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Writing CV after a very long gap

(11 Posts)
FreezerBird Thu 20-Jul-17 11:26:01

I stopped work in 2004, when DS was born. Didn't go back after mat leave as he has disabilities which made childcare difficult. DD born in 2008 with even trickier medical needs.

So it's been nearly 13 years since I worked. It was a fairly niche role, and I hear on the grapevine that a similar job (I reckon there are about 8 posts which fit the same description across Wales, where I am) is coming up at the beginning of next year.

Our lives and circumstances have changed a lot - DH has the flexibility to go part time which he really wants to do, so for the first time, it seems like a possibility in practical terms for me to go back to work, and I really want to go for it.

During the 13 years of not working I've done a lot of voluntary stuff, some of it directly relevant to the field. I've got an undergraduate degree and a masters also specific to the field (unusual). The job is with a different regional branch of the organisation I worked for before.

How should I approach the gap in my cv? I will put in the relevant voluntary stuff, obviously, and there are other things which show relevant skills.

I know that trying to make out that 13 years of SAHParenting is the same as running a multinational is stupid and annoying - but the specific circumstances of my children do mean that I have learnt a lot about myself and developed skills I didn't have before - not least the administrative joy that is having two children seeing 15 different specialists across 9 different hospitals! There is no nursing/caring aspect to the role I'm going for so I'm not going to bang on about my ability to pass an NG tube in the carpark of toys r us - but I am calm and capable in a crisis and the main place I've learned that is in dealing with the medical aspects of my kids' lives.

Is there any way to get any of that in without it being awful? (If there really isn't I'm willing to hear it... I want to get this right.)

OP’s posts: |
squishysquirmy Thu 20-Jul-17 11:31:49

I don't know, could you talk about being a carer (and the associated qualities and skills you developed in trying circumstances) while being quite vague about who you were caring for? Just in case the person reading the cvs has funny ideas about how committed a mother of a child with medical needs would be (not saying they are right to do so - especially as your dp will be going part time).

FreezerBird Thu 20-Jul-17 11:35:14

Just in case the person reading the cvs has funny ideas about how committed a mother of a child with medical needs would be

Yes, I am a bit concerned about that too. It's a balance.

OP’s posts: |
squishysquirmy Thu 20-Jul-17 11:35:58

It is frustrating because of course you have developed skills as a result of the challenges you've faced! Its annoying that it is hard to talk these up without the risk of putting some employers off. The voluntary stuff and masters is good though. Do you know many people still working at the department? Could you approach them as well as putting your cv in?

squishysquirmy Thu 20-Jul-17 11:37:27

I hope someone else comes along, because I don't know if I am being overly paranoid about that issue bird. A lot depends on the industry, and on the individual making the decision.

squishysquirmy Thu 20-Jul-17 11:41:26

Or, you could state that you have lots of experience of calm and capable in a crisis etc on your cv, but not give specific examples for these qualities (but do for others that can be proved by your voluntary experience). Then, once you make it through to interview stage you can expand when asked, because at that point you will have more opportunity to put any concerns they have at rest. Mentioning that your dp will be going part time would be very weird on a cv, but ok in an interview I think.

Countrygardener21 Thu 20-Jul-17 11:41:33

I'm in Wales, and found Careers Wales (free service) helpful in looking at my CV and giving advice. Not perfect, and I didn't do all they suggested, but it might be a good start.

claritytobeclear Thu 20-Jul-17 11:46:52

I would just mention you were looking after your children, who have additional needs & doing voluntary work. Then go into detail about the voluntary work. You can say that your husband will be able to take over the childcare role now, as his work is now very flexible and you would like to get back into the workplace.

The expectation people do not have any dependants is unrealistic. The majority of people beyond 30 have dependants, whether children or elderly relatives. You are able to work because your husband can look after your children if needed during working hours.

2017RedBlue Thu 20-Jul-17 12:37:02

Perhaps you have to look at it from the employer's point of view?

Being good in a crisis is great - but how often is that skill needed in the job you'll be going for? If that's needed - great!

But think about the job role and how your skills match up.

I see your reasoning to mention the medical needs of your children as a reason as to why you've had to be at home for 13 years - but on the other hand all an employer wants to know is can you do the job?

I'd mention the voluntary work for sure and I'd also mention that your children have individual medical needs on your CV but I wouldn't go beyond mentioning them in much detail unless you think it adds to the job role you'll be doing.

It's OK to have 13 years off as long as you can show you're up-to-date with the industry and kept up with trends, skills etc. Still have an good working interest and knowledge of the sector.

Finally - maybe consider - would it be better for them to discover after you've been there for a few weeks (if you got the job) that you have two children with highly individual medical needs and think you are wonder-woman holding down a job and caring for them - or employer finding out early on you have challenging home-life and discounting you before you've even had a chance to get to the interview.

Or would you prefer them to know what your homelife is like and that's a pre-requisite to taking any job?

Good luck, hope you get the job.

FreezerBird Thu 20-Jul-17 22:05:01

Finally - maybe consider - would it be better for them to discover after you've been there for a few weeks (if you got the job) that you have two children with highly individual medical needs and think you are wonder-woman holding down a job and caring for them - or employer finding out early on you have challenging home-life and discounting you before you've even had a chance to get to the interview.

Or would you prefer them to know what your homelife is like and that's a pre-requisite to taking any job?

I'm really not sure, and I'm pondering! It's an interesting one as I know I have a tendency to tell people in social situations about my children as though they are the MOST important thing about me - which isn't appropriate in a job candidate situation.....

Thanks for helpful thoughts! Bumping a bit for the evening crowd...

OP’s posts: |
squishysquirmy Thu 20-Jul-17 22:41:51

At least you can drop into the conversation (casual like) that your dp is going part time to help care for them - if anyone did have unvoiced concerns about how you'd juggle work and home life, I would have thought that would go a long way to reassure them. You probably will have to have the occasional day off/dependancy leave. But that is true of pretty much everyone.

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