Many moms looking to re-enter the workforce can attest to feeling anxiety when a potential employer asks about a resume gap during a job interview. Even though they shouldn’t have to feel scared (after all, taking time off to care for a newborn is hard work, and it’s not like having a baby magically erases all of a mom’s previous corporate prowess), the reality is, some recruiters see a gap to be a negative—a sign that they won’t be committed to their job because they have kids to care for or that their skills aren’t up to date.
As CEO of a career coaching and talent recruiting company and a dad, Jeff Martin wants to put an end to this type of thinking. In a plea on LinkedIn, the Maryland-based father reminded recruiters that “if a woman has a gap in her resume due to raising a child or maternity leave, it does not mean that she forgot how to work or lost any of her skills.”
“If anything, I believe she will be even more determined,” he continued. “Don’t overlook those resumes. Pick up the phone and have a conversation—I promise you will find some major winners.”
There are plenty of reasons why working moms make dedicated employees. Many are deeply passionate about the work they’re doing, are breadwinners of the family, or are doing their part to provide the best for their children in a dual-income household. As long as the mother and the company are able to establish clear lines of trust and communicate reasonable expectations of one another, hiring a mom should benefit the company.
Jeff’s post has earned almost 6,000 likes in the past three days. Users sounded off in the comments section on the CEO’s call to recruiters.
One woman shared her own experience of facing discrimination for having a resume gap during the hiring process. “It’s absolutely a systemic issue across the board. I had multiple recruiters ‘advise’ me that I’m ‘starting over’ after only a few months gap and should ‘stick to entry level positions.’ It’s absolute discrimination and needs to stop. If a woman is qualified, recommend her to the hiring manager. If a woman is qualified, hire her.”
A fellow mom pointed out the necessity of mothers explaining to potential employers why parenting is hard work. “Women need to learn how to shape their conversations with prospective employers to highlight those skills they honed while being the COO of the family. I was in this position several years ago. Were it not for some real work on figuring out how to parlay that experience in the time I had to interview, I’d have been toast,” the user wrote.
Others pointed out that Jeff’s message shouldn’t be exclusively aimed at recruiters. One user noted, “As far [as] I know, recruiters always try to consider candidates who have gaps (short/long) in their resumes IF the hiring manager is fine with it. We all need to understand that recruiters follow what they have been instructed by their directors, hiring managers, delivery managers and other final decision makers with some kind of authority. This step of getting our Super Moms back to projects will only work if there is a change in mentality across the board and every level of hierarchy.”
Still more pointed out that caring for a newborn isn’t the only reason people are forced to take off work; sometimes employees leave due to illness, or to help an ailing family member. Those resume gaps should be honored too, users wrote.
We hope Jeffrey’s message encourages companies to be more forgiving when it comes to a break in the resume. The issue has clearly been on Jeffrey’s mind for awhile. He ended his post by writing, “[I’ve been] talking to too many moms that are having a hard time getting back to work after raising a kid. Let’s change that together.”