Resume writing for those re-entering the workforce after an extended absence is different than writing for someone who has been consistently employed for a number of years. No matter the reason for the absence, potential employers will sometimes notice gaps in employment history; do not let this be a reason for them not to choose you, or at least offer you an interview. You can minimize these gaps, or if needed use your cover letter to offer a succinct explanation about your absence and how eager you are to re-enter the workforce. Here are a few suggestions on how to minimize, include, or even capitalize on your time away from employment.
Though chronological resumes are the most common, this style is not the best in this circumstance; a functional or skills-based one allows you to direct the attention towards your skills and abilities rather than focusing on the times that you were not employed (in the traditional sense). This type begins, as all do, with contact information and an objective statement; after that, however, instead of a listing of previous work experience, you should write one or two short paragraphs about the skills that you have used during your time away. For example, if you were president of the PTA, a member of a planning committee, or even a room parent, you can include transferable skills that you gained from those experiences.
Certain industries do not accept functional or skills resumes. Do some investigative work before writing one. Not all employers do the math or notice employment gaps. You can also use only years without months on your chronological resume. This will rarely count against you. I personally have never turned down interviewing a qualified candidate who did this.
Something you should keep in mind while you are not traditionally employed is that any continuing education that you can get will help you should you plan to re-enter the working world at some point. If you know that, for example, you will go back to work when all of your children are in school, taking classes or keeping current on information relating to your chosen career will demonstrate to potential employers that you not out of the loop.
Resume writing for those who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time does not have to be daunting; the key is to focus attention away from gaps in employment and on to you and your qualifications. Focus on writing accomplishments statements that make you shine.
Using power words when writing accomplishment statements can help you stand out from the crowd and get interviews. A great source for creating these statements and resume writing is the ResumeDictionary.com. The dictionary contains power words and actual example statements. This article is copyright 2010 Phil Baker.