Leaving the workplace is never easy, and returning to work after being away for months or years is even harder.
While you were returning to school, taking care of a sick relative or raising a family, the work world was continuing on without you. Depending on how long you’ve been away, some things might be different when you return — social media and coding are much more valued skills than they were a few years ago, for example.
Getting back into the job application process after being away for a long time is a lot like trying to get back into an old running regiment. If you aren’t keeping an eye on your pace and making constant adjustments or improvements, it’s going to take a long time for you to get back to your regular speed.
Here are some resume writing tips that will help you get back on track when returning to work.
1. Don’t be apologetic.
This applies specifically for those who have been pursuing other paths in life, such as raising a family or caring for a sick relative. Employers are not necessarily concerned about what you were doing while you were gone — this is reserved for interviews, if addressed at all.
Additionally, leave any quirky phrases for “stay-at-home parent” out of your list of roles. Just as you would not list your marital status on a resume, you should not list your parental status, either.
Employers are concerned about your confidence in your own abilities in the workplace, so use power words in your resume to demonstrate your seriousness in returning to work.
2. Do include an objective statement and a cover letter.
Objective statements aren’t necessary for all types of resumes, but in the case of individuals returning to work, an objective statement is a favorable idea. It will show you are focused, determined and ready to begin a new stage in life.
You’ll also want to include a cover letter, for the same reasons as an objective statement.
Setting a tone with these two pieces will convey that you are focused and articulate, something that will make an impression upon potential employers.
3. Do choose the right format.
Your first instinct may be to list your college degree(s) at the very beginning of your resume, but unless you are returning to work after attending school for a long amount of time, this may not be the best idea.
Instead, accentuate your skills with a functional style resume. Doing so will ensure that potential employers see the abilities you currently have instead of focusing on the fact that it’s been awhile since you’ve been in either a learning or workplace environment.
4. Be creative.
Some experiences that you wouldn’t normally think to put on a resume, like extracurriculars, are worth including on your resume when you return to work after a period of time.
Perhaps while you were staying home with your kids, you volunteered as an assistant coach to their soccer team. Although assisting in a recreational league may not indicate knowledge of a public schools’ inner workings, it does exhibit interpersonal skills that would be admired in an employer looking to hire a teacher’s aide or something similar.
If you’re precise in its purpose for being on your resume — for example, “Addressed any roadblocks that children experienced when it came to fully grasping particular plays” or “Attended to improper conduct concerns by reaching out to parents in order to discuss children’s personal behavioral histories” — you’ll show that you did a lot more than just hold a clipboard all day and tell some kids where they needed to run.
5. Don’t sell yourself short.
Nearly every experience you’ve had has impacted who you are and who you could be as an employee — so embrace what you’re working with. Putting together an appealing resume when returning to work requires a bit of self-confidence, a great deal of patience and a few key structural pieces that illustrate your employability. Implement these things and you’ll be well on your way to writing your resume, getting an interview and returning to work!