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Motherhood on your CV: Yes or No?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author:by MERJE

As part of our MERJE Together mission to support workplace equality, we're exploring the case for putting the skills acquired during motherhood on your a CV

There’s little doubt the majority of the mothers believe that raising children develops a raft of employable skills and capabilities and therefore should be classed as a legitimate job.

These key attributes, to name just a few, include multi-tasking, conflict resolution, organisation, time management, adhering to deadlines, negotiation, planning, budgeting, problem solving, communication and leading by example. All of which are desirable and in demand skills that add great value to any business.

In recent times, the pandemic has thrown even more nuances into the mix. As children transitioned to homeschooling, women found themselves having to balance this with working from home, looking after the house and other associated admin. This, of course, came hand in hand with managing the daily stresses and concerns that naturally arise when trying to navigate a health crisis of global proportions.

But this does go deeper than the arrival of COVID, as mothers of years gone by found themselves jumping off the corporate ladder, sometimes for years at a time, to tend to their offspring.

These individuals then have to make the often daunting decision to return to work and subsequently may come up against resistance, while being patronised and told they no longer possess the necessary skills or experience to continue on their career trajectory.

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In fact, over one-third (31 per cent) of women stated that they found it “harder than expected” to return after an average of 10 months leave, according to a survey by TENA. Additionally, around one-fifth of working mothers felt that their bosses and colleagues did not understand what they had been through, both mentally and physically.

This begs the question, in the absence of holding a formal role in employment for possibly a significant length of time, should the title of mother, or indeed parent, be included on one’s CV?

The good news is that people are flying the flag to recognise motherhood as a legitimate job. HeyMama, a US-based community for working mums, has launched a campaign called Motherhood on the Resume.

As a result, the organisation is advocating for mothers to update their titles on LinkedIn, or add the position on a resume, like any other formal role across sectors such as Financial Services, Legal or Accountancy.

Essentially, what people learn as a parent should by no means be devalued as skills just because they were gained outside of work. All in all, it makes little difference whether these skills were honed in paid work or at home in a parenting role, you should be free to use them as the building blocks for a better CV.

This will stand those women who do return to work as mothers in good stead as many will work part-time but do the same amount of work in three to four days as a full-time employee in five. This means that they will need to be extra efficient at managing their tasks. Fortunately, these are skills acquired by mothers the world over.

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

In fact, two of MERJE’s top performers are working mothers who both work four-day weeks. Ellie Sykes, Managing Consultant - Credit Risk & Analytics, and Sally Cordwell, Principal Consultant - Front-Line Talent, each have the same targets and responsibilities as the rest of the team, yet still finish high on the MERJE leaderboard despite juggling a shorter working week in order to balance their home lives.

This is underpinned by the fact that 44% of team MERJE is female and half of those are working mums.

Sally says: “Since becoming a mother nine years ago, I believe my patience has improved massively which has definitely helped me in my day-to-day role when looking for the very best candidates for the call centre jobs we recruit. Being a good listener and negotiator at home goes hand and hand with the ups and downs that come along with a recruitment career.

“Listening to what both a client and candidate wants and negotiating a fair fee and salary on both sides to ensure everyone is happy is a vital skill and one I’m glad to have honed at home when raising my son. Demonstrating these key skills to potential employers is so important, so I would absolutely encourage mothers to include them on their CVs.”

Ellie says: “As a working mum myself, I think the skills and experiences gained during motherhood are vital additions to a CV. I have been working in Credit Risk recruitment for 15 years now, nine of which have been spent raising two energetic children while continuing to provide a high level of service to my candidates and clients.

“Over the years, I have connected with dozens of highly successful women across Recruitment, Banking and the wider Financial Services industry who have either had time out to raise a family, or who work a shorter week to achieve a good work-life balance, and have still climbed the ranks of their industries. If potential employers are dismissing those applicants who have family commitments, or have had an employment gap to raise children, they are undoubtedly missing out on some of the UK workforce’s very best talent!

As well as this, there are now many organisations that work to recognise the fantastic talents of women in their respective industries. Bodies such as the Women in Credit Awards, Women in Finance Awards, Women in Insurance Awards, Women in Compliance Awards and Women in the Law UK hold regular events that bring together and celebrate female industry talent, many of whom will be working mothers, which is a testament to the positive steps society is taking in acknowledging the capabilities of women in industry.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our next blog, where we outline the top skills which we think mums excel in and should definitely be included on a CV.

If you would like to discuss this or any of the topics covered in our articles, please get in touch.

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