Resume Assistance: Years spent as a SAHM

I am updating my resume and putting down the decade plus at home as a domestic engineer, apparently isn’t going to fly in The Real World.

How do I stylize my words?

I don’t think you can. Wouldn’t it be something that would fit better into a cover letter: “I have spent the previous 10 years raising my children and am now looking to re-enter the workforce.”

I guess that might fit in the resume in a career objective or introduction of some sort too.

“Freelancer” works pretty well. I hired a girl that was a teacher, then 8 years “freelancing” to just become a legal secretary with no experience in the field. She said that she put it down because it’s not like she didn’t want to NEVER go back to work, she just wanted to wait until her kids were in school all day.

Honesty is the most important thing. If you were involved in outside activities, like PTA or town functions, put that down. Otherwise, just say what you did without being embarrassed about it. There are going to be lots of people who will think you were lucky and giving to stay home with kids. There will be no one who won’t think “domestic engineer” is anything but bull.

Anyhow, the most important thing to show in your resume is how you can help whatever company you apply to make more money, and how you can demonstrate you can do the job better than other applicants. Perhaps you have some good stories about how you organized and scheduled a bunch of kids - not that much different from organizing a bunch of co-workers. Kids are a bit noisier, but they listen better.

this is what I have had on my resume:

Established schedules, meet deadlines, and simultaneously co-ordinate several diverse task. Also was accountable for the control and disbursement of an annual budget. Trained, instructed, and directed two junior associates, whose development was under my jurisdiction, in a wide variety of skills. Hired a variety of professionals, including electrician, physician, decorators, and babysitters
I would love to put on there that my Junior associates are 3.8-4.0 students and captains of their respective sports. :slight_smile:

So you’re just glossing over the watching soap operas and eating Bon-bons parts? :wink:

Cute, but I think this will go over much better if you hand this resume to someone rather than mail it or post it.

FWIW, I have a job in the real world that is wearing itself thin right now. I am updating my resume and have been told by someone who sees alot of resumes and has helped alot of people find jobs that the domestic engineer part is too humorous and junk.

I think you should leave that out of your resume. What have you done recently that’s professionally relevant? Have you taken some sort of professional development course? Done some freelancing or consulting? A substantial volunteer commitment that is in some way related to the job you’re seeking? Those are things that could go on your resume to indicate that your application hasn’t just spent the past 10 years lost in the mail.

Speaking as someone who is a mom, has the greatest respect for SAHMs, and sometimes is involved in hiring people, I’d say leave it off (and please, whatever you do, do not use the term Domestic Engineer… that’s not even… what?) – a quick mention that this is what you did for ten years (like Leaffan suggested) will suffice. People will understand, and if they don’t you don’t want to work for that company anyway, since they won’t be respectful of your parenthood.

Ten-year gap for raising two kids? I’ll assume you have mad skills in organization and training (especially if you speak to that in an interview). But if I saw “Domestic Engineer” I would throw that resume away without a second look. Seriously.

Ah. I assumed you were transitioning from SAHM to work - given that you are working, you’ve probably overcome 95% of uncertainty someone might have.
Nick the Headhunter says that it is best to get a job without a resume, in that if you can network enough you get interest in you first. The resume then becomes a token used by HR to get all the paperwork filled out. I’m not sure it works for everyone, but I have gotten interest without a resume, and a few years back another group hired someone who networked with me in this way.

If that’s a verbatim quote, your entire resume needs a careful edit. The verb tenses are all over the place and there are other errors as well. I am not a person who chucks a resume over one typo, but every action verb in a list should be in the same tense, and verbs and nouns should agree in number.

Established schedules, met deadlines, and simultaneously co-ordinated several diverse tasks. Also was accountable for the control and disbursement of an annual budget. Trained, instructed, and directed two junior associates, whose development was under my jurisdiction, in a wide variety of skills. Hired a variety of professionals, including an electrician and a physician, as well as decorators and babysitters.

That said, it’s indescribably twee and coy and I would not include it in a resume. And “junior associates” just sounds like a lame lie, that really doesn’t reflect well on you.

Thanks for the input.

Well, I’m a bit of a bag, but I turfed a resume with something similar to this just because it irritated me. Getting your kids to soccer practice on time isn’t the same as getting a $4,000,000 grant done on time.

I would skip it - most people will figure it out and if they don’t they will ask. I would list any volunteer positions you had during that time (kid’s school, your church, whatever), but don’t try to turn being a SAHM into a being a CEO. They’re both fine things to be doing but they’re not the same.

Not necessarily. There are a lot of idiots with kids.

The problem with having a ten year gap isn’t that you were raising kids. It’s that you are competing with people who have that same time period filled with work experience.

No matter what you’ve been doing - SAHM, surfing, volunteering, in rehab, caring for an elderly parent, writing the Great American Novel - using silly dressed-up terminology to describe your activities is easy to see through and quite off-putting. State what you did in simple, dignified language and be done with it.

In the case of the SAHM, there is also a particular risk, because the people reading your resume may very well have been managing the schedules of three kids AND working full-time. They will not be impressed to hear that you managed to juggle T-ball and soccer schedules plus doctor’s appointments when they did that too, at the same time they were dealing with a crappy boss, an intractable employee, an unrealistic deadline, and continuously learning the technology/terminology required by their discipline.

Even if the person reading your resume is childless, you don’t really think you are going to educate them on what skills are needed to be a parent through anything you say on your resume, do you? Either they get it, and will appreciate your effort, or they won’t. Two lines on your CV about your child-related time-management skills will not change their perceptions.

There is nothing wrong with being a SAHM. You must believe that or you wouldn’t have done it. Like any choice in life, choosing to be a SAHM comes with consequences, one of which is that you almost certainly will re-enter the workforce at a lower pay and grade level than people of your age and education who stayed in the workforce.Whether or not that’s fair is beside the point - that’s the way it is. If your years as a SAHM imparted particular skills that will be valuable on the job, get to work, demonstrate it, and hope for a promotion/pay raise because you’ve demonstrated to your employer that you are worth it.

Since this is the IMHO forum, then in my IMHO I’d leave it out. See if the person reading your resume is smart enough to pick up that you have a work gap! If you’re nervous about doing that, I can think of some alternatives:
[li]Put it in a cover letter[/li][li]Write an entry that’s just like the other entries in your resume. Be a bit cute, but also remind your reader that being a SAHM isn’t that different from managing a group of SW engineers.[/li][/ul]

A sensible employer is going to be concerned about the freshness of your knowledge. Be honest with yourself about this. If you need refresher courses, or if you need to start back at a lower level, try to do so.

I have faith that nearly all the barriers we encounter in life are ones that we put in front of ourselves. Accept your choice to be a SAHM as one that was right or necessary or both, and then be ready to explain why.

Sorry for the hijack Shirley but: does the age of the kids effect how the gap is perceived?

This friend is correct. Just mention your actual employment experience. Don’t worry about the gap on your resume. If you absolutely have to, just mention it briefly in your cover. Unless the SAHM-time was 20 years ago now, then just skip it.

The group I manage is hiring right now, and while I don’t do the grunt work of weeding resumes any more I do ask about the outliers. While discussing the potential candidates a woman who had done just what you suggested - i.e. “managed budgets, scheduled appointments, chauffeured clients” - got a big fat rolleyes from us all. She wasn’t qualified for other reasons, but I want to hire people who are savvy enough to know that kind of cuteness doesn’t fly.

And my group’s last 3 hires were SAHM re-entering the workforce; we are the most sympathetic audience possible.

Please just list your employment and relevant experience.

Certainly mention it to explain large gaps between jobs, but don’t try to dress it up. And be sure to mention any activities that you’ve done which illustrate skill sets that might help you land the job you are seeking. Volunteer boards (e.g. Girl Scouts, your church, your kid’s school) can be used to illustrate leadership.

For instance, I was the Treasurer for my children’s pre-school. Even though it was a laughably small budget, it still illustrated that I had a basic understanding of how budgets work. I brought samples of reports that I had run, which the Board used to approve or reject proposed improvements.

Get yourself up to speed with the latest technology in the field you are pursuing. For instance, if you’re looking at working in an office, upgrade to the latest versions of Word at home now so that you can familiarize yourself with it, and list that you are adept at it, on your resume. FYI, Office 2003 is quite different from 2007, and you don’t want to have to learn a new software package when you’re trying to prove yourself in the first few weeks.