I had worked for a company which turned out to be family business. Because I did not want any part in certain business activities, I quit - and surprisingly was even allowed to do so, but of course under obligation to never talk about it.

While I had jobs before and afterwards, this is my only "regular", full-time employment so far and the only employment where I got a certificate of employment (which does not say anything, of course).

I probably cannot leave the time span blank in my CV (can I?), but what do I say when I am asked in an job interview what the firm did and what I did there (without getting shoes or time)?

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    how long did it last? Was the activity fully untellable, or was there also a tellable part? If you just say about the tellable part, there is no trouble having it on your CV. Of course, that is, if there is a tellable part, and if it sells on the job market...
    – gazzz0x2z
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 12:16
  • A CV is similar to a resume right? As such you only put relevant information for the job you wish to find. By putting multiple unrelated information and then telling them you can't elaborate on any details that will reflect badly on your part.
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 13:08
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    Did you work for the Mafia? It sounds like you worked for the Mafia.
    – rath
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


It is really simple. You tell anyone in your interviews that you agreed to a full non-disclosure with your last company and cannot provide any details about what you did although you can go into detail about your skills (one huge one right off the bat - being able to keep a secret well).

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    @rath - I am not suggesting that he says there was an NDA. You can certainly have a verbal agreement with your last company without all of the legalities.
    – blankip
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 13:16
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    Yes. Put on your resume something like Jan 2012 - Apr 2014 (Confidential) and then describe your position and duties in a way that doesn't breach confidentiality. This is fairly normal.
    – O. Jones
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 13:21
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    @user987654 - Actually how the OP phrases it, if he follows this advise, the interviewer may feel they HAVE TO hire him.
    – blankip
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 14:39
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    Without context, "The NDA will let you know..." is rather amusing. "Did you sign an NDA with company A?", "I am unable to discuss that" "How about company B?" "No" Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 17:29

You cannot not talk about it; not if you want to be hired.

A blank space means one of two things to an interviewer (if you even get that far):

  1. You were unemployed
  2. You were in prison

So unless —as some of the comments are suggesting— you did work in organised crime, I'd seriously question the enforceability of this exit NDA. Trying to gag somebody after they've started is pretty stupid. That's why most companies have you sign them before they show you the secret stuff.

Objectively speaking, leaving this NDA hanging over your head unresolved is probably going to affect your future employment. It's a question-mark on your record. A candidate without a dubious employment history is probably going to get your job.

So try to get rid of it. Talk to your past employer and come to an agreement. Don't sign anything else though. If they want you to sign more rubbish, talk to an employment lawyer first. If they don't want to drop it, at least come to an agreement about what you can say.

Failing that describe what you did, the skills you used, how you developed, etc... But expect to answer questions on it and expect to discuss this non-disclosure settlement you've slipped into.

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    It doesn't look like the OP has signed an NDA, just a verbal agreement to not advertise their activities with that employer. It sounds like the OP is happy with that deal, particularly since "getting time" is not an option for them. But even if they did sign an exit NDA, I'd think it would be just as valid as one signed at the beginning of their tenure. A contract is a contract.
    – rath
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 17:49
  • I signed an obligatory NDA (although it was not explicitly named so) before entry and therefore before I found out what was going on. Talking to the past employer is no option (see edit to my question). Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 20:05

I don't see why you can't just put a very bland face on it. It's not a feather in your cap of course, and likely can't be used to promote your skills, but there's no reason it has to be a big hole or even all that mysterious. Select some of the elements of your work that were harmless, and make them the whole job. You had to have done, at least a few times, simple things, or things that can have a good face put on them. You were an office assistant. A driver. You sent faxes. You delivered communications to clients. You were a personal attendant. And so on.

The business name can be very bland, too. Something like "Private Construction Company" or "Family Business". You can be honest that it was a family business and they're peculiar about the details of their exact identity not being broadcast. There are many such kinds of operations that are perfectly legitimate. I once worked legitimately for a company for 18 months or so, where half the employees (3 or 4 of them) reported for work daily to the CEO's own apartment, and sat at desks in her living room! Just discuss it in general terms, as honestly as you can, and don't let on that there was anything unusual about it. For someone with as little experience as you, this will not be such a bad thing.

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    I like the term "Family Business" as the reader will assume it was the OP's own family (and can be corrected at interview if necessary.) "Private Construction Company" just sounds odd. Either way, the reader / interviewer is going to want some details of the duties performed / skills obtained. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 22:36
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    That is why I then suggested giving bland but accurate and plausible listings of the duties performed. If he was asked to extort money from someone as part of the "protection" business, he can say "I collected money from clients that the business considered overdue."
    – CodeSeeker
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 22:38
  • "While I signed a non-disclosure agreement, I may say that I worked with this and got some experience in those while improving my skill in that." Sounds good for me! Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 20:07

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