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Stay at home mom needs help with writing a resume` PLEASE

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've been a stay at home mom for the past 8 years and have enjoyed every wonderful moment with my 8 and 5 year old girls.  But now that the youngest is in school, it's time I find a job and start contributing to the family.  There is a position open at a different school for a paraeducator and I would love to apply.  However, I have not had a resume in YEARS.  I don't know what's worse on a resume`, the fact that I haven't worked in 8 years or the little part time temporary jobs that I worked when my husband was on layoff.  Where do I start?  I only have microsoft works on my computer and I opened the resume` builder template and thought it would be easy enough.  But objective?  Besides that I love working with kids?  What would a person put?  What about the 7 different odd jobs I've had over the years, how do I explain those and the periods of unemployement?  I've worked up at our elementary school for a couple years as a substitute aid in the resource room and library, but how much do I explain about that?  That I always go on the field trips with the kids to help the teachers but also because I love being with my children when they go and visit and do new things.  I'm nervous as heck and all I'm doing is writing a resume`, but I would LOVE to have this job.  Please help!  Any and all advice is much appreciated!!!

post #2 of 7

Don't explain. That's for the interview, IF they ask you. And the objective is easy - Paraeducator in the Blah Blah school district. That's the one that should go to the school office. If you're doing a general resume that you keep around just in case, you can skip the objective entirely.

In terms of structuring the resume, you write it to meet the job description of the job you want. So, for example, if the opening says "Excellent computer skills and verbal communication skills," then your job as an office temp becomes "Executive Assistant - year" (don't include the months if they were only a few months; just put "2004" or something) and below that is "Responsible for computer blah blah" and "First line of communication with all callers." But if the job description says "Should be able to use Microsoft Excel to enter grades" and "Needs to set up special education meetings," your "Executive Assistant - year" entry will instead read "Used Microsoft Office products including Word and Excel" and "Managed scheduling tasks with different departments."

See what I mean? The way you know how to write it is to let it write itself based on meeting the description of the job you want and are qualified for.

In terms of formatting, there are a lot of good instructions - http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/how-to-spiff-up-your-resume/ is pretty decent. DO NOT make it fancy. Use one font throughout, use regular bullets (no fancy anything), use a lot of white space, clearly set out your main points. A hint of personality is sometimes really effective, especially since you're looking to work with kids.

Joanna Kimball
Show breeder of Cardigan Welsh Corgis. Also featuring a Tibetan Spaniel, a Papillon, and various rescue dogs. NPIP in New Hampshire; working on LF and bantam projects. The incubators are always running! 

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Joanna Kimball
Show breeder of Cardigan Welsh Corgis. Also featuring a Tibetan Spaniel, a Papillon, and various rescue dogs. NPIP in New Hampshire; working on LF and bantam projects. The incubators are always running! 

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks Joanna! smile

post #4 of 7

You may also want to focus on your personal attributes that you used during your years....As a hiring manager, I look for dependability, ability to deal with varied situations, calmness during crisis, people skills and the ability to fit into the organization "culturally".  People can have all the training in the world, but if they don't fit in, there's not much hope for them to be chosen, for my company, anyways. 

So don't feel 'less than' because you chose a different life path for awhile and don't have consecutive dates of employment.  It was a choice and probably a very good one for your children.  Just focus on the skills that you've developed over the years that would set you apart.  (manage multiple priorities, meet deadlines, etc etc).  You can fit those into the job desc. requirements (as the previous post suggested).  I definitely agree that the resume should be clean and easily read.  Size 10 or 12 font, usually Times New Roman or Arial, double-spacing as appropriate.

That's my 2 cents, hope it helps

Wendy

post #5 of 7

I have seen some pretty bad resumes.

One tip I have- unless you are a super-duper professional that has serious achievements that you just cant leave out,

Keep it to ONE page.

Yes, CUT THE FAT.  Nobody wants to look at a badly formatted, 3 page resume with a lot of blah,blah,blah on it.

Make it attractive, easy on the eyes. Bulleted is good. Be specific. Dont talk about how great you are with something that is irrelevant to the job you are applying for.

ALWAYS check your spelling- twice. READ every word you wrote. Sometimes a fragmented thought comes out as a fragmented sentence.

Be Specific. Dont say "good people skills". Say WHY you have good people skills...

Good Luck. You need a good resume these days so write one that stands out!!

post #6 of 7

And don't ignore the skills that you honed as a homemaker and mom!  There was budgeting (family budget), scheduling (classes, playgroups, appts.) and more! 

Also, volunteer positions held during that time can be good material too.  When I was a SAHM I belonged to a moms group and served on the board, which amounted to helping schedule parties and weekly events for the kids -- but in terms of job skill, I was setting appointments, creating and mailing the monthly newsletter, and making contacts in the community too. 


As to the objective, I like to use a basic theme, then personalize it for the specific job opening, much like BlackSheepCardigans says.  It might be "Seeking a long-term, full time position in a public school setting that would allow me to match my children's calendar and grow my (fill in the blank: people skills, administrative talents, organizational abilities, etc.  what the job ad asked for.)

The other important componant is the cover letter.  It's where you can be more relaxed and personal.  The part where you get to mention that you are heading back into the workforce as the last kid is starting school -- that pretty much explains the big blank in job history for the last 8 years.  And you can say that, for your family, it's important to be home with the kids when they are home so a school corporation job would provide that as an added bonus.  You can also throw in a line about how important our kids are, and that it's not just the teachers responsibility, but each employee from the corporation's superintendant down to the school secretary & janitor all have the priveledge of helping grow these kids to reach their potential and goals, and you would be honored to be allowed to be part of that team.

Good luck, and I sure hope you land the job!!  hugs

kat - wife to Tim, mom to 3 kiddos (DS 20, DD 18, & DD 15 - the 4H member)  Our flock is made up of Polish, Silver Spangled Hamburgs, a handful of brown egg layers, and we just added 5 Mottled Houdan chicks! - - avid quilter, canner, and homemaker :0)
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kat - wife to Tim, mom to 3 kiddos (DS 20, DD 18, & DD 15 - the 4H member)  Our flock is made up of Polish, Silver Spangled Hamburgs, a handful of brown egg layers, and we just added 5 Mottled Houdan chicks! - - avid quilter, canner, and homemaker :0)
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post #7 of 7

Also, maybe you could get some of the teachers who you chaperoned with to write short paragraphs each about your skill in that environment.  Even if it is a different district they may know one another, and if not, they can call them easily after they read your glowing review.

I have had this issue a few times, between maternity leave and working as a personal chef, not at a restaurant, I have holes in my resume.  I have found that few care.  Many are very understanding, and know that you were working VERY hard in your "time off".  Also, a lot of employers prefer hiring moms, they NEED to perform well to keep their job.  I find it is good to have a backup plan for your kids for sick days & let the employer know this ahead of time, while cautioning it is not ALWAYS foolproof.  Maybe this is more for my industry, where they want to pay you $12 an hour to own you body & soul 65 hours a week, but it can't hurt.

Good luck.

I have 2 wonderful sons, 3 ducks (2 Anconas & 1 Buff), 4 laying hens, a Holland Lop bunny, and a big scaredy cat.  I am a Chef, Baker, Bluegrass "Musician" (I know, you can't do both) and artisan. 

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I have 2 wonderful sons, 3 ducks (2 Anconas & 1 Buff), 4 laying hens, a Holland Lop bunny, and a big scaredy cat.  I am a Chef, Baker, Bluegrass "Musician" (I know, you can't do both) and artisan. 

Reply
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