HR-friendly wording for "Emergency family biz manager"
September 5, 2009 12:21 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is reworking her resume. It includes a brief period (less than 3 months) in which she was temporarily running her father's (small) business after he suddenly became incapacitated by illness. After this, her elder sister took over. Apart from the obvious point of listing the actual tasks performed + skills required, what is an HR-friendly way of describing this situation?

She feels like she has to explain the family connection + emergency situation or a 3-month stint as manager will seem suspicious... but also doesn't want the whole thing to sound too nepotistic or "not a real job"-ish. The company itself is in a wildly different field from the one she is applying in.
posted by No-sword to Work & Money (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: mmm-yy to nnn-zz
Ran a relative's small business for a three-month period, while they were incapacitated by illness.

I don't think the skills during this period matter much unless other experience is sparse. And I don't think it sounds nepotistic. This is what family sometimes does, and that alone is perfect justification for the three months, whether it is a "real" job or not. I would not see it as suspicious.

Were I interviewing your friend, I *might* ask whether this meant she had to cover two jobs during this period, but would not probe much further than this, because I would not want to dive into questions that exposed personal family life matters. If the situation in itself explained an otherwise mysterious gap in employment, I would be completely satisfied.

posted by blue_wardrobe at 12:41 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

blue_wardrobe makes a great suggestion. Alternatively you can say "temporary position"; "sick leave cover" etc (though I would also mention the family connection). It's quite common where I live for positions to be for a temporary fixed term while the permanent employee goes on long service leave, has a baby, has an operation etc etc. YMMV.
posted by different at 1:33 AM on September 5, 2009

Best answer: A typical HR wording for the title would be "Interim X", where X is whatever you would normally call the position.
posted by shelbaroo at 2:40 AM on September 5, 2009

How much work experience does she have otherwise? Three months isn't going to make a whole lot of difference to a resume, no matter what has been going on (excepting perhaps prison time) to someone in HR. If your friend only has a year's worth of work experience, then it's going to be weighed a lot more than three months out of several years of work.
posted by xingcat at 4:26 AM on September 5, 2009

Best answer: n-thing blue_wardrobe

I'd word it just a little differently as transition or interim

m1-yy to m3-yy
Transition Manager - Ran a relative's small business for a three-month period, while they were incapacitated by illness.
posted by emjay at 4:57 AM on September 5, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, folks! Xingcat, just in case you were still wondering, she's in her 30s and has been working since graduating college, so it's not a big chunk of her experience. She still wants to put it in though as it was recent and she is interested in jobs with a similar sort of high-stakes, broad-responsibility feel. It sounds like US HR folks (this is for a position in the US, I should have specified) will be happy with and get the right idea from a simple description, so I'll recommend that she go with that.
posted by No-sword at 5:22 AM on September 5, 2009

I'd definitely leave it in for sure. Not many people could pick up and run a small business on the fly; that's a fantastic thing to put on a resume.
posted by Billegible at 10:44 AM on September 5, 2009

Yeah, I definitely agree with Billegible. I'd been on my current job for two months when I had to cover for my boss for the next month. It was planned, but I know she never would have done it if she didn't have confidence in me. That kind of challenge is perfect for interviews, cover letters, all that; furthermore, a family relationship can actually throw more wrenches into the machine than a regular job.

I'd spin it as an advantage. Good for her!
posted by Madamina at 11:26 AM on September 5, 2009

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