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How to customise your ‘mum returning to work CV example’
On this page we’ll explain how mums (or dads) returning to work after raising a child can write an effective CV. We’ll go through the sections to include – at the same time looking at some of the issues mums face as a result of taking a break to raise a child.
1. Name and contact details
At the top, you should include:
- First name and last name
- Phone number(s)
- Email address
If relevant to the job, you may also state that you have a full driving licence (or a full clean driving licence if applicable) or an enhanced DBS check.
Leave off any personal information such as marital status, nationality, race or religion. If this is something the employer needs to know (for example, because you need somewhere to pray), you can discuss this with them after you have been offered the job and have accepted the offer.
2. Personal statement
Your personal statement is a concise summary of why the employer should hire you, with reference to the job advert. Mums returning to work should not mention that they’ve been away raising a child in this section. Instead, write 3 – 4 sentences which introduce yourself and explain which of the job requirements you meet.
I am an administrator with 4 years of experience in a busy environment. I am a competent user of Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook, together with Sage and Access. In my previous roles I have organised events, managed a diary and carried out a wide range of other administrative duties. I am looking for a full time role at a City Centre Law firm.
You can find another sample personal statement in our ‘mum returning to work CV example’.
When you write this section, don’t simply state what you think are your best selling points. Instead, look carefully at the job advert and see what each employer is looking for specifically. Then explain how you meet those requirements.
3. Work history
Work history is listed in reverse chronological order, so most recent first.
The number one question we get asked by mums looking to return to work is how to deal with their employment gap. We usually advise to explain all employment gaps, but we also advise not to mention personal information on your CV (like the fact you have a family) to avoid discrimination. So how can you reconcile the two?
In this case, explaining the gap is more important. If you leave the gap unexplained, the employer will jump to conclusions by themselves. Those conclusions may not be favourable.
A good way to deal with this is to state very briefly that you had a planned employment gap, and to explain how you are able to return to work now (as in our mum returning to work example CV).
“Employers, afraid of running afoul of anti-discrimination laws, don’t bring up the subject, she said, and female applicants, picking up on those cues, often don’t offer information, leaving hirers to guess at the reasons behind a hiatus.” ~ Joni Hersch, Professor of law and economics at Vanderbilt Law School
““Don’t apologise for it. Say, ‘Yes, I took a career break for child care reasons, and now I can’t wait to get back to work.” ~ Carol Fishman Cohen, Chief executive and co-founder of iRelaunch.
“Insert just ONE line that says ‘Planned career break’ with the dates and then move straight into your ‘Professional experience. Don’t make a fuss about it”. ~ Victoria McLean
State any qualifications you have, with the highest listed first. If you only have GCSEs, be sure to mention if you have Maths and/or English at C or above as this is important to most employers.
One concern that employers have is that your skills may be a little rusty, because of the time away from work. There are a lot of online courses that you can take which can help dispel this concern – for example, this six week course which can be taken online.
Make sure you mention specifically the skills that the employer is looking for.
If it is a technical skill (such as coding), you may want to provide your skill level – e.g, intermediate, advanced.
Do not make the mistake of listing ‘mum skills’ such as managing a household. Whilst these are genuine superpowers, the employer doesn’t want to see these on your CV.
As noted above, rusty skills are a genuine concern of employers where mums or dads have taken a career break. It therefore pays to emphasise any skills that you’ve kept fresh through training courses like the one mentioned above.
“Playing up volunteer and freelance work is important, but it’s a mistake to emphasise ‘mom skills’ that are required for managing family life. The interviewer could be doing all that and working as well.” ~ Carol Fishman Cohen
“Where maternity stretches to a career break it is important to emphasise skills maintained and developed though any volunteer work such as school PTAs or parkrun. You can also include any voluntary activity such as raising money, negotiating prizes or sponsorship which demonstrates a number of skills including project management, people co-ordination, communication skills, PR, marketing or even IT skills.” ~ Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity at Hays
6. Hobbies and interests
Use your hobbies and interests section to help demonstrate further that you’re a great hire. For example, you could:
- Further demonstrate that you have the skills that the employer is looking for.
- Show that you take a personal interest in your health and wellbeing.
- Show that you are a creative person
You’ll need two references – typically one from your most recent role and one other professional reference. If you’re short of space, you don’t have to include references on your CV as the employer will ask you to provide two when they offer you the job anyway.
NB : This CV template was originally published on 6th December 2018 and has been fully updated for 2020.