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The previous company I worked at for 6 months is named ISIS. It was founded way before the terrorist organization of course, and now it is a bad coincidence that I list ISIS as work experience on my CV.

I am afraid of this name affecting my future job applications as the name ISIS is associated with terrible things. Although I assume it is obvious that ISIS Technologies has nothing to do with terrorist ISIS, I wanted to ask your opinions regarding the possible issue.

Should I list the company I worked at as "ISIS Technologies" on my CV and Linkedin account, or change it to a generic name such as "E-Invoice Technologies", as we were in e-invoice business. It wasn't a big company and name is not that relevant for international applications.

My current practice is, it is "E-Invoice Technologies" on my CV, and "ISIS Technologies" on my LinkedIN account.

Edit: As far as I know, ISIS at my previous company does not stand for anything.

I also want to mention that the ISIS I worked for is in Turkey, so that you don't mistake it with another ISIS Technologies in USA or UK.

  • 15
    Have you contacted the company to double check that ISIS is not an abbreviation? – jpmc26 Oct 19 '16 at 21:57
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    If the company doesn't have a full name that you can use, then you could still state a location or website. That way it would be obvious. – HopefullyHelpful Oct 22 '16 at 23:44
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    You will always find a language where the name of a company or product is ridiculous/offensive/has bad connotations. – WoJ Oct 23 '16 at 17:07
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    In French and other countries they do not refer to the terrorist organization as ISIS but as ISS. And as WoJ says a lot of company names can mean something bad in other countries. To make matters more complicated, Isis is also an Egyptian god and because of this there are thousands of companies with the name Isis. Don't worry so much. – Roy T. Oct 24 '16 at 8:43
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    An Egyptian goddess to be precise ;) – ypercubeᵀᴹ Oct 24 '16 at 9:46
168

My current practice is, it is "E-Invoice Technologies" on my CV, and "ISIS Technologies" on my LinkedIN account.

Correct your CV immediately. Your resume should be factual and it's what background checks are based on. You want to avoid any kind of dishonesty or even the appearance of deception in your resume, even if it's done out of harmless intent to handle a weird situation like this.

List the official company name (and/or the name it operates under if that's different). Don't worry about it beyond that. No one is going to assume that you worked for a terrorist organisation and that you don't think anything of putting that on your resume.

To be clear, it's unlikely that reasonable people will pull an offer over an incorrect company name but I guarantee you that it's going to cause an immense amount of confusion and delays. Background check companies aren't always known for their reliability and you don't want to have your application reviewed by the nutjob who's highlight of the day is discovering that you listed a front for a company called ISIS.

60

ISIS Technologies at http://www.isistechnologies.co.uk/ states:

"ISIS Technologies is a trading name of Independent Security Systems Ltd."

I don't see any harm going with "Independent Security Systems Ltd.".

  • 65
    Mine was a different ISIS Technologies at a different country. – Kogesho Oct 18 '16 at 10:42
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    There will always be some form of Plc, Ltd, Inc or the like in the official name. That is usually not written in a cv/resume (not that it would be wrong in any way to do so), but in this case look the full name up and use that. ISIS, Inc. does look a bit better. Maybe add the town the company is in. – Bent Oct 18 '16 at 10:45
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    In spite of the fact that Sonic got the wrong ISIS Tech, they are on the right track, IMO. I would use only the fully spelled out name, and would not use the acronym at all, not anywhere. If and when job negotiations got far enough along to justify background research, a verbal "heads-up" could be offered, IF necessary. Since by that time you would likely have also offered contact data for the firm, you might never need to use "ISIS". – Corvus B Oct 18 '16 at 12:43
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    Sadly we do not know yet if it is acronym or not, and I lack the information how we can get the one in the topic. – Sonic Oct 18 '16 at 13:52
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    @Corvus B: This question is running for relatively long time, and I'm clear that Kogesho added later that the country is Turkey. With all respect, if the acronym info is not in the question comments or my answer attempt comments, I will not really turn effort into scan the whole page if it is supplied or not. Best practice would be if added to the question. If not, I believe the expected effort is not on the answerer to supply information. – Sonic Oct 20 '16 at 6:33
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There are a boatload of ISIS Technologies companies around the world. Check it out

None of these organizations has done anything to change their identity -- and why should they? Those organizations have probably been around longer and have a good reputation in their respective communities.

So, the easy answer is to always include the URL for each company you have worked for in the past, to allow the reader to see for themselves what kind of organization it was.

Just be glad that you didn't work for Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham Technologies, that would have been much harder to explain.

  • 22
    "None of these organizations has done anything to change their identity -- and why should they?" Because they'll be buried somewhere down the bottom of the search results whenever anybody searches for "ISIS" rather than "ISIS Technologies". – Philip Kendall Oct 18 '16 at 12:21
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    While the rest of your advice is correct "include the URL" is an awful idea. No one does this. Even URLs to personal pages are a contested topic, let alone linking to a company site that you're no longer affiliated with. If you want to go this route, a more common approach is to include the location of the office you worked at, though that wouldn't work for jobs in the Middle East. – Lilienthal Oct 18 '16 at 18:40
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    The assertion "None of these organizations has done anything to change their identity," backed up by a current Google search, is ridiculous. If there were companies with this name before that did change, your Google search would do nothing to show that. There's no reason they should have to, agreed, but if it were my company, I'd change the name; people simply are not logical enough to trust with that distinction. – kungphu Oct 19 '16 at 5:58
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    @PhilipKendall Already seem to have been buried under the other ISIS companies. – user38933 Oct 19 '16 at 17:32
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    Apparently quite many ISIS have changed their name, as I also know one example in Finland. And they had very good reasons to do so. The biggest reason was that international payments got very difficult. International banks refused payments to ISIS, also PayPal requested clarifications. There were also denial of service attacks towards the company's servers. – Tero Lahtinen Oct 20 '16 at 16:01
20

I suggest you refer to it as 'ISIS Technologies' because:

  1. That was the name of the company at that time
  2. It will stick in recruiters minds - usually a good thing.
  3. If a potential employer were to think that you'd listed membership of a terrorist organisation on your CV, you probably ought to stay clear of them; it shows a lack of judgement
  4. If they see you tying yourself up in knots trying to avoid #3, they are likely to think 'What does this clown take us for?'; it shows a lack of judgement

In summary, forgive my flippancy, but you are over-thinking this.

  • So, any publicity is good publicity? I suppose it could make for a fun "break the ice" maneuver in an interview – employee-X Oct 21 '16 at 22:11
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    On the assumption that the interviewer doesn't think one is a former member of a terrorist organisation, then having something like this may well be the thing that makes you stick in their mind; such things can give you a fractional edge over CVs that otherwise all blend together. – CJM Oct 24 '16 at 10:21
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Honestly - As a manager that interviews developers I don't see this as a problem and possibly an advantage.

If (And I seriously doubt it) a company did the following would you really want to work for them?

  • Think you had worked for a terrorist organisation and were dumb enough to put it on your CV.

  • Not bother to read any further to confirm it wasn't.

Seeing this on a CV would make me read more - mainly for my own amusement to be honest. I suspect this would be true of most people.

Likewise, i can see your CV sticking in peoples mind. I can picture the conversation between interviewers when deciding who to hire - "What about the guy who worked for Isis?"

The only other thing I would say is don't remove it. If you put "A small company that.. " or similar it makes me wonder who they are. If you then say ISIS I begin to wonder why you are hiding the company name. I still highly doubt you worked for THE Isis, but now I need to double check as you tried to hide it from me. Had you listed it I wouldn't have entertained the idea (Unless in your description involved weapons training, Syria etc ).
In short - Don't make a problem were there isn't one.

I look forward to seeing your CV some day - It will make me smile :-)

8

The name is either an abbreviation, in which case the full name can be used, or it is not, in which case the capitalization "Isis" can be used. As the name of the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" is usually written with all uppercase, writing your company name with the grammatically correct more convenient capitalization might help in distinguishing it.

  • 1
    Companies can have all capitalized names that don't stand for anything. The OP has already said that is the case for their company. – David K Oct 18 '16 at 15:04
  • @DavidK : I would hope to be of help to later readers with similar problems. Also, I doubt a company would sue you if you wrote its name according to the rules of grammar (or of convenience) instead of how they write it on their logo. – Val Oct 18 '16 at 16:21
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    I'm not saying a company is going to sue, I'm saying it is incorrect. IKEA is not "Ikea" and it is not "Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd". The only correct way to write it is "IKEA". – David K Oct 18 '16 at 16:36
  • @Val In the languages I know, the rule of grammar is "don't change proper names" (in some cases, inflection might be "allowed"). If it's ISIS, that's what the proper name is. That's one of the things that usually makes capitalization rules so difficult - in the end, if someone names a street St. PatRIx, that's what the name of the street is, and you'd be incorrect in writing it Saint Patrick's or whatever. – Luaan Oct 19 '16 at 12:58
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    @DavidK You must loathe to read many (a majority of?) publications, then, for it's a common style guide entry that "Acme Co" should be written as a proper noun irrespective of the company's marketing department's preferences. – OJFord Oct 19 '16 at 13:56
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IMHO:

HR most of the time reads dozen of CV each day. Some good CV are tossed away simply because the guys of HR don't hae the time to fully analyze each CV. So, to say that you worked for ISIS is a good chance to bright among many other CV. So, if its well played, it could play in your advantage, such as saying "ISIS" and remarking "not the bad guys but...".

4

If a potential employer sees the name "Isis" on your resume and instantly assumes that you are referring to the terrorist organization, and doesn't bother to check this any further before throwing away your resume, I think they're too dumb to be a place where you would want to work.

(Granted, people can be stupid. I saw an article on some news web site a few months ago about a teenage girl who was named Isis and who, the article said, was harassed at school by people who assumed she was named after the terrorist group. Considering that they said this was the name she was given at birth, and she must have been born years before the terrorist group existed, this made no sense at all. I wondered if the kids at her school were really that stupid or if the article was a hoax. Or maybe one kid at her school was that stupid and the reporter made it sound like it was all of them.)

There are lots of organizations in the world that have the same or similar names. Reasonable people don't jump to conclusions.

If you were applying for a job as a mercenary or a spy, it might be necessary to clarify that you are not talking about THAT Isis. Otherwise, I don't think it requires any explanation at all. It sounds like you work in IT. I suppose the terrorist group might have some IT people, but, etc.

If it's really worrying you, you could always just add a note, like when you give the company name, add, "(not the terrorist group, an e-invoicing company)" or some such. That could actually be a positive as it might catch an HR person's attention, get a chuckle, and make your resume stand out from the others.

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    "I wondered if the kids at her school were really that stupid or if the article was a hoax" -- or if they harrassed her by maintaining the assumption that she was named after the terrorists, despite knowing perfectly well she wasn't. Knowing something is false doesn't stop a determined child making a fuss about it. They have this in common with politicians ;-) – Steve Jessop Oct 19 '16 at 22:43
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    @SteveJessop Agreed. Often children will use a pretext of supposing a "fact" is true as an excuse for harassment. Of course, adults do this, also.... – employee-X Oct 21 '16 at 22:24
  • In retrospect, someone might make fun in a case like this without even suggesting that it's true. I could imagine if a new person started at my company and he said his last job was with "Isis", that people might joke, "Hey, Bob used to work for the terrorist group, ha ha!" Everyone knows it's not true, it's just a joke. – Jay Jun 4 '18 at 14:44
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Try to contact your previous company, ask them if they have the same concern. They usually do! See how they are dealing with this problem, probably they have a plan to change their name.

  • 2
    The OP already said the name will not change. OP said in a a comment "This was brought up in a meeting about a year ago and the manager said: We were ISIS before them, and we will be ISIS after them." – David K Oct 19 '16 at 12:37

protected by enderland Oct 19 '16 at 12:23

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