Back in November, I posted a blog “Being a Caregiver Can Cost You Your Career” that you can find here: http://caretocaregiver.org/blog/. It was reposted Dec. 12, 2016.
Those of us who are 45-65 years old are likely to become a primary family caregiver, which might eliminate our ability to work in our professional careers. I can’t encourage you enough on the importance of staying relevant in your career. How do you explain the gap in years on your resume of not working?
In Part 1, I gave seven steps to stay relevant while being a part-time or full-time caregiver. Let me explain more about the first three of the seven steps and how you can do them:
- Read the news about your industry, companies, and jobs in your field. Look for trends, issues, future technologies and new applications. Now ask, how you might help solve a problem or add a new idea. Do your research that will help you to write blog posts and/or articles. You have become proficient in something in your career, even a subject matter expert. Use your knowledge and experiences. How did you tackle a tough problem at your job? If you get stuck and your words aren’t flowing, try mind mapping. Learn more on how to mind map from @Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map
- Keep a journal of light bulb moments, news articles and professional publications that trigger your creative juices. I throw everything into a red folder.
- Write a Bio. You could add a quip or two about your insights, humbling experiences, or lessons learned. To explain the gap in employment you can include two sentences about caregiving and how it made you humble, wiser, or grateful. Here’s a chance to show your character and newfound wisdom.
- For example: attending and/or faciliting support groups, showing your leadership in a highly emotional setting taught you how to manage in high stress settings, how “to keep calm and carrying on”. How you reeled in a rogue participant in a meeting that hijacked the time from others.
- Did you use humor, active listening or some other management tool?
- Update your resume. (Warning: This will take a lot of time!) Even though you might not have a paying job, you have a big It’s a big job because caring for a loved one; overseeing their health, safety, and wellbeing forces you to have someone else’s life in your hands. Some things to consider in your resume:
- What were the Challenges you faced, Actions you took to address those challenges, and the Results of your actions? This is the C.A.R. approach you can use in writing bullets point on your resume. The results need to show quantifiable results. Can you put a $ sign, # hashtag sign, % percent sign or time-savings behind your result?
- In updating your resume. You might want to talk with a recruiter about how to address the gap in your work history. The likelihood of you being out of the workforce for a few years is high if you are the primary unpaid family caregiver. Because caregiving forces you to be efficient and driven to give good quality care, it means there are experiences and skills that are transferrable to your professional career. Think about the day-to-day work you’re doing as a caregiver and what tasks and solutions did you create, e.g.: scheduling methods, efficiencies, tools/apps used, work-flows and project management techniques that kept you on-time, on-budget, and improved quality of care?
Your time and energy are precious. You do what you can when you can. And I am learning now, you invest in what is most important to you. Your future and finances are at stake. Muster a few moments every day to invest in yourself and your future career. Be ready for that day when you’ll want to or need to get back to a paying job.
#recruiters – if you have any #careeradvice and recommendations for explaining gaps in #workhistory, please share. Email: danny.howard@CareToCaregiver.org