One of the unintentional things which may come out of this pandemic is the fact that for several months (or longer), many people will find themselves out of a job and bounced into the role of homemaker. And for those who have already been in that role for a while, the pandemic has meant that it is even harder to think about doing anything else, even when it comes time to possibly move forward. But of all the ‘positions’ that one could have, homemaker, for many people, seems to be impossible to translate into a resume that will be attractive to employers. We hear it quite often actually, particularly from women and breaking through the assumption that a homemaker has nothing to offer an employer can be tricky.
But if you’re here and wondering the same thing, you’re already on the right path! You know that for the last year… two… five… ten… eighteen… twenty! you’ve been doing work. I mean, you’re exhausted at the end of the day, yeah? So how to translate all that experience and work into something that will get an employer excited?
Skills of the Homemaker
Before looking at the resume itself, it’s important to understand what sort of skills you may have learned in your tour of duty. Obviously, this list may not be 100% you nor 100% exhaustive, but it’s enough to give you an idea:
- Driver (assuming you were the one driving the family around!)
- Cook (home cooking skills! Bonus points for managing restrictive diets like celiac, diabetes, weight management, lactose intolerance and allergies)
- Budgeting and money management
- Cleaning (o, all the cleaning)
- Time management (so many activities to schedule, so little day)
- First Aid (you should get certified though if you aren’t already)
- Conflict resolution (particularly with multiple kids!)
- Problem solving
- Knowledge of math, language arts, sciences, history, law, arts… Basically, you may have got up to your grade 12 all over again.
- Home décor
- Party and event planning
- Shopping on a budget
- Any volunteer experience
- Research skills (assuming you helped with homework)
- Leadership skills (especially if you headed up any volunteer activities or took part in them or helped with fundraising)
- Design work (those fundraising posters may not have created themselves)
- Strong communication skills
So that gives you an idea of the many things you have been doing as a homemaker. But how to construct a resume out of that?
Time to Build a Resume from Homemaking
The absolute first thing to get out of the way is the type of resume. Remember that there are (Roughly speaking) three types: chronological, skills based, and hybrid. For a homemaker, unless you’ve only been doing it for a short time and you were working in the last year or so, you definitely want the skills based. The chronological and hybrid resumes both use work experience as the/a foundation and if you don’t have very much or it’s long out of date, it’s not going to be much use to you.
A skills-based resume is one that puts your top skills front and centre, followed by an education and certification and volunteer experience. This type of resume has to be even more carefully targeted than any other kind because you’re really banking on your skill list. Therefore, it’s critical to match your skills to what the employer is looking for and be able to back it.
For example, (and remember that if an employer specifies something as a need then it’s because they have been struggling to find someone with that particular skill set so you really want to follow their lead) a job post may specify the need for someone who is customer entered or good with people or able to help others. (pretty common in one form or another in retail in particular). As a homemaker, what skills can you translate into that? Certainly, communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, and leadership will all be good ones. You may also, depending on the position, be able to highlight skills in research (able to research and recommend products for customers), managing money, and time management will also all be good ones. For many of these, you can drill down to be more specific too – managing money could be explained as maintaining a monthly budget using X program, helping others could cite examples of fundraising or volunteer work, and communication could be as easy as being able to communicate a schedule to the family every day.
It’s also important to put down any volunteer experience, certifications or schooling you have completed, but these things should be relatively recent (aside from degrees which don’t have much of a ‘sell-by-date’.) If you haven’t been volunteering, this may be a good time to do it as so many organizations are hurting for help with Covid cutting a swath through their regular events, fundraising, and pools of help. For a similar reason, it’s a good time to go to school as there are many programs out there, schools are still open even if they are adopting a connected classroom (virtual learning) model, and there are many programs that take less than a year to complete.
Remember That You are Selling Yourself
It’s important to remember that the point of a resume is to get the employer interested enough in you to offer you an interview (ie, a chance to get to know you better). The resume therefore is the most important thing you have to sell yourself to the job. But you also don’t want to sell yourself short. You know that homemaking is hard work, but it still falls on you break through the stereotypes. Really highlight the skills you have picked up in keeping a household running, be proud of your accomplishments and remember that without you, the household may not be doing so well! Those are things that translate to helping a business keep going or even do better and you have it. Make that clear to employers too by being proud of what you have done and how you want to offer those skills to a boss.
Example Homemaker Resume
(Your mileage will vary).
First Name Last Name
Business Contact Information
Objective: We have written blogs about this before, but the big ones:
Why do you want this job/a job in this business, an overview of what you have to offer and DON’T SAY YOU WANT TO GET A JOB! Obviously you want a job, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Should be about three sentences long.]
- Eighteen Years experience cooking home meals for X number of people (include any dietary restrictions)
- Strong time management skills borne from managing the schedules of X number of people
- Ten years clean driving record and able to drive under noisy and distracting conditions
- Eighteen years of experience in event and party planning for children
- Fifteen years of managing a household budget using (X program such as Excel or You Need a Budget App, etc) and consistently came under budget, allowing the family to save for vacations (or a new house, new vehicles, education, etc. Whatever financial goals you achieved)
- Twenty years experience in housecleaning
- Able to do basic yard work like lawn mowing and basic gardening
- Experience with pets (Cats, dogs, something more exotic?)
- Skilled in conflict resolution and problem solving
- Enjoy working with children
- Whatever volunteer experience you may have
- Again, whatever certification or education you have completed
References Available Upon Request
This is just an example, but it gives you a feel for the kind of things you can put on a skills-based resume for many entry level positions.
Homemakers don’t get the level of respect they deserve honestly, so it falls on you to go out there and demand it. Look at how much you’ve already been doing – isn’t it time to get paid for some of it?