Tell me why do you want to leave your job after only a month?
July 30, 2013 7:27 PM   Subscribe

On paper it looks like I want to leave my job one month after I started. Due to the relationship between the last two companies I have worked for I've essentially worked for the same company for ten years. How best to explain that on a resume and in an interview?

I started with a company called Theta in 2003. I got laid off from Theta in 2011, but was hired by a related company called Hummingbird. The relationship is that Hummingbird is a joint venture between Theta and Alaska Native Corporation.

Theta provides the employees with the technical expertise and Alaska Native Corporation provides a small business/disadvantaged business exemption that allows Hummingbird to more easily win contracts with the US government. Theta and Hummingbird are headquartered in the same building (imagine Theta in Suite A, Hummingbird in Suite A1). The President of Theta is also the President of Hummingbird. I've had the same management structure since 2003 throughout my time with Theta and Hummingbird and Theta again. Theta and Hummingbird employees have worked together on a number of projects, and employees have swapped back and forth between the two companies as contacts have started and ended.

Our contract was rebid, and last month Hummingbird lost the contract. Megacorp won the contract, with Theta as a subcontractor in place of Hummingbird. Due to contractual reasons that I am not privy to know, Hummingbird was unable to be a subcontractor to Megacorp. So the Hummingbird employees are going to become Theta employees.

In short, the situation I am in is that I worked for Theta, got laid off and went to work for Hummingbird, and went back to Theta under the new contract. I hate my job because I am not fond of my boss and because I am underpaid. I see other jobs in my industry that I might enjoy more than my current job at Theta and I’d like to apply for them.

My question is how do I explain this all on a resume and in the interview? My resume is a reverse chronological resume, and I have my most recent entry as "Deputy Bottlewasher, Hummingbird / Theta April 2011 to present". Does that capture the situation as I have described it above? If you were a hiring manager and heard my explination in an interview, what would you think?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can foreground the job, and the contract, rather than the employer. For example:

"Assistant Goat Wrangler (Hummingbird 2003-2011, Theta 2011-present)

Wrangled goats on major goat contract for US Department of Goats..."

This is incredibly common for government contractors - usually employers aren't quite as close as your pair, but I've worked with a number of people who've done the same job for the past decade under 3 or 4 different formal employers, and nobody bats an eye.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:39 PM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

"Deputy Bottlewasher, Hummingbird / Theta April 2011 to present". Does that capture the situation as I have described it above?

Yep: Name A / Name B, StartDate-to-present is what I did in a vaguely similar situation. No confusion, no problems. Hummingbird is a venture of Theta, so it's easiest to simply treat it as an internal move rather than separate-but-not-really companies. Especially re: "the Hummingbird employees are going to become Theta employees."

I'm not sure if it applies in the specifics, but I might refer to Hummingbird as "a division of" Theta, or similar under-one-roof terminology (also, they are literally under one roof.)
posted by anonymisc at 7:40 PM on July 30, 2013

I worked for a company that got acquired, and I list that as one job with multiple company names.

(Like: XXXX-XXXX Software Engineer, Company A / Company B / Company C, Describe My Job Here) [since actually it rebranded itself THEN got acquired].)

Since I worked on the exact same stuff, just the name on my paycheck changed.
posted by wildcrdj at 8:04 PM on July 30, 2013

Skip the last job? If it was only a month it won't add much value unless the title was much more impressive than the last one
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:39 PM on July 30, 2013

If I'm understanding correctly, you've been on the same contract or series of contracts for the duration? I'd say:

Bottle Washer, US Government Agency Dish Washing Project, 2003-2013

Washing Large Bottles, Theta, 2013-Present
- Washed lots of bottles
- Was the best washer ever

Washing Tall Bottles, Hummingbird, 2011-2013
- Blah, blah
- Etc.

Washing Short Bottles, Theta, 2003-2011
- Washed 987 consecutive bottles with no breakage
- Developed new washing liquid
- Etc.

This conveys that you remained on the project for the entire time period, clarifies that you're currently employed, and gives you an opportunity to break out specific accomplishments and skill-sets.

I don't think you need to mention the Alaska Native Corporation at all, as you weren't directly employed by them. If they are particularly known for holding that contract in your industry, you might say "Theta, subsidiary to ANC." But that's probably not necessary as most recruiters will be familiar with the whole 8(a) deal.

I am former government contractor / recruiter. I am not your recruiter, etc.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:17 PM on July 30, 2013

I was in a similar situation (same work, same product, same boss, but different company name). I did something similar to what everyone else is suggesting here, but with a little two-sentence italicized explanation below.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:34 PM on July 30, 2013

I have done as you and the first commenter described. It doesnt sound like your jobs are differentbso lumping together should be fine. If roles were different you could do something like this:

I did this and this....
Following the acquisition of Hummingbird by Theta, my role expanded into:...

Something like that, with better formatting, obviously!
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:39 PM on July 30, 2013

Basically, these are related companies. I'd simply relate them in your resume. A forward slash makes it clear they are separate but related.

Your other option is to describe HummingBird as a joint venture of theta and alaska native corporation. You could even describe it as a sister company to Theta. People might ask you what that means, and you can then explain.

Finally, if you know people who left either, you can ask them what they did.
posted by gryftir at 1:17 AM on July 31, 2013

There are some good suggestions here, but another idea is to list it as:

Hummingbird: A Theta corporation
posted by Flamingo at 7:37 AM on July 31, 2013

Mod note: From the OP:
I thank everybody for their responses. My question is resolved, the system works! Please mark Tomorrowful's answer as best answer.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:39 PM on July 31, 2013

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