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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

Ask a Recruiter: How Do I Convince Employers to Overlook My Resume Gap and Hire Me?

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Dear Recruiter,

I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for about 12 years now; I was a financial analyst before I left the workforce. I did a part-time stint as a cross country coach at my kids’ school for about five years, but other than that, I’ve been busy with my kids and home.

I don’t feel as though my brain has atrophied though; I feel as though I could be up to speed within a few days of hiring! I would love to get back to being a financial analyst, but would really like to find something where I can work from home. How do I get the point across that my brain is engaged and ready to go and that I’m not a risk?

Ready to Return

Hi Ready to Return,

Re-entering the workforce after time off is a very exciting step! Returning to the office can seem really daunting, but with the right preparation, you’ll be back at it in no time.

I understand you’re looking to jump back into finance—it’s great that you already know what you want to do. That said, I think it would be helpful to first take a step back and think about this some more. Since it’s been 12 years since you worked in finance, you may find you’re not as interested in it as you once were, so exploring options is wise.

Your main concern is proving to hiring managers that you’re able to hit the ground running even though you haven’t been employed for a while. My recommendation here is to brush up on your skills before you line up any interviews to make sure you’re up-to-date on industry news and trends.

The more confident you feel, the better you’ll be able to sell yourself. You may also want to consider looking for a returnship, an internship designed specifically for people like you. (If you’re unconvinced, this success story oughta make you re-think that.)

Next, let’s talk about how to find the right role. Since you’d ideally prefer to work from home, you’ll need to refine your search to roles that are remote. Now, more than ever before, there are a ton of opportunities available for remote workers. If it works with your personal schedule, you also may want to also consider roles that offer flexibility but maybe aren’t 100% remote.

While you’re searching, network as much as you can. You can start small by reaching out to former managers or colleagues who may know of relevant opportunities. If you’re unsure of what to say, this email template does all the hard work for you.

Once you’ve found a few roles that pique your interest, you’ll want to:

1. Update Your Resume to Showcase Your Skills in the Right Way

Don’t discount your time spent as a coach! Any part-time jobs or volunteer work are relevant and should be included there. If you’re unsure how to go about it, career coach Jenny Foss offers excellent advice for creating an attention-grabbing comeback resume.

2. Craft an Amazing Cover Letter

This is your chance to demonstrate some personality. Feel free to include things that aren’t obvious on your resume—like how you’re ready to hit the ground running in your next job, in spite of time away from the professional world.

3. Beef Up Your Professional Presence

It doesn’t have you be a huge undertaking; in fact, 30 minutes will elevate your Linkedin profile to a new level.

If you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry, that’s normal! Start your job-search process one step at a time. There are lots of people who have successfully come back to work after time off. I’m confident that you’ll be joining their ranks soon.

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Real Recruiter in the subject line.

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