LinkedIn adds new job titles for stay-at-home parents and employment gaps

The move has been requested for some time, and can help fill in blanks in resumes that can harm chances of landing a job. Here's how to make the most out of the new titles.

Young mother talking on the phone while using laptop at home.

Image: Drazen Zigic/Getty Images/iStockphoto

LinkedIn has added several new job titles for stay-at-home parents and caregivers, something that Fortune said has been hotly requested by mothers who've had to give up employment to care for children. The change, Fortune said, comes after it asked LinkedIn for comment on a Medium post accusing the social network of implicit bias against women. Studies have shown a hiring bias against stay-at-home mothers, who are only half as likely to get an interview as a woman laid off from their previous job.

The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the workforce, and women have been particularly hard-hit by job losses and the need for childcare since schools closed. By the U.S. Department of Labor's reckoning, 2.8 million women lost jobs during the pandemic, as opposed to just 1.8 million men. 

Among the titles that LinkedIn added are Stay-At-Home Mom/Dad/Parent, Mom, Dad and Caregiver.

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The site has plans to add additional titles that represent reasons for taking an extended break from work, including sabbatical, personal leave and hospital leave. LinkedIn is also adding sections for gender pronouns to user profiles and has decoupled resume entries from the need to associate them with a company, which better allows users to add work hiatus entries.

Like any resume entry, a break in employment due to caring for a child or loved one, a sabbatical or a personal medical leave need to be well-written and properly structured in order to be an effective tool to use in finding a new job. With that in mind, FlexJobs has suggestions for how parents and caregivers can make effective use of the new job titles.

Don't say "self-employed"

Career development manager and coach at FlexJobs, Brie Reynolds, said that choosing "self" of "self-employed" can make employers think that an applicant was going freelance or otherwise not taking a career break when that wasn't necessarily the case. 

Using a descriptor like "career break, "planned career break," or "professional active career break" is preferable. "This helps recruiters know that you were pausing your career instead of pursuing freelance work," Reynolds said. 

Use what you've learned while away

"Adding one of the new LinkedIn title options and describing the transferable skills and experiences you gained during that time shows you were engaged in professional activities and using your relevant skills while you were at home," FlexJobs said. 

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Were you spending time at home pursuing further education or training relevant to your career? Include that. Did you volunteer at all during the pandemic and make use of your professional skills? Don't leave it out. FlexJobs has additional suggestions on how to identify and demonstrate transferable skills, which is at the core of turning caregiving experience into career opportunities.

Don't neglect soft skills

In the article linked in the previous paragraph, FlexJobs Career Coach Doug Ebertowski said it's essential to include soft skills, which FlexJobs defined as including creativity, collaboration skills, adaptability and time management, into a resume because of how universal they are. 

Even if you didn't use that accounting or software engineering degree while being a stay-at-home parent in 2020, there's a lot of time management, creativity and collaborative skills needed to be a full-time parent—make sure those skills are included in your LinkedIn profile as well. 

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