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To just say why I haven't worked in 14 years

(59 Posts)
RumTumTiger Sun 03-Dec-17 20:31:37

So trying to return to work (basic admin) after 14 year absence. Previously worked for a CEO as PA.

When I talk to employers I get asked every single time why I have not worked in so long. I say I was SAHM. It doesn't seem to satisfy them.

Maybe it's the length of time off work they don't like? It has ended up being so long as we moved twice for my XH's work and also DS having to be home schooled/special schools/ therapies that he needed a parent around full time. DS is older now and mostly sorted out so I am free-ish now to earn some money for myself (and now I am a single mum).

So that's the real reason as I never planned on SAHM for so long. (no offense meant to SAHMs by choice).

Would IBU to say family member needed care so I couldn't work? Would employers look more favourably on my long absence or would it be providing too much personal info? Should I put it in my cover letter?

I am getting really down about trying to find work and I feel it's the employment gap holding me back. sad

(And yes I have done skills upgrading, resume upgrading, job centre, career fairs, etc, tried to get volunteer work but couldn't get anything that used my skills)

Smarshian Sun 03-Dec-17 20:33:27

I would be open about it. As an employer I would always be wary of a large gap in work. Being a SAHM is fine but 14 years is a long time to do that if no other issues.

Splinterz Sun 03-Dec-17 20:35:35

Carer is fine

scrabbler3 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:36:03

I think it's fine to say that you've been a SAHM to a DC with extra needs. Good luck.

ProfYaffle Sun 03-Dec-17 20:37:57

Just say you had caring responsibilities in that time. Don't dwell on it, emphasise what you've done during that time to keep your skills up to date

(I speak as someone who's just gone back to a career in HR after 12 years as a sahm)

52FestiveRoad Sun 03-Dec-17 20:38:32

Hang in there. I have just got back into work after 15 years at home. My current employer did not care about the long gap, she was looking for other skills that I gained whilst out of work.

Aridane Sun 03-Dec-17 20:39:17

Agree - SAHM for DC with extra needs

sizeofalentil Sun 03-Dec-17 20:39:33

I'd say I home schooled my children. A lot of transferable skills there.

Oldraver Sun 03-Dec-17 20:40:06

I was the same, I haven't worked apart for a 6 month stint since May 2004... I just told them I was a SAHM but also didnt want to

TrinitySquirrel Sun 03-Dec-17 20:40:17

Just put Carer on your CV. They dont need to know more than that really.

WallisFrizz Sun 03-Dec-17 20:43:03

Agree with above posts. You need to emphasise that you were daring for a child with additional needs.

Council Sun 03-Dec-17 20:43:57

Sadly, I think you will struggle whatever you say. 14 years out of the work place is a really long time. It's not that people don't like a SAHM, it's that so much has changed about the modern workplace in that time, employers would doubt your experience was relevant.

I'd be wary of saying it's because of a child with additional needs. It's not right, but it does tend to suggest you might need extra time off.

IMO it doesn't matter if voluntary work doesn't fully utilise your skills, you need to show you have been doing "something"

Lily2007 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:44:57

I would say SAHM including one child with special needs. Try a temp agency as a route in.

Babbitywabbit Sun 03-Dec-17 20:46:12

Just say ‘caring responsibilities’ or similar.
Don’t over egg it (nothing worse when recruiting, than coming across cvs where people try to make out they’ve learned some kind of unique skills through being at home.)
Just be honest- tell it as it is.
And try not to take it personally when you get rejections (I realise it’s hard not to though.) You’re going to be competing with others who have equal skills and qualifications but have no career break, so it’s almost certain to take a while to get a foot back in the door.

Mishappening Sun 03-Dec-17 20:46:31

In was in a similar boat many years ago and I filled my CV with the transferable skills I had developed as a parent. There are a lot of them! Big them up and do not sound apologetic!

Lily2007 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:47:29

I would make it clear your child is older and more independent now hence you can return to work and explain you're very keen to.

RumTumTiger Sun 03-Dec-17 20:48:40

Ok, so most think it's better to say. But one thinks employers might think I need extra time off...

Bubblebubblepop Sun 03-Dec-17 20:50:23

I don't think it matters really. It's the being out of work that don't like

another20 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:51:27

I think that the way back is a short term contract - even if it is for a few weeks, even voluntary/part time etc for a charity or family/friend business. It is hard to get a full time perm from a standing start.

RumTumTiger Sun 03-Dec-17 20:52:18

OK, so better to give more reason than just SAHM seems to be the consensus....

feral Sun 03-Dec-17 20:55:51

Being a career for your dc with sn is perfectly acceptable.

Where are you based? I know that in Gloucestershire they have this project helping people into work funded by the EU (so make use of it while you can!) that has a worker for helping careers/former careers into work as this is a group who could've been out of work for a while.

There could be similar in your area.

RumTumTiger Sun 03-Dec-17 20:56:39

Ok, so not unreasonable to say more detail why.

Funny the advisor at the employment centre told me I didn't need to say anything other to returning work after SAHM. Fat lot of good that advice was...

Marylou2 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:57:25

I'd be careful of over emphasis on a carers role unless you can say it's over, I know this is massively unPC but if your end goal is to secure employment you'd have to do this.

Ermm Sun 03-Dec-17 21:05:24

Id actually point out that SAHM to child with additional needs is a fair old administrative challenge right there - describe all you've done as if it was a "job" (I use the term uncomfortably - it would have been work!). You'd be surprised at the number of skills you would have developed/can demonstrate from doing that. Bet if you told them a day in your life they'd be impressed!

vilamoura2003 Sun 03-Dec-17 21:06:02

In the meantime can you maybe sign up for temporary work to start building up some current experience. Maybe even some volunteering work?

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