Post-Divorce Matters: How to Make Your Resume Stand Out After Being Out of the Workforce for Some Time

Looking to rejoin the workforce after a long hiatus? It can be intimidating, especially for recently divorced people, to apply for new jobs after you’ve been a stay-at-home spouse for many years. If you think it’s time to dust off the old resume and make some changes, consider these tips to make the most out of your application.

Your Resume Format

First off, you’ll want to consider the format or style of your resume. You may be tempted to use a skills-centric format, rather than a chronological list, in an attempt to hide the gap in your work history. Don’t fall into this trap. Most recruiters will realize something is missing, and your resume could end up in the recycling bin faster than you can say “bad first impression.”

Instead of trying to distract a recruiter’s attention away from your employment gaps, be honest about your situation. In your summary statement, briefly mention that you’re looking to return to work after taking time off from your career to raise your kids, work on your education, run a freelancing business, or whatever explanation seems most appropriate to you.

Your work history may not be enough to fill out a chronological resume, so consider making a hybrid resume that showcases your chronological experience as well as your skills and core proficiencies.

Your Activities and Experience

You may have been out of the workforce for months or years, but potential employers will want to see what you’ve been doing with your time. That doesn’t mean you should make a bullet list of your household chores. Instead you should aim to leverage items like your community involvement and your freelance experience.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you been involved in any community projects, charity work, or volunteer assignments?
  • Have you been keeping your skills up-to-date with any educational pursuits, like continuing studies courses, online courses, or independent studies?
  • Have you had any training for technical skills that may be useful in your target career?
  • Have you held a membership in any professional organizations related to your target field, and have you attended any related events or conferences?
  • Have you done any relevant consulting or freelance work?
  • Have you been working from home or self-employed in any capacity?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should include that information in your resume to demonstrate that you’ve been actively working on your experience, education, and skills while you’ve been away from the workplace. Even if it was unpaid work, you can include some of these activities in your work experience section to help fill in the gaps.

Your Skills

Your resume must also put your skills on display, although you’ll want to focus on skills related to your target job. Even if parenting is one of the toughest full-time jobs out there, most recruiters don’t want to know that you’re good at patching up scraped knees or helping with homework. Consider your transferable skills and focus on the most relevant. For example, maybe you helped to plan a fundraiser, which speaks to your event planning and organizational skills, or ran the school PTA, which can help to distinguish you as a leader. Once you’ve made a strong list of skills, you’ll have to connect them to your target career to tell recruiters exactly why you are perfect for the position.

Here at Freed Marcroft, we take pride in supporting our clients through every stage of the divorce process. If you are uncertain about your ability to find work post-divorce, we can discuss the possibility of spousal support and other legal solutions to your concerns. Contact us for compassionate legal counsel and skilled representation.

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