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I have a company that I worked for where I am not allowed to mention that I worked for this company. How would I list this experience on my resume?

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    How do you know you are not allowed ? Were you told verbally? Is it in your contract? What is the wording ? Jul 21, 2023 at 13:06
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    Your location would probably help
    – Strader
    Jul 23, 2023 at 15:53
  • Vague And Unreasonable Terms Can Invalidate An Agreement
    – Strader
    Jul 23, 2023 at 15:55
  • I love having a vague name on the resume. It gives an air of mystery to your resume and speaks positively about your character.
    – Pete B.
    Jul 24, 2023 at 12:44

3 Answers 3

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For the most part, corporations would have difficulty establishing that secrecy of employment is a reasonable clause in an employment contract. With companies, it is often worded differently. Along the lines "that you cannot disclose the types of technology and how that technology was used by them during or for a period after your employment ends."

I had this with a company where I spent 12 months as an IT contractor. I used the recruitment agent that placed me there as a reference. They were able to confirm that I spent time as an IT contractor on-site with a company and that company was happy with my work. I also filled my CV with many details about the technology I used - with no reference to the company name or the commercial context I operated within. When asked, I said I could either mention the company name or talk about the technology in detail and the business context in general terms.

However, there are some organisations and roles where such requirements are legal, reasonable, and in place for your personal safety. Consider working for your government's secret spy agency and being involved in the collection or processing of espionage data. What could be the consequences of putting that on your CV and making it public?

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  • "government's secret spy agency" - one assumes in such cases that CVs rarely reach the market, and that when they do, the information is generic and plausible, rather than listed explicitly as top secret. +1
    – Steve
    Jul 31, 2023 at 12:13
  • This varies considerably around the world. I'm not going to go into details, but it does happen. Aug 1, 2023 at 21:41
  • This is closer to the truth. The issue is the company did not operate in the defense space - it was in another space where we developed a certain technology that 'secret spy agency' wanted (think children's playtoys manufacturer making better manufacturing method that turns out to make better spy equipment). Thus, even if I don't put the name and just put "children's playtoys manufacturer" or the equivalent, it sounds less plausible
    – wavt
    Aug 1, 2023 at 23:10
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    @wavt, fundamentally, you can't both have the benefit of the experience on your CV, but also not disclose what that experience is or with whom. If you're not prepared to put the company name on your CV, then you can put "contractor". If you're not prepared to describe the exact technology, then you can still put your duties in sufficiently generic terms. But few of us believe that a term denying you the ability to say who you've worked for is enforceable, and it's almost certainly possible to describe your duties in compelling terms, without referring to any legitimate secrets.
    – Steve
    Aug 2, 2023 at 7:34
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Be very generic on the resume. E.g Car Manufacturer (Confidential)

Prepare your answer in an interview if they ask who you worked for. Check your NDA (and/or your contact at the company) for guidance in that case.

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    "A leading/well known/Fortune-500/whatever company in the xyzzy industry." Or some similar descriptive, as impressive but accurate as you can make it.
    – keshlam
    Jul 31, 2023 at 12:06
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Challenge the NDA

NDA is not all-mighty, it is a contract, like all others Depending on your location, i would suggest to consult a lawyer.

See as example https://www.forbes.com/sites/heidilynnekurter/2020/01/21/4-things-you-didnt-know-about-non-disclosure-agreements/?sh=3d05cdc47c12

"Vague And Unreasonable Terms Can Invalidate An Agreement

An NDA should be reasonable and specific about what’s considered confidential and non-confidential. Language that is too broad, unreasonable or onerous can void an agreement. Courts will also challenge or invalidate agreements that are overly expansive, oppressive or try to cover non-confidential information. Subsequently, if the information becomes public knowledge, an NDA can no longer be enforced." (c)

For hiring manager / headhunter any unavailable and unexplained period in candidate history is an additional risk

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  • I didn't down vote you but I don't think this situation deserves the nuclear option. Supplying a vague employer name might tip the scales in getting an interview that the OP would not normally get as people are curious.
    – Pete B.
    Jul 24, 2023 at 12:43

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