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LinkedIn adds 'stay-at-home mom' and more titles to help describe employment gaps

The networking platform is making some big changes to its profile options.
/ Source: TODAY

Parents caring for their children and managing their households full time can now make those jobs official on their online résumés.

“Stay-at-home mom,” “stay-at-home dad” and “stay-at-home parent” are among new titles LinkedIn has introduced to its English-language users this week as part of a larger undertaking by the networking site to better allow people to detail months or years away from the paid workforce. “Caretaker,” “homemaker” or simply “mom” or “dad” are now options as well.

Several new features are part of this profile overhaul and will be rolled out in the coming months, LinkedIn spokesperson Suzi Owens told TODAY. In addition to the new titles, the “company” field, found in the “experience” section, was made optional this week for a small pool of users.

LinkedIn also has plans for a new “employment gaps” field, where users will be able to choose from options such as “sabbatical,” “personal leave” or “parental leave,” to “clearly and transparently show a life event in your career,” the spokesperson said.

Fortune magazine first reported these changes by LinkedIn when it asked the platform to comment on a Medium article by writer Heather Bolen that called on LinkedIn to expand their job title options. Bolen argued these options could help “legitimize” and “normalize” résumé gaps.

“It’s time for employers to accept that careers are often non-linear and to provide improved policies for remote work, flex time, and paid family leave,” she wrote. “And it’s time for job seekers to not feel like they must skirt around employment gaps, lest be frozen out.”

A more nuanced way to explain résumé gaps may be welcome news to many parents, and moms in particular, amid the pandemic.

In the spring of 2020, women left the paid labor force in huge numbers. Between March and April last year, “some 3.5 million mothers living with school-age children left active work — either shifting into paid or unpaid leave, losing their job, or exiting the labor market all together,” according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

As the pandemic progressed, women continued to bear the brunt of child care duties at home, according to another Census Bureau report published in August 2020, with women almost three times more likely than men to not be working due to pandemic-related child care demands.

Coming out of the pandemic, more moms and dads than ever may be searching for a way to explain their résumé gaps, whether those gaps are due to parental leave after a birth, or due to stepping away from the workforce for COVID-19-related reasons.

In addition to expanding their job title options, LinkedIn also announced this week that users can now optionally display their pronoun preferences at the top of their profiles.

“More than 50% (55%) of job seekers agree that gender is an important aspect of their identity, both in and out of the workplace, and 70% of job seekers believe it’s important that recruiters and hiring managers know their gender pronoun,” the company wrote in a news release.

It also reported that 72% of hiring managers also believe that knowing candidates’ preferred gender pronouns “is beneficial and helps others to be respectful of their identity.”