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I think I've made an unwise decision. After I graduated I began working at my dad's company which is a very small company in IT. I did have a lot of freedom initially and learned a lot, but would now like to switch jobs.

However, I am very worried that it will reflect badly on me or look lazy that I started at my dad's company. It is also immediately obvious that it is my dad's company, since it says it in the name (and my surname is not a very common one).

How do I best present myself and my situation to future employers / in my application?

  • 1
    Present yourself like you would've had you been working anywhere else. – Dukeling Jan 26 '18 at 11:20
  • 2
    It doesn't matter, just talk about what you've achieved. – bobo2000 Jan 26 '18 at 11:27
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    were you hired because you were capable or because you were a relative? – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 26 '18 at 15:18
  • @L.Dutch I was hired because I am capable, I have studied the subject. – userjmillohara Jan 30 '18 at 20:21
5

While no one is going to fault you for working at the family business, as an employer I am going to want to make sure that I am hiring someone who is good at their job, not just at collecting a paycheck from their daddy's company.

Some ways you can do this is to be able to talk about the work that you did in technical terms. (Warning analogy ahead) I do not really care what your secret recipe for making the donuts is, just that you know how to do what you do with that recipe, what factors you can change and what results those changes have on the donuts.

Also you need to be able to talk about what you see in your future. If you are looking to grow with the idea that at some point you will return to the family business with your new knowledge that is ok. Disclose that. If you have had enough of the family business, you need to be able to explain why, in a way that does not sound like you are airing dirty laundry, or talking bad about the business. If you do not know, that is ok to. But you need to be able to answer that question because it will be asked, and if you can't answer it then an employer is less likely to take you seriously.

If your father is on board with your expanding your experience, then ask him to help prep you for the kind of questions you should expect. He is likely the one that knows where your weaknesses are and can help prep you to over come them in an interview as well.

Also letters of recommendation from people you have worked with go a long way. And quite frankly a well written letter of recommendation from a father for his son that was also an employee goes a long way. He is not just saying it as your father but as a successful businessman.

  • Also letters of recommendation from people you have worked with go a long way. Huge benefit – Mister Positive Jan 26 '18 at 21:58
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I am very worried that it will reflect badly on me or look lazy that I started at my dad's company.

Realistically, it's not too important where you've worked in the past (at least for any roles below C-level where you set the direction of the company). What I care about when I'm looking for a new employee is that you can be of benefit to my company. You're clearly aware of the issues that having previously gained employment via family connections could present - just make sure that you don't come across as thinking that you are in any way "entitled" to the role you're applying for.

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Think of all the questions that you could be asked in an interview, such as "What drew you to this post?", "How did you go about applying for this role?" or "What made you confident that you were the best person for that role?". If you can confidently answer these with more than just "because my dad's the manager", there will be little for you to worry about.

Answer any interview question based on your own merits. If you can, refrain from mentioning your relationship to someone else in the company whenever possible.

If they suspect you were hired out of favouritism, any doubts are likely to be eliminated in technical questions and the like. Your father won't be able to help you during those!

1

Since this is your first job, it's not important how you got it because you didn't have work experience. What you should focus now is in your resume and interviews content. If you learnt new habilites this is a good point, make sure to list all of them, even better if you prove that you are capable to learn by yourself. The next important thing is to describe your responsibilities and how did you manage to add value to the company.

The fact that you want to get out the nest says a lot so don't worry :)

  • Thank you. Can you expand on this Since this is your first job, it's not important how you got it because you didn't have work experience. - why does it make a different that it is my first job? Thanks a lot! – userjmillohara Jan 26 '18 at 14:22
  • As your career progress, you are expected to move to positions which require specific knowledge, experience or abilities. I.e, if you were a manager in your dad's company, others may doubt if you got that position because of own merit. But because your career just started, I assume you got in an entry position and that's where you got all your experience so far. – Homerothompson Jan 26 '18 at 14:29
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People may think your father plays favorites and didn't make you work as hard as everyone else. My experience seeing other people who have worked for their family is the opposite. They get more responsibility and grief. Your father was probably harder on you in many ways.

Hopefully, this means you can demonstrate your skills and these additional responsibilities in your CV and during interviews. You don't need to explicitly state you work for your father unless you want to use that as the reason you're leaving or if they ask.

0

I don't think any reasonable person will hold it against you that you worked for your father's company. Of course the mere fact that you held a job for say two years doesn't prove much when it was at your dad's company, so an interviewer will have to check a bit more. On the other hand, you might have received better training and taken on more responsibilities at your father's company than you would have received elsewhere.

The interviewer should be prepared to look closely at what you do and say in your interview, because you may very well be a lot better or a lot worse than other candidates. You should be prepared to tell the interviewer what you have done, what you have achieved, and what you have learned at your father's company.

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However, I am very worried that it will reflect badly on me or look lazy that I started at my dad's company. It is also immediately obvious that it is my dad's company, since it says it in the name (and my surname is not a very common one).

The point here is that the head-hunting or your next company will not care about that. Believe me, no body will ever check whether you and your old company's boss are relative. Who you're and what you can do is more important. So just write up your CV and find the next job. And don't brag about your family's business during the interview. Then you will be fine.

  • thanks for your reply. why would they never check or even care? I would think they would find it a bit odd and wonder whether I was not able to get a job elsewhere and whether I got special treatment etc.? – userjmillohara Jan 29 '18 at 12:10
  • @userjmillohara i think you're worried about your surname. "The head-hunter google your name and find out that you were belong to an evil organization and trying to conquer the world. So they have to stop you by disqualified you." . That's a joke but you should think about it. Why would your company want to know about your family. If your CV is good for them then you'll get an interview. And if they really want to check whether you're evil or not, they will ask at the interview. Don't worry, just submit your CV – gachiemchiep Jan 30 '18 at 0:25
  • I appreciate you telling me to relax! however, it's more like my surname is Piranesci (just making something up here) and my first employment on my CV is at Piranesci Ltd. - you don't need to google this to come to the conclusion that I am employed by a relative. – userjmillohara Jan 30 '18 at 20:19

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