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Working in the IT field and having skills that are in demand, I have changed jobs quite a lot over the years. My Linkedin profile lists around a dozen positions. Due to mergers, acquisitions or just plain rebranding, a few of these companies have changed their names after I have left that particular position (one employer even went through two name changes while I was there). (Typical scenario: small local shop does good, gets noticed by big international player, gets bought.) My very first employer does not even exist any more.

Linkedin has this functionality that links the particular entry to the company's page with logo etc., but for the renamed company those entries are now broken and look like some unknown small company without even a logo, even if they did international work.

Although I am not currently in the job market, I think it likely that I will be in the future. I previously have had a substantial number of recruiters contact me via Linkedin, leading to a lot of good interviews and even to the position I am in currently. So for now, I would like to keep the profile current and attractive.

I imagine it helps a recruiter or prospective employer to see that I had previous work experience with a large, respected company. In this respect, listing the current name would be advantageous (can't expect everyone to know the history... Some of those companies can't even be found via websearch any more). But this is obviously not historically accurate, and in the case of mergers the current entity may not legally even be the same as the entity I have worked for...

  • Do recruiters/prospective employers place much value in the reputation of a candidate's previous employers?
  • What is the best (succinct) way to point to the subsequent corporate identity history of previous employers while remaining truthful (the actual legal entity with which the employment contract was entered into at the time)?

EDIT: this question pertains particularly to the Linkedin profile (and the functionalities offered by it), not the general text document-based resume/CV.

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  • Outside of the companies that no longer exist, why don't you just list the current company name, makes your resume a lot cleaner. Keep in my relevancy, a company from a decade ago which no longer exist, likely isn't all tha relevant to your current duties.
    – Donald
    Nov 6, 2022 at 16:59

4 Answers 4

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Most employers will be looking at the progress of skills and experience.

Just relying on "I worked for XXX" is not always a good plan.

Seen some who worked for XXX who turned out to be not a good choice - obviously XXX were pleased they left.

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  • Obviously the downvoter was one employee who the employer was glad they left.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 17, 2023 at 8:53
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Just add the old name in parentheses. Something like

  • Bell Labs (now AT&T)
  • AT&T (formerly Bell Labs)
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What is the best (succinct) way to point to the subsequent corporate identity history of previous employers while remaining truthful?

Why would you be untruthful? How would you be untruthful?

List the names of the companies as they were when you worked there. If a potential employer needs clarification, they'll ask for it. They're not going to care that you listed Company X but then 5 years after you left they merged with and became Company Y.

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I would just state the name of the company as it was when you were there.

I wouldn't try and update to the current name of the entity which has changed since your departure, unless there were very special justifications to do so. If there was justification, and it was a relatively recent role, it could be phrased as "Company X (now Y)"

In cases where names changed regularly during your own tenure, I'd choose one name, and I'd be inclined to choose the last name. Again, if there were special justifications, I might put "Company Y (formerly X)" - for example, if a team in a very large and reputable company, was hived off into some non-entity.

I wouldn't generally say there is any benefit to be gained from highlighting that you worked for companies who change the sign above their door every 5 minutes, so two names per single tenure is probably the maximum you'd want to list.

If your tenure was extremely long, say 20 or 30 years, and the company changed names several times, it might be appropriate to either say "Company Y (formerly X & other trading names)", or to split the tenure into individual periods if there was a transfer or outsourcing (rather than just a rebrand).

Also, recognise that recruiters are rarely particularly interested in who you worked for a decade or two ago, even less so in the branding and ownership shenanigans. They're most interested in the top line.

Choose a reasonable entity name and don't clutter things unnecessarily.

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