We've all had jobs that just didn't work out. I know I have, and I discovered some important lessons through the experience.
But do you hide the company's name from your resume - especially if the business has a negative connotation publicly?
A client of mine asked this very question yesterday.
I am sharing her story with permission to solicit additional feedback:
Hi Brent. I have been working in <city> at a company that facilitates exchange programs between the US and China. I recently had to quit for a variety of reasons.
The two most important being:
1). I had a really contentious and near panic-attack inducing relationship with my boss; and
2). I didn't agree with a lot of the ways she ran the organization. After giving my two weeks notice I found out they were recently investigated by the State Department. Tangentially, she is making it really difficult to get my last pay check.
I am thankful to not be working there anymore, but this means I am back on the job hunt and have a few questions about to handle this on my resume. Part of me doesn't want to include it at all and I would NEVER use my old boss as a reference.
But on the other hand, it was work experience and I did get to use some of the things I learned in graduate school. Is there any way to list this work experience, but not actually put the name of the organization on a resume without seeming disingenuous? What do you think?
I consulted with my friend and business colleague Julie Walraven, a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). Julie's response was as follows:
I understand exactly where she is coming from but not naming a company creates horrible red flags for the prospective employer. By law, her previous employer is not supposed to be able to say more than "yes, she worked her from X-Y dates" I don't know if everyone abides by that. She can indicate that there are other employers that they could talk with.
Building a strong LinkedIn profile with excellent recommendations from people that would have the kind of credentials that matter to employers could help. Building a strong online presence helps too if she is open to start commenting on blogs and such things.
I also shared this question on LinkedIn and received the following feedback from Debra Wheatman, also a Certified Professional Resume Writer:
I think that putting company confidential begs a lot of questions. People want to know why you won't reveal the company name. I have found that leaving it off can become a focal point; and, instead of an interview being focused on what the candidate brings and his or her value proposition, the focus becomes something the candidate didn't want to really discuss in the first place!
Ultimately your client does not need to provide the boss as a reference; there are probably other people at the company that can serve as a reference for her. Or, she can provide a brief explanation without opening up a full can of worms.
When she goes for an interview, the hiring manager would ask for the company name anyway - so leaving it off, in my opinion, might prevent her from getting the initial call. That is what the resume is supposed to do - so everything should be done to ensure her resume is compelling and full of strong results-oriented information so she gets the call.
What are your thoughts and recommendations?
Thanks for sharing.