Including Caregiving in Your Resume: The Past, Present, and Future Benefits

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Making the decision to leave the workforce and become a stay-at-home parent or a caregiver for a sick loved one can be extremely difficult. While the health and well-being of your family are undoubtedly a priority for you, it may cast a shadow over your career. How will this step back affect your future employment opportunities? You might find yourself wondering whether you’ll ever be able to work a normal job again. Don’t worry, you will be. You’ll just have to tweak your resume a bit.

Many people have been in the exact same situation, so take comfort in the thought that you’re not alone. The only issue is how to present your caregiving stint on your resume when you head back to work. We present some advice here, but if you want extra help, reach out to our resume experts for professional assistance.

Your past experience

Just because you left your job to be a caregiver doesn’t mean you’re no longer qualified to go back to it. You may not be able to reclaim your old job, but you at least have the skills to continue in the same career. They may need some brushing up, but that’s way easier than learning new skills. 

Depending on your field, you may also have to catch up on the latest developments, but if you consider this a job in and of itself, you should quickly get up to speed. You may not necessarily have to explain on your resume why you left, but in your interview, let the hiring manager know you bowed out to be a caregiver. Recruiters can be extremely accommodating of those who put their careers on hold to care for family.

Your present situation

Describing your present situation on your resume can be a challenge when you’ve taken a lengthy sabbatical to care for family, but it’s important to be honest about your education and experience and embrace your time as a caregiver. Hiring managers can detect when you lie on your resume. Most of them won’t be upset that you exited the corporate world to care for a loved one, but they will be upset if you lie about it. You can list your time as a caregiver on your resume, or you could even format your resume in a way that doesn’t draw attention to your gap years while still presenting an honest account of your qualifications and work history. 

One particularly stressful aspect of re-entering the workplace after a long caregiving stint is the effect this employment gap may have on your job prospects. When addressing this gap in your resume, go about it with a positive mindset. If you’re upfront and confident about your decisions to care for a loved one and then return to work, that positivity is likely to rub off on the hiring manager.

Next, think about how caregiving benefits you as a professional. Is there anything you did that can help you land a job? Maybe you developed exceptional organizational skills that make you an excellent candidate for an administrative assistant position. If any aspect of caregiving taught you new skills, list them. Think outside the box—there is likely something you did that merits a mention in your resume. If not, don’t feel the need to list it. 

Finally, if you include your time as a caregiver in your resume, consider how best to present it. There are various ways to do so, but being concise and truthful are of utmost importance. You could incorporate your caregiving opportunity like this:

Caregiver (May 2019–February 2021) Caregiver for parent with liver cancer. Responsibilities: Administering medication, transporting to medical appointments, coordinating finances and legal documents

The description doesn’t need to be drawn out. In fact, the shorter, the better. The main reason to include it is simply to inform the hiring manager why there’s a gap in your employment history. If they need further details, they can ask you during the interview. 

Your future prospects

Just because you took time off to be a caregiver doesn’t mean you’ll never be a successful professional again. Instead of trying to gloss over the employment gap, embrace it and use it to bolster your resume. Look at it as a job in and of itself and consider it just another step to securing employment. This could even be a prime opportunity to change careers. Evaluate carefully your years as a caregiver and consider how they can drive you forward in the future. 

An employment gap due to caregiving doesn’t have to be the end of your career—you just need to know how to present it effectively on your resume. Don’t look to the past, wishing you were still there —look to the future and consider how caregiving can help boost your career going forward. If you’re unsure how to address caregiving on your resume, get help from our resume experts.

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