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Most resumes and CVs that I've seen simply state the name of the company, title or position and dates of employment. I've always done the same. However, I've heard people express, in one way or another, that some companies are 'worth more' on a resume.

For example, in the software industry big names like Google/Microsoft/etc...seem to be preferred over a lessor known, generic software company, all other things being equal.

This is particularly relevant when considering a change in industry. Let's consider a software developer who worked in the gaming industry and would like to continue being a software developer outside of the gaming industry. The interviewer/hiring manager might not know anything about the gaming industry, they wouldn't recognize names like 'Valve', 'Blizzard' or 'Bethesda', but inside the gaming industry everyone would.

There are lots of industries where I feel like, if you didn't have experience in them, you wouldn't know a well respected company from a generic company from a notoriously bad one.

Is it advisable to make statements about the company you worked for? I'm considering things like:

'Forbes #1 Best Company To Work For In XYZ'

'Inc. 5000's #1234 Fastest Growing Private Companies'

'Industry leader'

Or would it just be viewed as meaningless fluff?

  • @JoeStrazzere - possibly a poor example. Say it's a software developer who used to work in the gaming industry. I might be qualified to interview software developers, but not be familiar enough to know the difference between a notoriously bad gaming company and the most well respected companies in the gaming industry. Working for Blizzard, Bethesda, or Valve would be considered an achievement by most people. Updated question to clarify. – Rob P. May 2 '15 at 17:32
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    @RobP. I think you're missing the point. Having worked at Major Industry Player, Inc. is not an achievement that a hiring company cares about. What they care about is what you can do, how good you are at it, and how much better their company will be with you working there. Your resume has limited space. Using it to advertise for your previous employer is a waste. – Kent A. May 2 '15 at 17:36
  • @KentAnderson - I think it's an achievement some hiring companies would care about. I might be wrong, but here's an example of what I feel like exists: quora.com/… – Rob P. May 2 '15 at 17:44
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    Sorry, working at XYZ isn't "kind of a big deal", what matters is whether you are "kind of a big deal". I know "software engineers" who work at Google preparing Excel spreadsheets, and those who work at Facebook processing all those spam reports. The company is hiring you, not Google and Facebook. If an interview candidate says he worked at a Fortune N company/Top N Company/etc. I would ask him, "That's great, but what was your contribution to that achievement?" – Masked Man May 2 '15 at 17:46
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    My point here really is that it doesn't matter where you worked, what matters is what you did there. If someone wrote a rocket launcher software at a Generic Software Company, and I am hiring someone with that skill, I would pick him over the Google guy who wrote a Gmail Labs feature which did something. Now you would ask what if the Google guy wrote the rocket launcher software? Then I need to see how working at Google makes him better than the other guy. I don't assume that "he worked at Google, so he must be better." – Masked Man May 2 '15 at 18:26
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If getting a job at that company is a feather in your cap, then by all means indicate that. However a fast-growing or best-to-work-for company doesn't, in and of itself, indicate that you are extra-cool for having been hired there.

I would work a small adjectival phrase into your job description:

2012-present, Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, Boston, lawyer. At this top law firm, I [whatever it is a lawyer does.]

or

2014 - present, Google, Mountain View, project manager, R&D. In the research arm of this world-renowned software firm, I [whatever it is a project manager does.]

This provides a small reminder to those who may not recognize the name. In addition you may want to add a sentence to your cover letter something like:

I have been fortunate enough to work at a world-renowned [or industry-leading, or whatever] firm throughout my tenure in [old industry] and I am applying for this position because I feel it will provide me with a similarly fulfilling [or challenging or whatever] opportunity.

This not only points out you worked for a "kind of a big deal" company but praises this opportunity by suggesting these guys are also kind of a big deal. Don't do the opposite, reassuring them that even though they're not a big deal at all you're perfectly willing to work for them as part of your industry change.

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I see this working, and being needed, when trying to move from a smaller company to a larger company. Or from a local company to a regional company to a national company.

If your first job out of college was a for a small restaurant that had 5 tables and your were the head waiter that is different from being the head waiter of one that seats 500 people. If you have moved cities the names of the restaurants don't mean anything to me, even if I am in that industry.

If you are changing from restaurants to being an office manger knowing how big a staff your supervised is important. So let me know in the description of your duties and accomplishments.

This is why the resume and cover letter need to be tweaked for the position you are applying for.

The way to note these things is not by sounding like you stole the phrases from a marketing flyer. Tell me that in 6 months you were promoted to head waiter and you were responsible for overseeing the hiring, training, and performance of X members of the wait staff. In your second year you were responsible for staffing the new restaurant. Don't tell me it is the best rated lunch for a steak and vegetarian sit down restaurant on the lower midtown section of town.

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I wouldn't highlight it, for the following reasons.

  1. Those who would care, will recognize the companies anyway. Those who wouldn't recognize them won't care.

  2. As a person who interviews candidates regularly, not everyone who worked at "powerhouse" company is amazing. You still have to prove your abilities like everyone else. Use the precious space on the page to highlight what you did there, and how that will help my company.

  3. If it's such a great company, why are you not still there?

  • I think #3 would be something to address in a personal statement or in the interview. I've been involved somewhat in hiring at two previous companies and whenever someone had Microsoft or Google on their resume, it always got extra attention and question #3 was always something that was asked. I agree with you on point #2, not everyone is amazing, but again, it seemed like everyone involved was more likely to want to interview the candidate with the prestigious company. – Rob P. May 2 '15 at 17:40
  • It's tempting to be star-struck when you see a big name on a resume. But interviewers who stop there and don't actually evaluate the candidate sitting in front of them usually end up interviewing less and less. You only have to hire one dud from Bigshot Company to learn that lesson. – Kent A. May 2 '15 at 17:44
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However, I've heard people express, in one way or another, that some companies are 'worth more' on a resume.

Some companies are indeed 'worth more'. Those are the companies that hiring managers often know by name.

Is it advisable to make statements about the company you worked for? I'm considering things like:

'Forbes #1 Best Company To Work For In XYZ'

'Inc. 5000's #1234 Fastest Growing Private Companies' Or would it just be viewed as meaningless fluff?

Seems pretty fluffy to me.

When I'm hiring, presumably I know enough about the space I draw candidates from that I would know some of the companies.

And if a company in my space produced particularly desirable employees, I would certainly know that.

So to me, the company's name either speaks for itself, or having worked there just isn't important. Either folks already know that the company is a big deal, or your telling them won't make any difference.

Telling me that the company you used to work for was "Forbes #1 Best Company to Work For" or "Fastest Growing" is pretty much meaningless.

I happen to work for a "Best to work for" company. So do lots of other people - both good and not so good at what they do. I can't see that my company being voted a "Great Place To Work" has any bearing on how good or bad I am. (I was good long before I worked for this company ;-) ) And working for a "Fastest Growing" company says nothing about the individual applicant.

As a hiring manager, if you have to tell me in your CV that you think your previous company is 'worth more', then it almost certainly isn't 'worth more' to me.

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    And you'll be bad long after? :) – jmoreno May 2 '15 at 17:51
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If they don't know the company then telling them the company is big deal to me almost highlights you are switching industries and that is not something you want a hiring manager to pick up on. You should focus on your skills and responsibilities. If you lead a team of 40 that speaks for itself.

If the skill are transferable and you get to an actual manager if the company is respected someone will be aware. At least one IT geek is gong to know gaming.

The name of the company does matter if they know the company. If it is known respected company with a strict hiring criteria and a corporate culture admired by the company you are applying with then yes that is a good thing. In the interview you are still going to have to prove yourself but the right company might give you a likely fit that may help you get the interview.

Like a college. If I got an MBA from Stanford then I am going to get a lot of interviews but I will still need to back that up in the interview process before I am hired.

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