LinkedIn’s new job titles can normalise dads taking time out as caregivers if we use them properly
LinkedIn made a big change recently when it allowed members to add stay at home dad or caregiver to their CV.
It was a recognition that men are taking more time to look after their children. And that men and women no longer (if they ever did) need to, or do, feel ashamed of including their family commitments in their work life.
US flexible jobs site FlexJobs has been looking at how to make the most of the new titles.
Before the update, the only job title option for people who had opted out of paid work was “homemaker.” However, this term doesn’t accurately describe everyone’s situation. To better reflect all of the possible reasons why people stay out of the workforce, LinkedIn has added several new job titles. The new titles include:
While parenting titles are the only new ones available now, LinkedIn has plans to add additional titles in the future for more common life events. These will help capture in detail why you opted out of work and include:
Anyone can add these job titles and relevant experience to their LinkedIn profile. To add a new title to yours, open your profile, and under the Experience section, click the plus sign. Then, under Title, add whatever title best reflects your situation.
Once you’ve added the title to your LinkedIn profile, you’ll need to include some experiences and duties, as well as a company name. Brie Reynolds, Career Development Manager and Coach at FlexJobs, offers some of the following tips.
First, she advises that for the company name, instead of putting “self” or “self-employed,” job seekers use “Career Break” or “Planned Career Break” instead. This helps recruiters know that you were pausing your career instead of pursuing freelance work.
Then, add a few skills and accomplishments that tie your stay-at-home accomplishments to paid skills you’d use in the workforce.
Career Break, March 2020 – Present
Planned Career Break, August 2014 – Present
Stay-at-Home Parent and Project Management Volunteer
Professional Active Career Break, January 2007 – Present
To some, this may seem like semantics. However, there are several reasons why expanding the range of job titles to include stay-at-home parents matters.
There are many reasons for opting out of work and just as many ways to explain the gap in your resume. As an example, though, for parents returning to the workforce, explaining that the gap was due to child-rearing duties has never been simple because of employer bias.
A 2018 study found that employers were more biased against stay-at-home parents than people who were unemployed, even when applicants were out of the workforce for the same amount of time. The study created and sent out fake resumes for male and female “applicants” who were out of work for 18 months but had the same education and experience.
Of the resumes that were sent out, 9.7% of unemployed mothers were invited for an interview. Whereas 4.9% of stay-at-home mums were asked for an interview. Fathers didn’t fare much better. Only 8.8% of unemployed dads were invited in, versus 5.4% of stay-at-home fathers.
LinkedIn is, of course, the largest professional social networking site in the world. Adding stay-at-home parent and other life events as potential titles helps normalize these career pauses as part of life and not a negative departure from one’s career path.
Not everyone follows a straight career path. Some people job hop for various reasons. Others decide a portfolio career is right for them. And then there are career changers who go from one field to another during their work history.
While it’s not always easy to get employers to understand why your non-linear career path works for you (and them), you can help them understand how the varied skills and experiences you gained on your unique path can transfer into their workplace.
By allowing parents to add “stay-at-home parent” to their work history, they too now have a chance to demonstrate and quantify their transferable skills, which can benefit employers.
For example, during your time at home, you may have volunteered with the school or the parent association, where you likely used your negotiation and conflict resolution skills. Or, maybe you held an officer position like treasurer or president and had to create budgets or balance the books. As an employee, you could use any and all of these skills.
The pandemic’s impact on the world economy is undeniable. So, too, is its impact on working mothers’ employment.
In January 2020, women outnumbered men in the American workforce by a slight margin at 50.04%. However, by December 2020, women accounted for 55% of the over 9.8 million lost jobs. Whether voluntarily or not, approximately 10 million US mothers were not working in January 2021. That’s over 1.4 million more than in January 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That pattern has been repeated in other countries including the UK.
As economic recovery continues and schools hopefully return to a more normal rhythm in the autumn, many parents will be able to return to work. And though the pandemic is an extraordinary circumstance, there may still be barriers for this group to reenter the workforce. 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.