How to Deal with a Career Gap Due to Caregiving
Close up view of job interview in office, focus on resume writing tips, employer reviewing good cv of prepared skilled applicant, recruiter considering application, hr manager making hiring decision

No one expects that at some point in your life you’ll have to pause your career to take care of someone. However, it happens more often than you might think. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, during the past year, more than 65 million Americans which is 29% of the adults U.S. served as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative.

Paying a caregiver to help you out isn’t always a solution, which leaves you with only one option – taking a break from the work. Once it’s time to get back and start working again you realize that you have a gap in your resume due to caregiving. What should you do?

State Caregiving in Your Resume

Maybe you weren’t getting paid but caregiving is a real profession. It demands constant attention, dedication, and it helps you work on some skills.

You can’t hide the fact that you didn’t work for some time so you should explain why that was. The potential employers will appreciate your honesty

This career detour isn’t something you should hide or be ashamed of. You did a noble thing and you learned a lot from that experience

Emphasize the Skills that Caregiving Requires

Each challenge or task that life puts in front of you, teaches you something valuable. During caregiving, you had to apply some skills consistently. Those skills should be mentioned in your resume.

Some of the skills the caregiving can develop are:

  • Multitasking
  • Punctuality
  • Organization
  • Ability to make decisions under pressure
  • Managing schedules and budgets

If you are applying for a nursing position, you can also include coordinating physical therapies, hands-on experience with managing medications, and similar. The only reason you shouldn’t mention these skills is if they aren’t related to the job position you are applying for. 

Dedicate Your Attention to the Cover Letter

A mistake that many job applicants made is to focus on too much on the past. Instead of dwelling on your previous experiences, use the cover letter to show your vision of the future.

Explain why you are the right candidate, show your knowledge of that company, and share how you can contribute to them. 

Sandra Simmons, a content manager at TopEssayWriting Review company, shared her thoughts on why a cover letter is so important, “I think that my biggest strength when applying for a job is my cover letter. That’s the portion of the application I really give all in. Even when I took a year off to take care of my mother, I got a job very soon after and the employer said that it was my cover letter that got me the job.”

Present Your Caregiving Experience Thoughtfully

How you frame what kept you out of work plays a huge role. Of course, how much you want to reveal is up to you. However, you should find a balance between revealing too much and too little. 

Revealing too much can take off focus from the rest of your experience. On the other hand, revealing too little will leave employers to guess on their own and leave you with no control. Here is an example of how you can present your caregiving experience:

Caregiver (November 2018 – January 2020) or Leave of absence (November 2018 – January 2020) Caregiver for an ill family member at the end of (his/her) life. Responsibilities included in-home hospice care, scheduling medical appointments, financial custodianship, and legal coordination.

Aim for a brief, concrete, and factual presentation of information. 

There it is. A few simple tips that can help you deal with your career gap with simplicity and class. It shouldn’t be about what made you click that pause button on your career, it should be about the drive you have to start again. 

Daniela McVicker is a career expert and an editor at AllTopReviews, a resource for reviews of companies managing content. She’s also a business communication coach, helping future job applicants to write business emails to help them achieve success on their career paths.

Written by Guest Author
The Caregiver Space accepts contributions from experts for The Caregiver's Toolbox and provides a platform for all caregivers in Caregiver Stories. Please read our author guidelines for more information and use our contact form to submit guest articles.

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