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Ask Asa: Resume Tips For Stay-At-Home Parents

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If you are unemployed, you know it's a jobless jungle out there. To help you navigate the unemployment terrain, NY1's Employment reporter Asa Aarons has answers to some viewers' questions.

Kathy from New York writes:

My child just started kindergarten and I would like to return to work at least part time. Do you think putting "Stay-At-Home-Mom" on a resume is a good idea?

Kathy, employment experts I spoke with all agree that can be a tricky one. The challenges of being a stay-at-home parent can prepare you for a number of jobs including in-house accountant, maintenance and appliance repair person, plumber, chauffeur, cook and first aid tech -- just to name a few.

The consensus among employment experts is if you list "Stay-At-Home" parent on your resume you should include a brief, serious job description. It's not a place to put descriptions like "kitchen goddess extraordinaire." Being a parent is a serious responsibility and should be treated as such. Some advised -- in addition to your basic activities list -- anything else you did with organizing fundraisers at school or even class trips. All of these things count as experience, paid or not.

I know of one woman returning after a few years of parenting who received resistance from employers who would say things about her being out of the business loop. She turned the argument on its ear by showing she was now in the consumer loop, and in tune with what buyers wanted.

She was in touch with effective packaging and which size bag of rice or oatmeal would work best for a family. She wound up consulting for companies based on her expertise as a home maker.

If you don't want to go that far and just want to explain a gap in your resume, one way to do it is by listing your places of employment. In your cover letter, state simply you've spent the last few years as a stay-at-home parent and want to return to outside employment.

Most of all, do not succumb to feeling second rate because you have less business experience due to your absence. Whether you were parenting at home for two years or 20 it remains one the most important jobs a person can ever do, with results and repercussions that will project far into the future.

Ask Asa

If you have an employment story, a job, a new interview technique, or something you want to share with those looking for work or those doing the hiring, contact Asa Aarons at askasa@ny1.com.

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