Patrick asks, “If you’re returning to work after a long absence (such as caring for a sick parent), how should this be handled on the resume?”
Patrick, you’re not alone in taking time off of work to care for a sick family member. The best strategy for your resume depends on the length of your absence from the workforce. If it wasn’t too long (say, a year or so), you don’t need to mention in your resume but you can include a brief explanation in your cover letter. State that you took time off to care for a sick family member, but you are now ready and eager to return to your career.If it’s been many years, add a brief statement to your resume so employers understand the reason for your gap. If applicable, include other activities during this time such as volunteer work and self-study. Consider a brief statement like the following (of course, amend any details that don’t fit your situation):
Primary Care Provider, 2003 to present
Served as full-time care provider for chronically ill parent. Additionally participated in volunteer activities (American Red Cross/United Way) and kept current on computer skills (mastering Access, Excel, and PowerPoint through self-directed study).
Check out this article for more ideas: Return to Work with a Winning Resume
Best wishes in your job search, and I hope that this helps.