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Explaining long time as a SAHM

(15 Posts)
Namechangeabc Mon 12-Nov-12 21:15:46

When I was pregnant with DC1 I envisaged spending 5 years as a SAHM, during which time I hoped to have 3 children, and do some OU courses, so that my CV wouldn't have a complete blank.

In the event, after DC1 was born I discovered that I had a recurrent miscarriage problem and it took many years to have our three DCs. I am now looking for full time employment, and wonder how to best explain the last 14 years.

I have done bits and pieces; I've taught evening classes intermittently, done some tutoring, some exam invigilation, some freelance writing on my own account and some freelance research for the writer of a professional magazine. I've gained an undergrad degree and a Masters through the OU (I already had an undergrad and a Masters before having the DCs.) I've had a couple of academic journal articles published. I've given papers at conferences. Less relevantly, I've been on the supply list for playground and lunchtime auxiliary posts, and for creche workers. That's been intermittent, too, depending on the state of my health. My earnings have only been £3 or £4 thousand a year.

How can I present this in a positive light?

blueshoes Mon 12-Nov-12 21:22:39

What sort of job are you going for, the role, level and sector?

Durab Mon 12-Nov-12 21:29:47


2003-2009 freelance writer including the publication of X Y & Z

2009-2011 ABD College, lecturing in EGF

You don't, at this stage need to tell them XYZ and were the only things you wrote or that the college work was a few hours a week.

Fill the gaps with voluntary work, again you don't need to mention that it was one afternoon a month etc

iwastooearlytobeayummymummy Mon 12-Nov-12 21:29:54

Have you considered doing a skills based CV rather than a chronological one? You sound like you have acquired many fab skills whilst being unwaged and good luck!

Namechangeabc Mon 12-Nov-12 21:30:07

Graduate level, public sector, full or (initially) part time, something which uses my most recent degree / masters. The first degree / masters are useless now, given the length of time since I got them.

Megan74 Mon 12-Nov-12 21:36:29

When I read the title I thought you were going to say youhad just been a SAHM. I mean 'just' in a nice way. You have done loads. Personally I prefer chronological CVs as I think some employers will want to see when you last worked as much as what you did. I think I would present it depedent on what you were applying for and as Durab suggests. Good luck.

Namechangeabc Mon 12-Nov-12 21:37:16

A skill based cv sounds good, I was too early; are they acceptable?

Durab, when I wrote out my CV, I ended up with 13 "employments" with overlapping dates, so it's obvious none of them were anything close to full time. It looks very messy.

Puppypanic Mon 12-Nov-12 21:39:58

I agree with Megan. You have done lots and really kept your hand in.

I haven't worked for a decade and would be terrified at having to get back into the job market. Where did that time go and how did it happen??

Namechangeabc Mon 12-Nov-12 21:46:33

Megan, thank you!
I haven't actually done that much, but I've always been doing something IYSWIM.

Durab Mon 12-Nov-12 21:48:15

If you just quote the year, rather than the month, you can allow for some overlap, does that help?

If it's really that bad, I might be inclined to alter some a little, especially where you were SE, as there's not strictly a start and end date to your employment anyway

Namechangeabc Mon 12-Nov-12 21:56:44

Also, what about the playground auxiliary / creche worker jobs, which were minimum wage. Should I include them? The playground / lunchtime auxiliary was almost done as a favour to the DCs school; they knew I was reliable, flexible and very local. I also worked intermittently for the next closest school, but I didn't look for work, just responded when they phoned me to ask. If someone was off ill for a week, I'd work 15 hours that week, but could then go several weeks not working at all. It was very intermittent.

Would it be a good idea to "lose" the minimum wage stuff, or is it useful to bulk out my employment history?

fanjobiscuits Mon 12-Nov-12 22:02:43

You could present the whole time as one job - 'freelance' or 'ran own business' with the various things you've done as bullets under that

BlackholesAndRevelations Mon 12-Nov-12 23:19:46

Sounds like you've done loads to me too! Personally I think volunteering/doing low paid work to help the school out shows community spirit, commitment, people skills, helpfulness... No idea how to write your cv but wanted to say I think you've gained a lot of experience and developed many skills whilst you've been out of ft work. Hopefully all our comments will give you the confidence to get back out there! Good luck smile

LadyLapsang Thu 22-Nov-12 23:40:09

I think you've done lots and must have a wide variety of skills. Having said that, from the CVs I see the competition is quite high at the moment. Think the 'I only intended to have five years at home but it turned out to be 14' may be quite difficult to mention as obviously you are likely to be working with mothers that have combined working with looking after their children. Depending on the employer they may only look at the last X years or Y jobs which would make it difficult for you to compete with someone who has been totally focused on paid work in a logical career progressing way. Also, be careful about lying / misleading on your CV, we once had to give a formal written warning to someone for this after being in the job for quite a time; if they hadn't have been performing really well they would have been sacked. It was quite a minor embellishment but it then placed their character / honesty in question.

catlover83 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:04:05

Have you looked for work in higher/further/adult education or more directly with the OU? Your time juggling being a parent, student and employee then looks highly relevant, if your job might include working with/supporting students, particularly mature students/returners to education.

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