Padding the Resume

Last week, our stake held a career workshop. One of our stay-at-home moms came back revitalized. She confessed that she had always been nervous about jobhunting because she felt her resume to be weak. After the workshop, she realized her many strengths, proven both at home and at church. Although many of us reading this are called to be stay-at-home moms, there are times that mothers enter the workplace. We may take jobs when our children are grown, or we may have the task of supporting our family thrust upon us by the divorce, death, or disablement of our spouse. Whatever our reason, it is important that we put our best foot forward when preparing our resumes.

When we hear the word ‘resume’, we automatically think ‘job history.’ If the last paying job we held was in college, this might make us nervous! The fact is, being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job (no paid vacations or sick days, either, I’ve noticed!). I would put that on the resume, and hype all of the skills utilized. For instance, I homeschool my children, so if I ever need to re-enter the work force, you can believe I am going to put that on my resume. “Taught four children simultaneously at home, covering a variety of subjects, and engaging in tasks that instructed, edified, and entertained for x years.” What if you don’t homeschool? How about, “Maintained a safe, comfortable, uplifting environment for four children. Created and implemented family budget and long-term spending goals. Afterschool tutoring [that’s helping with homework] from kindergarten to grade y. Kept house clean.” And so on.

As lay members of the church, however, we have an extra pad to our resume – our callings. Have you been Relief Society President (or in the Presidency) for the last three years? “Led the LDS church women’s group. Responsible for spiritual teaching. Helped regulate economic assistance (in terms of money or food/household supplies) for church families in need.” Seminary teacher? “Early morning religious teacher for teens age 14-18. Met for class each school day and provided scriptural instruction.” Primary teacher? “Taught children ages 5 gospel principles. Provided monthly lesson for group of z children ages 5-12.” Or, are you ‘just’ (and I say that tounge-in-cheek) a visiting teacher? “Responsible for maintaining spiritual ties with assigned women in church. Met with them on a monthly basis to provide uplifting and inspiration, as well as to monitor any needs they might have.”

Finally, you can include any civic involvement – PTA, service groups, and so forth – in your resume.

If the situation requires you to enter (or re-enter) the workplace and you are nervous, don’t be. Look at your various strengths – particularly those which might help you in the job you are applying for – and find a way to clearly state them on your resume. Feel free to elaborate on them in your job interviews. If you were to sit down and chart them all, I have a feeling that you would be amazed at what you can come up with!

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