and qualifications.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through:
- Tips for making a professional resume for stay-at-home moms
- What to include in a stay-at-home parent resume
- How a resume builder can help ease the process
- Examples of effective resume templates
Tips for making a professional resume for stay-at-home moms
Let’s get started with some tips on how to create a resume for a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) that not only gets attention but also wins jobs.
Identify the skills you gained while taking care of your kids
Remember, you’re not “just a mom” or “just a parent.” Raising kids builds and requires lots of new skills, so give yourself credit where credit is due.
Stop and think about the skills you’ve gained while “mom-ing.” If you’re unsure, maybe brainstorm with a friend who can help you assess things more objectively. List all key skills from time management and budgeting to volunteering and networking with your local mother’s group. It all counts!
Don’t forget to include hard (technical) and soft (interpersonal) skills. Identifying these skills now will help you as you tailor your resume for job applications.
Address the gaps
If you have a gap in your paid work history, be open about it in your cover letter. Explain the gap instead of leaving the employer wondering about it. An unexplained break in employment can come across as concerning.
Having a break isn’t a bad thing. Becoming a stay-at-home parent and taking time off to care for your children is a perfectly valid reason to have a break from work. Your job is to explain the employment break so future employers can see it doesn't negatively impact your ability to succeed at your role.
Write a compelling summary
A resume summary is a brief three-to-five-sentence paragraph at the top of your resume that highlights why an employer should hire you. While brief, a good resume summary should present you as a compelling candidate for the role.
Be specific about the experience you bring to the table and back it up with solid evidence (numbers or data) when possible. Show off any accomplishments that are relevant and demonstrate your suitability. Finally, instead of keeping it generic, tailor your summary to the specific job whenever possible.
If you’re creating or updating your Upwork profile, specifically, pay attention to your profile title and overview. When a potential client searches for freelancers on Upwork, the first things they see are the titles and snippets from your overview. Optimizing the title and profile overview to grab their attention is definitely a best practice you want to follow.
Research resume keywords
Hiring managers typically sort through tons of applications every day, so many of them merely skim the most relevant information. They’ll look for specific keywords or phrases from the job post.
Begin by carefully reviewing the job description and look for words under key sections such as Qualifications, Requirements, and Responsibilities. Upon listing these words, see if you possess skills and abilities that could fit them.
Using the right keywords is also important, as many companies use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to receive and sort applications quickly. An ATS will typically sort a resume based on keywords that best fit with requirements of the position.
Focus on what you can offer
Creating a stay-at-home mom resume can feel very overwhelming for some. Many parents feel like they don’t have much to offer, but this isn’t true! As we mentioned earlier, the skills and experience you gain as a parent can actually position you as a very valuable candidate for many roles.
So before you start writing your resume, change your own mindset. Instead of worrying about the gaps in your experience or what you may be lacking, focus on what you can offer.
Use language that highlights your achievements, skills, and experience. Be positive, and your confidence will show in your resume. For example,
Say: 6 years of being a stay-at-home mom have taught me key skills in time management and organization. Due to my multifarious responsibilities as a parent, I am capable of juggling and delivering on multiple tasks, deadlines and events without becoming overwhelmed.
Don’t say: 6 years of child care, chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning, birthday parties, changing diapers, and not using my brain at all.
What to include in a stay-at-home parent resume
Before we dive into what to include, let’s quickly discuss formatting. A resume should be structured well so it’s easy to read and draws attention to your skills and accomplishments.
The most common format is reverse chronological, which is familiar to most employers and recruiters. Using this format allows you to display your job history in reverse-chronological order, with your most recent job shown at the top.
Additionally, keep these key formatting tips in mind:
- Font choices: Choose a professional font in size 10 or 12. No emojis, please.
- Margins: Align your text to the left and use a standard 1-inch margin within your document.
- Length: Keep it to one (or a maximum of two) pages.
A poorly formatted resume is difficult to read. Hiring managers likely receive multiple applications for each advertised role. Without a professionally formatted resume, you risk being eliminated from the pool of potential hires.
Don’t forget to customize your resume. While it’s a good idea to have a generic resume prepared, you should personalize it for each job you’re applying for. Tailoring your resume to the job description and listing only relevant skills and information provides a higher chance of grabbing the manager’s attention.
And finally, make sure to use the keywords you’ve already researched; write using language and words that hiring managers like to see. Avoid using words or phrases that might put them off, such as cliches, fluff, and exaggerations.
Generic buzzwords and phrases such as people person, team player, loyal, dedicated, or motivated can be seen as empty. These expressions are often presented without substance and don’t really prove anything to an employer. Instead, focus on using action verbs, evidence, as well as job-relevant keywords and phrases to demonstrate your skills and expertise.
Now let’s look at some of the key elements of stay-at-home parent resumes.
The goal of your resume is for you to get an interview. For that to happen, the reviewer needs to know your name and how to contact you.
This section of your resume is purely factual and requires no creativity. Include:
- Your full name
- Phone number
- Email address
- LinkedIn/ personal website (optional)
- Current location (optional)
The work experience section of your resume will provide an informative view of your career and should connect what you’ve done in past jobs (and as a parent) to what the employer is looking for in the current job. To best represent your work experience, including the following information in your work experience section is often helpful:
- Job titles and positions
- Company name and location
- Brief description of job responsibilities and duties
- Dates of employment
The purpose of your resume is to convince someone to hire you for a position. Therefore, make sure you’re presenting your career and work experience in the best light possible. Use these four resume writing tips to ensure that your career snapshot shows hiring managers that you’re the best candidate.
Volunteer projects or personal development (if any)
As a stay-at-home mother you may not have had much workplace experience in the last few years. But many moms still continue to build skills through volunteering projects or personal development. When thinking about the skills you’ve gained, be sure to consider your volunteering experience as well.
Whether you volunteer for a local community organization or spend time helping with the school bake sale, it all helps you build skills and experience.
It’s not uncommon to learn other new skills while mom-ing as well. For example, you may have started a blog or an Instagram account to document your experience. This means you’ve probably learned how to manage content on Wordpress or how to optimize your content on Instagram for maximum exposure and engagement. This counts!
Earlier we discussed identifying skills you’ve gained as a stay-at-home mom. Refer to this master list when putting together this section of your resume.
Make sure to tailor your skills list specifically to the job position. Even if you’re proficient at a certain skill, exclude it if it isn’t relevant to the job. Be sure to list only relevant abilities that will boost your qualifications for the position.
It’s always a good idea to supplement your hard skills with proficiency and experience levels. For every hard skill you add, classify it based on expertise (beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert). Always be honest about your skill levels—misleading your potential employers never works in the long run.
Don’t forget to include universal soft skills. These are skills that you can apply to almost every job. Having these skills is often considered convenient for a team or independent work environment, and chances are these additional skills can complement the primary skill requirements of the job you’re applying for.
If you need help figuring out which skills to include, check out Upwork’s list of the top skills to put on your resume.
Education and certifications
List all your education information in reverse-chronological order, just as you would in the work experience section. This lets employers see the most relevant information at the top. If you have a master’s or bachelor’s degree, make sure to list it first.
Break down additional certifications, training and online courses under their own sub-section. This is your opportunity to showcase external certifications that match the job description and highlight any non-traditional or continued education.
You may also be interested in:
- Top 17 Digital Marketing Certifications To Advance Your Career
- Top 30 IT Certifications To Advance Your Career
- Top Web Design Courses To Improve Your Design Skills
How a resume builder can help ease the process
A good resume is one that effectively presents your professional experience to recruiters and hiring managers. To do so, follow the STAR format. STAR stands for:
S: Situation. The situation i.e. the context for your contributions.
T: Task. The specific task you carried out.
A: Action. The strategy and actions you employed to execute the above task.
R: Result. The accomplishment that resulted due to you applying the above strategy.
The STAR format is helpful for establishing how and why your contributions and accomplishments mattered for a particular role.
Of course, starting a resume from scratch can feel like a daunting process. Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic resume builders on the market that can make this process a lot easier for you. They will also help you present your resume in the STAR format to give you the best chance of grabbing the recruiter’s attention.
A good resume builder provides examples and templates to inspire you to create a job-winning resume of your own. These resume and cover letter builders often include expert advice from human resource professionals as valuable guidance. Templates make building resumes and cover letters simple, letting you customize and fine-tune starting drafts until they’re exactly what you want, while saving lots of time and effort.
Here are three recommendations.
Zety is easy to use, has intuitive navigation, is extremely customizable, and offers plenty of advice. Use its content builders to create a resume and cover letter from scratch in a process that takes only minutes.
As you build your new resume with Zety (or update an existing resume), you’ll have access to a wide variety of professional templates and get context-sensitive tips from professional recruiters to help you look your best professionally. You can also optimize your files with various editing tools, such as deciding which style of bullet points looks best.
Pricing: While job seekers can build resumes on Zety for free, you’ll pay a fee if you want to download that file in different formats and have access to the service’s full range of features. You can get a 14-day trial with full access for $2.70. After the trial, you’ll pay $23.70 a month or can prepay $71.40 for the year.
Boasting excellent Trustpilot scores and a certain swagger (“Get the job you’ve been dreaming of”), ResumeLab has flexible editing tools and unlimited PDF downloads. TXT and Microsoft Word downloads are also available.
The service also provides a quick, intuitive creation process, advice from professional resume writers, and real-time and interactive document previews. You can customize the resume template section order or skill rating icons.
Pricing: Get a 14-day trial subscription for $2.70 for full access to the site’s products and services. This turns into an ongoing subscription of $24.70 per month and lets you create unlimited resumes. You also have access to career advice articles to help with your job hunt.
Resume Now features more than 64,000 resume examples to provide inspiration and resume designs for different experience levels, jobs, and industries. You can download your document in a variety of resume formats or use the service’s mobile app if that’s how you want to create your document.
There are a variety of templates and job-specific examples to review and make use of. Editing documents and customizing sections is also easy. Plus, you can utilize various cover letter writing tools and other job resources.
Pricing: Resume Now has a limited 14-day trial plan for $2.45 or a 14-day full access trial plan for $2.95. Both plans roll over to a monthly billing of $23.85 if you don’t cancel. If you wish, you can get a resume review by a professional resume analyst in one to two business days for $19.95.
For any resume builder, be sure to cancel your subscription when you get a job or no longer need to use the service so you won’t continue to be billed.
Examples of effective resume templates and samples for stay-at-home moms
Using a template can be a great starting point for your resume. Whether you’re rejoining the workforce in the same field, planning a career change or needing some help listing your professional skills, check out the samples below for a little extra help creating your resume.
Note: These samples aren’t presented in full, but suggest snippets of different sections of a resume.
1. Stay-at-home mom returning to work resume
The following is a sample of a resume for a stay-at-home mom who is looking for a new role in the same field she worked in before becoming a mother.
Bree Van De Kamp, Administrative Assistant
Organized, detail-oriented administrative assistant with 15+ years experience providing support to senior executives. Seeking a position that leverages my administrative skills and experience
2015 - current | Stay-at-home mom | Andrew (age 7), Danielle (age 6)
- Created and managed the budget for a household of two adults and two kids; including paying bills and identifying opportunities for cost savings.
- Created and managed a Facebook group of 300+ local stay-at-home parents, including coordinating charitable giveaways, monthly events, organizing crisis support, sending out biweekly newsletters and more.
- Volunteered with Neighborhood Women’s Charity to promote donation drives and coordinate all incoming donations. Increased year-on-year donations by 20%.
2007 - 2015 | Executive Assistant to CEO | Wisteria Lane Productions
- Provided ongoing administrative support to the CEO of a leading production company, driving improvements in daily operations.
- Served as the primary point of contact for all phone calls, emails and other communications directed to the CEO. Addressed a variety of issues and concerns.
- Managed the CEO’s professional and personal calendar, coordinating meetings, appointments, family commitments, events, and more.
Why it works
Bree does not hide her stay-at-home mom years. Instead, she includes it in the experience section of her resume to highlight the skills and experience she gained during this time.
This section explains the gap in her career but it doesn’t make any excuses. In fact, it appeals to recruiters, hiring managers, and employers by “speaking” to them in a language that’s familiar to them.
2. Career change resume summary
Below is an example of a resume summary you can write if you’re looking to switch tracks and make a career change.
Experienced operations and office management professional. Detail-oriented and process-driven. Pro at juggling and coordinating multiple vendors, suppliers, and staff to ensure “the office runs itself” (as one senior manager put it). Seeking a role as a virtual assistant for a successful online business that needs someone to take the reins, coordinate projects, and ensure day-to-day operations function smoothly.
Why it works
The resume summary above highlights the applicant’s existing skills, while also illustrating why these skills are relevant for the advertised position (virtual assistant). For career changers, it’s important to present your transferable skills in a marketable way so hiring managers don’t need to think too hard about why they should want to hire you.
3. Work-from-home mom resume
If you’re looking for a role that allows you to work remotely, it’s important you prove you can work from home.
2018 - current Freelance content writer Self-employed
- Built a remote content writing business, working with multiple global clients that generates $45,000 annually, working part-time
- Worked from home, managing multiple clients. Set up project management systems to stick to my “always deliver early” deadline motto
- Created blogs, newsletters, and ebooks for one client that led to a 45% increase in email signups
- Delivered four pieces of content (2500 to 3500 words each) weekly
Why it works
If you’re looking for a remote role, you’ll need to highlight why you’re well suited for a work-from-home position. While your qualifications for the role matter, you must also be able to demonstrate your soft skills as a remote worker—which is what the above example does.
Search for a professional resume expert on Upwork
Resume builders can be very handy for creating and formatting your new resume. But what if you have absolutely no idea where to begin? This is where some personalized help from a professional resume writer may be in order.
You don’t need to rely on cookie-cutter templates to do the job for you. A professional resume creator will take the time to understand your personal situation and help you identify your key skills, package your accomplishments, and ultimately put together a resume that wins jobs.