If you have kids, do you mention them on your CV? Naturally, they’re a huge part of your life and you want to tell the world about them. Yet that does not automatically mean that you have to give your children a place on your CV. Your CV is about your professional life. On the other hand, listing your parenting skills could boost your application and give you an edge over other candidates.
Nowadays, it’s completely natural to leave the workplace for several months or years to take care of your children, and to re-enter once they’re a little older. Some parents even seek to go part-time or flexible working hours so that they don’t have to pay for full-time childcare or take time off to pick the children up from school. Still, that alone is not reason enough to mention that you have children on your CV.
Not mentioning children on your CV
It used to be very common to mention your children on your CV alongside marital status and other personal details.
Today, however, it’s quite a different story. Employers are no longer interested in such personal information as it has no bearing on your ability to perform in a job.
Even if you’re applying for a part-time position, you only need to volunteer this information when you’ve been invited to an interview where you can ask about flexible working arrangements. Such questions, however, are best left until the end, once you’ve shown the employer what you have to offer.
Mentioning children on your CV
There are of course jobs where mentioning that you’re a parent on your CV could put you at a distinct advantage. These are jobs which involve working with children such as teaching, youth counselling, social work or childcare.
As a parent, you have experience with children and this gives you plus points. Use this experience to sell yourself and your parenting skills!
Explaining gaps in your CV due to parental leave
If you have not worked for a certain period of time because of your children, a gap will arise in your CV, which most employers will be curious about.
Rather than trying to conceal the gap, it’s better to be upfront and honest about why you had to take a career break.
Firstly, you could draw attention to skills which you’ve gained as a parent, as mentioned above. Secondly, you could highlight the other ways which you have invested in your personal development during your career break, for example, volunteering, training, attending conferences. All of these show employers that you kept up-to-date with industry developments.
Parenting skills that will impress employers
As a parent, you’re constantly learning new things, developing different skills and honing existing ones. The fact that you don’t do this in a corporate environment doesn’t make these skills any less valid. Many of these skills are in high demand by employers:
Whether it’s negotiating with your toddler, making small talk with other parents or discussing your children’s education with their teachers, you will no doubt have learned to communicate with a wide range of people. Not to mention adapting the way you talk so that small children understand you.
As a parent, you’re faced with problems on a daily basis, from your children refusing to put on their shoes to a babysitter cancelling at the last minute. Good problem-solving skills are sought-after by most employers, regardless of the position or industry.
- Time management
Parents are often better at non-parents at squeezing time into their day. You need to manage pick-ups and drop offs, dentist appointments, after-school activities as well as getting your children up and to bed on time.
Employers often appreciate that parents know how to prioritise their time simply because they can’t afford to waste time procrastinating.
Juggling the school run, childcare and after-school clubs all take serious organisation. Perhaps, you’ve also organised a fundraising/sports event? All this counts as valuable experience.
- People management
From negotiating with stubborn toddlers to mediating fights between siblings, as a parent, you learn people management skills which are transferable to the workplace.
All parents have had to convince their children to do something they don’t want, at some stage, whether it’s getting them to eat their dinner or to go to bed. These negotiation skills are useful in the workplace, especially in sales or management roles.
- Financial management
As a parent, you learn how to manage a budget and make money stretch. You also teach your children the value of money by setting them chores in exchange for pocket money.
Tutoring and mentoring is something that you do every day. You need to understand your children’s capabilities, listen to their needs and teach them valuable life skills.
There’s no denying that parenting requires a lot of patience, whether it’s remaining calm when your toddler is throwing a tantrum or when your teenager refuses to go to their bedroom. The ability to remain patient is a valuable skill in high-pressure, fast-paced environments.
According to a CareerBuilder survey of 2,138 hiring managers, parenting skills can be considered relevant experience in the working world. Soft skills like work ethic and juggling multiple priorities are just as important a consideration as job-specific hard skills.
Do you want children?
Whether or not you want children, it’s not a good idea to mention this fact on your CV. Not only is this very personal information but leaves you open to discrimination – if an employer thinks that you’re likely to leave or take parental leave so soon after joining the company, they may (unfairly) disqualify you as a candidate before you have a chance to prove yourself.
It’s also important to note that employers are not allowed to ask questions about your marital status, sexual orientation, religion, belief, race or family life. They may only ask questions about topics that are relevant to assessing your suitability for the position. In this way, the law protects applicants against (unconscious) discrimination.
What about pregnancy?
While pregnancy means that a woman is unable to work for a while, in most cases, employers must continue to pay statutory maternity pay up to a certain number of weeks. It will also be impossible to conceal a pregnancy if you’re hired.
That’s why honesty is the best policy when it comes to pregnancy. However, an employer only needs to know this information if reasonable adjustments need to be made. Therefore, you only need to bring up your pregnancy at the interview stage. If you mention this in your CV, you leave yourself at risk of discrimination, however unfair that might seem