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I’m adding a historic career break to my LinkedIn profile which was nursing, looking after and caring for someone stage 4c cancer and two preschool children.

Should I just leave it as “Caregiver” and not really describe the situation, or put something like:

“Stay at home parent to two preschoolers and nursing partner with stage 4c BC”

3
  • 9
    I'd just leave it as Caregiver on my LinkedIn profile Jul 26 at 8:55
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? How to display contract work and "career breaks" on a resume
    – gnat
    Jul 26 at 9:19
  • 1
    How often have you been asked to explain the gap? A career break, especially a historic one, might not be worth explaining at all. If most employers don't care then such information is just a clutter, doing more harm than good.
    – Agent_L
    Jul 27 at 13:35

8 Answers 8

47

"Caregiver" or "Stay at home parent" is probably sufficient - most potential employers aren't really going to be interested in details beyond explaining why the gap exists and that hopefully it isn't anything they would see as really bad, like serving time for murder etc.

That said I'm not sure it needs putting on LinkedIn - it's not the same thing as your CV/resume and people rarely expect it to account for your entire career in quite the same way.

1
  • Thank you everyone for your answers, I've elected to go with a simple Caregiver with no additional information
    – Ourjamie
    Jul 27 at 9:55
26

From personal experience...

First of all, allow me to say how sorry I am this happened to you. I know exactly how difficult caring for your partner while also having to do all the childcare as well in this way is.

For context, my kids were a little older than yours when I had this experience, but nevertheless I was out of the career world for over four years.

Frame challenge

Does this even need to go on LinkedIn? I have never addressed my career gap on LinkedIn or even on my CV when applying for roles. I was asked about it in a couple of interviews but I never felt that it really held me back. When I was re-entering the job market, I knew I'd not kept my skills to the level I would have if I had been working, so I was ready to take a pay cut to get back in and prove myself.

When I accepted a role (only the second or third I'd applied for once I was looking again) only my line manager and their boss knew why I'd taken a career break. I didn't discuss it with anyone else in the company for over a year. I guess I was somewhat concerned about perceptions and I didn't want to be "that guy" who talked about nothing else. And I certainly didn't want it to be all I was asked about for ages after I joined.

You don't say what the outcome has been for you and you family, nor should you have to. Unfortunately our outcome was not good, so maybe that coloured my view about speaking about it during the early days back.

I hope it has been a better outcome for you all!

8

I'll try to be a little more nuanced here.

First of all: I'm very sorry: this is an extremely difficult thing to go through.

How to present it on LinkedIn depends on how relevant the experience is for the types of jobs you are looking for either in terms of skills or behavior or in terms of how it shaped you as the person you are today. It also depends on how how comfortable you are talking about it. This is entirely your choice.

I would not put any specific details in your LinkedIn profile. If you just want to explain the gap "Caregiver" will do just fine. If you want to draw attention to it (and invite a conversation during the interview process), something like "Caregiver in a difficult family situation" could work.

4

I see two purposes to a LinkedIn profile:

  • it allows former co-workers to identify that you are the person they worked with in the past.
  • A way to have recruiters find you.

If a item in the job history doesn't do either of those things, it doesn't need to be listed. Just like a resume doesn't have to include everything, the LinkedIn profile can have gaps.

When you get to actually applying for the job, or as a part of the background investigation you may be required to not have any gaps in your work history. In those cases you could go with the caregiver explanation. You would not be expected to give details regarding reason, diagnoses, etc.

4

I personally don't agree with Sebastiaan's answer. As @GregoryCurrie already mentioned in the comments revealing someone elses medical diagnosis (even when we are talking about a partner or family) to the whole world via posting it on LinkedIn in is definitly NOT appropriate, even with consent..

I would add it to LinkedIn in following manner:

Caregiver and C4 services from ... to ...

That should suffice without revealing a distinct diagnosis and the person affected.

Clarification asked in the comments:

Stage 4C (Suspicious of malignancy) means the cancer may have spread to distant organs

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  • Perhaps you’re unaware but stage 4 cancer of that type isn’t treated anymore. It’s unfortunately safe to assume the partner isn’t there anymore. That’s why I’d be ok with that information out there. Jul 26 at 9:27
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    @SebastiaanvandenBroek I am aware that C4 care is basically a palliative measure - and even if the person isn't there anymore, I would refrain from revealing that info out of courtesy to the deceased and their close ones. But opinions may vary.. ;)
    – iLuvLogix
    Jul 26 at 10:23
  • Yeah it can be a personal or cultural thing Jul 26 at 10:34
  • 3
    What does C4 stand for in this context? Jul 26 at 21:24
  • 1
    @DoYouEvenCodeBro Please see addition to the answer..
    – iLuvLogix
    Jul 27 at 12:52
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Personally I’d go for something in between. If I was recruiting someone, just ‘Caregiver’ would be a bit short. But the other option you mentioned is quite personal for a medium like LinkedIn. I’d go with “Caregiver for partner with cancer”. It sounds serious enough to be a full-time task, but is to the point.

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    You think they should put their wife's medical information on LinkedIn? Jul 26 at 8:55
  • 3
    I'm not from the US and I downvoted your answer. Jul 26 at 16:32
  • 1
    @GregoryCurrie I guess the Anglosphere is largely the same in this, although the US is at the top. Regardless, things aren’t the same everywhere so without a location tag, it’s just your opinion. Unfortunately this stackexchange is more like Reddit than Stackoverflow. Jul 26 at 23:28
  • 6
    The downvote button exists for a reason, and is used in all stacks. If you think there is some scenario where you think your answer is correct, you can simply amend you answer to explain that scenario. Perhaps you could explain why including the medical information of a family member is beneficial, as that seems to be the distinguishing feature of your answer. Jul 27 at 5:51
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    @GregoryCurrie it does exist for a reason, but in most stackexchanges is reserved for very plain incorrect or useless answers, not differences of opinion. Regarding your other point, that’s fair although I did address that somewhat by my ‘serious enough to be a full-time task’ remark. Jul 28 at 4:48
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LinkedIn should not be used as a direct match to your resume. I personally would not add any details about a gap on LI, you can add it to your resume, or wait until someone asks you. Life happens, those details don't need to be for public display. Many people have had this situation where they've had to cut back on work, or take time off for family. If an employer sees this as a negative, then that is not a company you should work for.

0

I would use the term "homemaker". I'm also on LinkedIn and was tasked with this myself. It's hard to not make it sound like you just sit at home all day doing nothing (I'm back at it having been hired in april and I forgot what it was like!) Also list your strongest qualities and attributes in the fanciest words possible. Be sure to review your resume and make sure it's up to date and accurate!! Good luck!

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