Make us your home page
Instagram
Working | Values

Surviving a sullied employer

When a company's reputation nose-dives, it can also bring down the standing of anyone who worked there — unfairly or not. The challenge is also one that plenty of other job hunters have faced and overcome. • The secret to getting your career back on track after working for a notorious employer, career advisers say, is to explain your tenure at the sullied organization honestly and diplomatically. Washington PostUnder no circumstances should you just drop the sketchy employer from your resume. Besides being dishonest, pretending you didn't work somewhere creates a gaping hole in your employment history, said Bruce Weinstein, who writes the Ethics Guy column for BusinessWeek.com. And that will just make you look worse.

Share more information on your resume, said Susan Strayer, a human resources executive and author of The Right Job, Right Now. "Be specific about where you worked" if that helps, said Strayer, whose own career included a stint at Arthur Andersen, which folded after it was tangled up in the Enron scandal. "For example, the Andersen incident happened in the Houston office in the accounting arm of the business. My resume makes it clear I worked in the D.C. office in the consulting side of the business."

Don't let dismay about the company's fate cause you to play down your achievements there. "Include strong, detailed, results-oriented bullets for your job there," Strayer said. "Don't minimize the work you did or the results you achieved just because the company no longer exists. You still want to demonstrate how what you did there could help the company you're applying to."

• Once you land an interview, be prepared to keep explaining things — for the rest of your career. "Your experience may be a talking point in an interview no matter when you worked there," Strayer said.

Take care not to come across as too negative, even as you distance yourself from any illegal or unethical behavior. "Be extremely professional if asked about how you feel about it or your take on what happened," Strayer said. "Focus on your workplace values and how important it is to report impropriety and remain ethical at all times. Avoid a discussion about placing blame or berating the professionals who played a role."

• Finally, while defending your reputation, don't forget to scrutinize the reputation of your potential employer. Investigate the firm's finances, as well as the background of people in leadership positions. Before you accept an offer, ask to talk to customers, and people who have worked at the company before.

Surviving a sullied employer 09/12/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  3. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO

    Corporate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Sherry Smith is taking over as CEO at Triad Retail Media, the company announced Monday. | [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  5. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]