In the past, career experts have recommended leaving any mention of – or hints at – motherhood, off your resume. It’s illegal to base hiring decisions on someone’s parental or marital status, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), therefore, there’s no reason to ask questions about it during the job interview. Job candidates have also been advised by career experts not to volunteer the information, either. It’s difficult to prove discrimination when it comes to hiring, since so many factors come into play when someone is chosen for a job, so it’s better to omit any information that could lead to bias.
But a recent think piece published by NBCNews turned that wisdom on its head, encouraging working mothers, particularly, to put their title of “mother” face-front on their resume. “Workers are in demand, and now is the time to proudly declare that being a mom doesn’t take away from your abilities as an employee or an entrepreneur — it enhances them,” wrote Katya Libin, CEO and co-founder of HeyMama.
Libin’s organization, HeyMama, launched a social media campaign, #MotherhoodOnTheResume, to break down the stigma of proudly declaring your status to hiring managers. More importantly, Libin writes, the organization wants mothers to begin to showcase the skills that make moms great leaders, including conflict resolution, household administration, multi-tasking, and even crisis management.
A Bright Horizons survey showed that 89% of American workers acknowledge that “working moms in leadership roles bring out the best in employees.” Sixty-five percent of those surveyed say moms are “better listeners,” while 51% said they are “calmer in a crisis,” 47% cited them as “more diplomatic,” and 44% called them “better team players.”
The survey was conducted pre-pandemic. After so many employees and business leaders have had to work from home during the pandemic while their kids were distance learning in nearby rooms, fathers became acutely aware of the challenges moms face every day, especially ones who play the role of primary parent in a household. Yet, 72% of working parents said women are penalized in their careers for starting families while men are not, the survey found.
As the country faces a massive labor shortage, it is a good time for mothers to show hiring managers how the skills of motherhood and corporate leadership go hand-in-hand and how good mothers make better workers at every level. “Doing so combats implicit and explicit bias by proclaiming that motherhood is something unambiguously positive, not to mention a common life choice,” Libin wrote.
Libin, however, acknowledges that the challenge and risk may be greater for Black, Indigenous, Latina and other moms of color, as they may also fight racial and gender bias in the workplace. It is up to other working moms, who may be in a better situation, to blaze the trail and take that risk.
With 379,000 net jobs added to the U.S. workforce in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics April jobs report, and employers struggling to find workers, now could be the best time to start shifting the status quo of how employers and hiring manager view working moms, Libin said.
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