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AIBU to think SAHMs shouldn't put this nonsense on a CV/job application

(1000 Posts)
windygallows Thu 17-Aug-17 10:40:27

In the last year I've recruited for numerous part-time jobs, receiving applications from many women who took time out to be with family and are now returning to work.

Many of the applicants have been straightforward and simply noted on their CV that they have been SAHM - simple.

But increasingly applicants, perhaps based on some guidance from career counsellors or MN, are finding more creative ways to describe their absence from the workforce.

One, we'll call her Mrs Jones, wrote that for 10 years she was employed by the 'Jones family' and that her work involved 'organizing international travel for her family.' Because organizing a holiday is similar to the tasks led by senior executives.

Another wrote a list of every task she did at home from getting groceries to cleaning the house which, while impressive as an exhaustive list, doesn't really mean much when applying to an office-based role. Especially as it's basically a list of everything most employees have to fit in outside of work.

More galling are the claims that women make about the critical role they played - with my favourite being the one who 'Spent 7 years looking after my two children who needed and deserved my attention.'

There is huge value in the work that SAHMs do but please, please don't put this kind of waffle on your CV. You never know if your interview panel will consist of a FT working, single mom like me who finds it pretty insulting that working means her children apparently lost out on 'the attention they needed and deserved.' Urgh.

mangomay Thu 17-Aug-17 10:44:39

It's a bit cringey isn't it? When asked to explain gaps in employment, I just say between 2006-2012 I took time to raise my young family, returning to work when my youngest child started full time school. I don't think that's too cringey 🙈

splendide Thu 17-Aug-17 10:44:47

I think it is bad advice from people perhaps. I agree it's extremely cringe.

formerbabe Thu 17-Aug-17 10:46:27

Well, I do agree with you but perhaps if society valued motherhood and staying at home to raise children more, then women would not feel the need to justify the gap in their cv?

brasty Thu 17-Aug-17 10:47:10

I have heard career advisors recommend this. They are wrong to.

Cocklodger Thu 17-Aug-17 10:47:13

I once had someone applying with the job title of
Doctor/nurse/conflict resolution/financial management/nanny/cleaner etc you get the gist listed as job title,
Workplace was "my home" and she'd done it for x y amount of years.
Straight in the bin.

FrLukeDuke Thu 17-Aug-17 10:49:15

Formerbabe is right.

skyzumarubble Thu 17-Aug-17 10:49:38

Although cringe I do think give them a break especially if they have been out of the work place that long. They've probably been given bad advice to try and make their cvs stand out.

SkyeCoo Thu 17-Aug-17 10:49:52

YANBU. Go easy on them though, as you've noted many returners to the workforce are advised to do this, whether they've been absent due to family commitments, unemployment or a long period of illness. Many people in that situation will be nervous and maybe suffering from knocked confidence and so will seek advice, it's not their fault of they're given crap advice by people who should really know better.

helpme85 Thu 17-Aug-17 10:50:51

I just didn't put anything on my CV. In saying that I was headhunted for my most recent role and they know I'm currently a SAHM.

It's on my linked in as Mother with no description. Just because a) I didn't feel the need to justify my gap with words b) and I just said to them I've been home with the kids at interview.

At interview I expanded a bit on what I've done with the kids - doing a house extension etc but honestly they were more interested in my work relevant previous experience.

Gorgosparta Thu 17-Aug-17 10:51:17

I bet that sounds like the poster that lists all her stuff she does for the kids as professions.

She is an else impersonator or something.

It really is cringy and makes them sound like they dont value themseleves and having to fluff.

TheFifthKey Thu 17-Aug-17 10:52:10

But I think it's reasonable of OP to point it out here - surely advice from a fellow mum who's actually in a position of recruiting and reading CVs is the most valuable of all!

OP has also said simply noting you've been a SAHM is fine, so she's giving another option. I think this is pretty constructive.

Dina1234 Thu 17-Aug-17 10:53:31

Like any life/work experience it should only go on your CV if it is relevant. If you are applying for a childcare/housekeeping position then that may be the case but otherwise it just looks a bit silly.

newbian Thu 17-Aug-17 10:54:25

Maybe as a working mother I should list the fact that I have a nanny as a separate position - "Senior domestic manager - one direct report employee, responsible for overseeing duties, performance reviews, and payroll."

windygallows Thu 17-Aug-17 10:56:25

Guys, I do understand that some women have been given bad advice and will look at their CV as a whole and not be put off by one entry.

Many of the best candidates at interview were the ones returning to work from a period as a SAHM and we appointed many who have been outstanding employees.

I think my prejudice is that I've worked FT throughout the 11 years I've had children (with exception of mat leave) so find it a bit irritating when women make claims on their CV about how their children couldn't be without them or at interview explaining how they just couldn't put their children in daycare.

HighwayDragon1 Thu 17-Aug-17 10:57:18

I try not to outright say on my CV that I am a mum, though being on the or school committee, running fundraisers for them, them volunteering at a primary school gives it away!

My mum always told me to never say you have kids on a CV.

londonfeather Thu 17-Aug-17 10:57:36

Sometimes you really can't win as a woman. I don't think people should take whatever someone puts on their CVs as a direct attack at them and them choices as a mother.

I'm not saying I would encourage it or do it myself but I think it is sad that a woman can try and sell their years out of employment 'raising a family' and the life admin that comes with that and it could be counted against them. Surely it is the other parts of the CV that should be focused on and if the skill set is still relevant and up to date - not just binned because of how they decide to sell their time away from the workplace.

theEagleIsLost Thu 17-Aug-17 11:00:14

I've been to some back to work workshops - and this idea is heavily pushed.

Always seemed a bit odd idea - and never one I've never used nor have others I know who are trying or did get back to work.

One of DH old work places well known company in competitive field out in literally a field every week had someone turn up at their gates - with their CV. They were told it showed keenness and initiative - or other shit - what it actually did was annoy the hell out of the company owners as everyone on site was extremely busy working and they didn't have time to deal with random drop in and it wasn’t how they recruited anyway.

newbian Thu 17-Aug-17 11:01:39

londonfeather it's not that it should be counted against them, but it should just be a line saying the candidate has been at home. I have reviewed plenty of CVs for jobs and would never hold a career break against someone if their other experience was good.

Most working parents (all? I hope) have household responsibilities. My groceries don't buy themselves, my bills don't pay themselves, my children don't put themselves to bed. That doesn't mean those duties get on my CV!

CrazyExIngenue Thu 17-Aug-17 11:01:57

I think my prejudice is that I've worked FT throughout the 11 years I've had children (with exception of mat leave) so find it a bit irritating when women make claims on their CV about how their children couldn't be without them or at interview explaining how they just couldn't put their children in daycare.

I think you're justified in feeling that way. If someone said something like that to me during an interview I'd immediately write down a big NOPE next to their name.

EssentialHummus Thu 17-Aug-17 11:02:04

I work semi-professionally in CV writing and career counselling. It's a terrible idea to list SAH time as work experience (though you don't need me to tell you that!).

If there's a gap in experience I'd advise the person to explain it factually in one sentence, but the best advice IME is that employers generally prefer to hire employees that are currently in work or study, so some sort of volunteer position/part-time role/course/community participation is worth doing in the ramp-up to re-entering the workplace.

missiondecision Thu 17-Aug-17 11:04:46

Thanks for this windy.
It's actually useful to see your perspective and will prevent me from making a twat of myself when looking for work soon.

meltingmarshmallows Thu 17-Aug-17 11:05:20

I think that's very cringe, can totally image a careers advisor thinking it's really clever and quirky.

Agree with OP that it speaks to how undervalued SAHM are. In that they feel they have to justify that time.

OoohMavis Thu 17-Aug-17 11:05:31

It's like everything related to motherhood - somehow the sacrifice of their job had to be justified as a 'need' of their dc, whereas they it because they could and wanted to for the most part.

Presentjng any choice as a sacrifice for others is moralising that shouldn't be in a cv. I carried on working ft because I wanted to. Some people SAH because they, on balance, wanted to.

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 17-Aug-17 11:05:35

I think if I were a prospective employer, I'd be kind and invite such people in for interview if they had sufficient experience, regardless of cringe status. However I would try to find an opportunity alone with them during interview to explain that such text in a CV can have a very unpredictable impact on employers (ranging from acceptance to bin) and so they may want to consider not including it in their applications in future just as a general rule.

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