Résumé gaps can be a nightmare for anyone who has ever had to deal with them. Employers will easily raise an eyebrow if unaccounted for time is not addressed on paper when it is time to apply for a job. Sometimes reasons can involve personal illness, being a caretaker for a sick family member, or these days—being a stay-at-home mother because of the pandemic. Even good reasons like these can stop the flow of interview requests, even if credentials are stellar. LinkedIn wants to fix that.
Heather Bolen spoke up about some of these stressful issues that can result in biased perceptions on the part of some potential employers. She challenged both employers, and the LinkedIn platform to re-evaluate the digital résumé plight of stay-at-home-mothers who attempt to re-enter the workforce. Her posted article entitled, How a Simple Platform Fix Can Help Millions of Women Trying To Re-Enter the Workforce’was shared on The Better Marketing Publication, via Medium.
Bolen opened the conversation, then cited a Harvard study stating that stay-at-home-moms were only half as likely to get a call back for a job or land an interview as parents who had been laid off for the same amount of time. And if they actually land the job, across sectors, women reportedly lost 37% of their earning power, upon spending three or more years away from the workforce.
“It’s doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see that this will also be the case for the millions of women leaving their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic but who likely hope to return to the workforce in the future,” Bolen said in her article while drawing a comparison between situations.
While offering a concrete solution, Bolen suggested that LinkedIn could modernize its profile editing options. Bolen said that the platform holds the key to encouraging transparent dialogue about employment gaps. She further commented that conversations could assist with setting the stage for company leave policies to be improved, in addition to work arrangements that better support primary caregivers.
Other raised points accused LinkedIn of ignoring women leaving the workforce, due to COVID-19, and how the collapse of childcare could drive millions of mothers out of the paid workforce. Bolen specifically drew attention to the reality that the platform only intends for users to describe paid work. Before ending the article, Bolen called on LinkedIn to create fresh and inclusive options, for both job title and employment type, in light of common employment gaps.
Fortune reported that better options are in the works, in light of Bolen’s call for action.
“On Tuesday, the Microsoft-owned professional social network is introducing several new job titles, including “stay-at-home mom,” to allow full-time parents and other caretakers to provide more accurate descriptions of their time away from the paid labor force. LinkedIn is also removing its requirement that any resume entry—for example, “stay-at-home dad”—must be linked to a specific company or employer,” Fortune said.
Fortune also explained that LinkedIn implemented the changes, after asking for a comment about the Medium post Bolen penned.
Prior to LinkedIn’s pending action being taken, Riva Gold scratched the topic’s surface, while penning a post about how to address a pandemic-induced employment work-history gap. But Bolen’s perspective brought the idea of what LinkedIn could do at the table, instead of solely relying on the jobseeker to balance the employment gap load. In conjunction, Bef Ayenew, director of Engineering at LinkedIn, also told Fortune that the site is ‘working on a more comprehensive overhaul of its digital resumes.