The initiative to help job-hunting mums explain the 'resume gap'

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It's a common problem faced by mums returning to work after an extended period of maternity leave. How do I account for the gap that years at home caring for babies has left in my resume?

An American group has come up with an innovative way to address that issue. 

The Pregnancy Pause was developed by Mother New York to start a conversation around the inadequate maternity leave provided to working mums in the US and to help mums fill their 'resume gaps".

"We wanted to give working mothers in the US a simple tool, and make it easier for them to own maternity leave as the full-time job it truly is," Mother New York chief creative officer Corinna Falusi said in a statement, according to AdWeek.

Women are given the option to add The Pregnancy Pause to their LinkedIn profile, in the Company field. When prospective employees click on the link it directs them to a page explaining why many women feel forced to leave their jobs because the federally protected 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave is not enough.

Women can also list The Pregnancy Pause as a referee and when employees call the phone number they hear a pre-recorded message that says:

"Hello, you've reached The Pregnancy Pause. You must be calling about a candidate's resume that has mentioned her time spent here. While here, she spent innumerable hours raising a child, which has surely offered her invaluable experience as a prospective employee. Visit our website ThePregnancyPause.org to learn more, and remember, maternity leave is a full-time job."

 

The idea is a simple one to boost awareness about maternity leave entitlements, but it also raises a number of issues of what women should, and could, put on their resumes when re-entering the workforce after not 'working' for months or years.

The issue of resume gaps is tackled on the website.

"Mums often avoid discussing the gap, which can have potential employers guessing and may cause qualified moms to be overlooked," it states.

"Some studies have shown that mothers who explain these gaps clearly are less likely to be passed over for opportunities."

It suggests women put 'Mum' as their job title and describe it as: "Firsthand experience in child-rearing and development. Maternity leave is a full-time job".

And I think we can all agree that it's time motherhood is acknowledged for the full-time job it is and the skills women acquire while raising the next generation of leaders should be widely recognised as useful in the workplace.

Instead of feeling under-skilled for positions, or worrying you've become redundant because you've been out of the workforce for a long time, you should be feeling empowered because you've gained a whole new skill set.

A similar initiative here would help Australian mums feel a little more confident when updating their resume or LinkedIn page.

But, more importantly, women need to embrace the time they take out of the workforce to raise children and speak with confidence to prospective employers about their experiences. Motherhood is a full-time job and it matters. Put it on your resume with pride.