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  1. #1
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    Default Resume questions after being out of workforce for 10 years

    So, I am beginning a job search after 10 years as a stay-at-home mom and have many questions, but right now, I am just focusing on my resume questions.

    1. How far back should I list previous jobs and experiences, given that my last regular employment was already 10 years ago? Do things that I did 20 years ago as an undergraduate, like study abroad or winning a speech contest, even belong on my resume anymore?

    2. For one particular job, should I list it if there is no person or institutional records to prove i ever had it? This was a tiny non-profit teetering on the edge of closing when I worked there (and became the sole employee about 2 weeks into my employment) so I doubt there are any HR records to review. I have the email of someone who was my de facto supervisor, but what if he never replies to me? If I leave the job off, I have a two year gap in my resume and the last thing I need is more gaps.

    3. The job I liked the best and the manager I had the best relationship is from a job 16 years ago. That manager responded to me promptlly via email and is willing to be helpful, but we havent seen each other in 10 years. Should I list her as a reference?

    4. And the other issue of references... I don't know who to list from the last 10 years of my SAHM life. I've done contract work for my former job which is on my resume, but that reference is already listed since she was also my previous manager. In terms of volunteer work as a sahm, I've just done a little with our PTO and local MOMS Club . I am listing that stuff, but they hardly read as the most substantive volunteer work around. I cringe to say it, but should I list the PTO president as a reference?

    5. I simply have not maintained contact with anyone except my last office. At least I have that, and my manager will give me a good reference, but there is no one else who's even a little current. My co-workers have either retired or disappeared. I was in a short grad school program that did not require an advisor, so I didn't form close relationships with any faculty there. There is someone I worked with/for during a grad school internship, but we had an up-and-down relationship, and I don't know if she'd give me a good recommendation. Should I even ask her and if so, what do I say?

    6. Not sure anyone can help me with this, but I am having a really hard time remembering what I did at various jobs, espcially trying to make them action-oriented for a resume. it is so disconcerting.

    So, any answers to questions and general commiseration would be appreciated.
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  2. #2
    MoJo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I don't have much advice, and I haven't even been out of the workforce. But I have been at the same job for almost nine years. And I know for sure the last two places I worked aren't there anymore, so I fully commiserate with that. I would put them on my resume anyway, perhaps with a note that they are now dissolved/bankrupt/no longer in business.
    Jo

    DD#1 "JellyBean" 6/08
    DD#2 "Ha" 6/10

    "Theory is great, but as I'm in the trenches of diapers and dishes and ear infections, I try to relax and focus on what's most important: love."--mjs64

  3. #3
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    So, my opinion, I would absolutely show as much prior work history as before. I would be selective about awards and such, but I would absolutely list them. List training classes too if they are still relevant.

    I had the same issue with a couple companies being no longer available, but I think this is not uncommon and I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    I would also absolutely list the reference from 16 years ago. She knew you in a professional environment and knows your work habits. Personally, I would not list any "SAHM" references, just professional ones.
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  4. #4
    hellokitty is online now Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    I wouldn't worry too much about your old jobs where the company is not doing well and may or may not even exist anymore. I know for a fact, that almost all of my supervisors in my previous jobs from 8+ yrs ago (before I became a sahm) are no longer even at the hospitals I worked at. If they checked my job history, they'd probably just get a verification that I did indeed work there and was never in bad standing. References will be hard, since I do not even know what happened to most of my co-workers except for one of them (we've moved a few times). It's good that you still have a good reference person. I too worry about how hard it will be for me to re-enter the workforce, esp with the huge gap in my resume. The only thing going for me is that I am a LLL leader, so technically that still ties to me a link for something health-related (I'm an RN), even though it is a non-profit. I've also been heavily involved in a mom's organization, but have no clue if that would look lame on a resume.
    Mom to 3 LEGO Maniacs

  5. #5
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    Sillygirl is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I think in your case, the resume is what it is. I know there are other formats that you can use if a timeline isn't too impressive - like a skills-based one, where your training and experience get grouped according to each skill set. That might be something to explore. And I think for you, the personal network and the cover letter are going to be what gets you in the door. That's where I would focus my energy. I suspect there are a lot of people in the same boat - lots of reentry into the workforce after either extended unemployment or staying at home - so I wouldn't stress too much about what you can't change. Focus on the things that will make you a great employee.
    Katie, Mom to two boys
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  6. #6
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    Thanks guys, especially Sillygirl. I suspect you're right.

    Any ideas about what to say to the person I worked for in grad school that I had an up-and-down relationship with, to find out if she is someone I should list as a reference? I don't even remember what specifically made our relationship up-and-down except that we were very close in age and background, and she was brand new in her job, and frankly, she and I competed and jockeyed for position about who did what, whether she was a peer or a supervisor, etc.
    Advice and commentary on living overseas
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    DD1 12, DD2 9, and DS 6

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