How to represent family business on resume...
November 15, 2007 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Resumefilter: How to represent the family business on your resume...

I graduated college earlier this year and moved back to my home town to help with the family business and update some of the processes with my new IT skills (MIS/multimedia degrees.) Now I've finished my main goals and brought my father up to speed on all the changes I've made so it's time to go out and get a real job.

How do I best represent my position and relation to the job/my supervisor (my father) on my resume? I've applied to a few places already and left off the family business however that leaves approx 10 month hole in my employment history since leaving school. We have a fairly common last name so I'm not sure people would even realize we are related if they ask for a reference but I want to be completely open about the fact.
posted by asterisk to Work & Money (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I would include family business, and not hide or obscure it. I would flat out CALL it "my family's business".

People who grew up around family businesses tend, in my experience, to be more business-savvy, not to mention being harder workers in general. They understand that a successful business sometimes means sacrifice, and they are able to think long-term.

That's all a gross generalization, and I realize your involvement was post-childhood, but I imagine there are at least a few employers who also like to see it.
posted by rokusan at 11:35 AM on November 15, 2007

I did a project for my father's business while on a year-long hiatus from working. When I started interviewing again, I put it on my resume but didn't mention it was my family business anywhere on the resume itself. However, I did mention it in my cover letters and it was always the first thing out of my mouth when interviewers asked me about that project. Fortunately, in my case, the project I did was a natural extension of what prior work history and dovetailed nicely with the jobs I was interviewing for.

Full disclosure is a good diea, but it's still real experience and you shouldn't sell yourself short.
posted by mullacc at 11:57 AM on November 15, 2007

good idea, rather.
posted by mullacc at 12:46 PM on November 15, 2007

I'd disclose it in an interview or the cover letter. But I wouldn't put it on the resume, since it might cause the reader to dismiss your experience. If they are looking at the cover letter or doing an interview, they've already bought in. However, you should think of some ways to spin the experience. For example, that your parents have high standards and that you were fortunate to be given the opportunity. Or that they believe in treating all their employees with the same tough standards. Anything you can say to show that it wasn't a slacker job with low standards -- assuming you're being truthful.
posted by acoutu at 2:27 PM on November 15, 2007

I've been running my family business for about 13 months. It involves vendor relations, ordering, scheduling employees, marketing, dealing with our internet sales, etc. I list this on my resume exactly that way, explaining what the business is and what my role is in it.

I disagree with the above poster who says people might disregard it. I've found that people are very impressed that I care enough about the family to remain involved in the business and anyone who's ever run his/her own business knows that everyone wears many hats and there's a huge amount of learning on the job. Put it on the resume. I listed myself as owner/marketing manager. Good luck.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 5:44 PM on November 15, 2007

Plenty of people work with family or for themselves. I worked for myself for three years before taking a job for The Man again and nobody thought boo about it.

The thing to do is to be able to clearly articulate some of the goals you achieved, how you did it, and how you measure them. If you sit down in my office and tell me you transitioned the business from paper to electronic billing, I'm going to ask you how. I'd then expect you to spend a few minutes telling me what was involved, why you made the decisions you did, and what the outcome was.

If you're capable of doing that, I'll believe it's an actual job that provided you real experience. The fact that the person signing your checks has the same last name as you is irrelevant.
posted by phearlez at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2007

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