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I am applying for a planning firm that I just found out has a staunch policy against something, as referenced oddly from their website. I have years of work with that policy.

It has been suggested over a casual conversation that I'd be a top candidate for the position, but by a person who only knew of my other work. I'm toying with just omitting it from my resume, but is that ethically okay to do, in general?

What's a professional way to say: I know you hate hte things I've worked with and the people who work to further it, but please don't hate me.

  • What will you say if they bring up the missing years on your resume? – TheSoundDefense Aug 24 '17 at 22:00
  • @TheSoundDefense that is exactly what I am asking. :) Professionally, I feel I should not omit it from my resume or discussion with them. I think? – Mikey Aug 24 '17 at 22:02
  • I edited out the specific topic as I do not believe it is relevant and will a=only derail the question. – enderland Aug 24 '17 at 22:22
  • Thanks @enderland I was toying for a while how to put it. I don't want to call it controversial, but I did want to note that it is something they and others object to on a sort of strange tangent (they're neither an energy nor environmental company). – Mikey Aug 24 '17 at 22:28
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Short answer: Just include your experience and leave it at that.

You won't be able to hide forever what you did during those years. It will come up in either casual conversation or directly in the interview unless you plan to flat out lie about it. You may find that the organisation understands the work you did was with peaceful nuclear systems and will not be holding you responsible for working in the field.

In the end, if they really did have an issue with your previous work and will give you grief when they find out, is this a place you truly want to work in? A work relationship cuts both ways.

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You can omit anything you want from your resume but be prepared to explain any gaps and make sure the application requirements don't specifically require all employment be listed. From there...

Put it this way, if you include the nuclear work and they...

-Reject you. Accept you're not a good fit.

-Accept you. They are accepting your previous work and you don't have to hide anything.

If you omit the nuclear work and they...

-Reject you. You'll wonder if they would have been willing to over look the specific nuclear aspect.

-Accept you. You'll potentially have a secret this is either exploitable or may cause distrust if ever learned.

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I agree with the other answers that tell you to include this experience in your resume, but I would suggest that you take it even further. At the interview, I suggest that you actually bring it up, and tell in researching their firm before the interview you noticed the anti-nuclear items and were concerned that your past work in that industry might be a detriment. You can even tell them that you considered leaving that experience off of your resume and decided against taking this approach.

Making these statement accomplishes three things:

  1. It shows that you are interested enough in working with their firm that you did your homework and did some research about the firm, and began thinking about how you might fit with them.
  2. It also shows them that you make ethical choices even when they might not be in your best interest.
  3. It provides an opportunity for them to glimpse a little bit of the person behind the potential employee-you acknowledge that changing companies can be a bit nerve-racking and that you (like all of us) worry about what other people think of you. It even has the potential to get the interviewer working to make you feel more comfortable, and selling you on the fact that the company would welcome you anyway...it's always good when the interviewer begins to focus on convincing you to join their firm.

In addition, I suggest that you try to prepare some talking points regarding what you learned from that experience working in the nuclear industry, and how you will be able to use those lessons to benefit your new employer. This is a good way to demonstrate that you can apply your skills flexibly, even in situations where they may not seem applicable.

I faced a similar situation; I was fired from a job and I had to figure out how I was going to address this situation in interviews with potential employers. I chose to address the issue head-on, explaining the mistake that I had made that led to my dismissal, and how I planned to keep from making the same mistake again. When I actually received the offer from my next employer, they told me the fact that I was willing to acknowledge the situation and had thought through how I could learn from it was one of the reasons that they hired me.

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When reviewing someone's resume, gaps always require an explanations. I for instance have a 5 year gap in mine due to burnout, so I had to be prepared to explain it, and everyone asked. But, a gap, when you actually did do professionally related work, might raise even more eyebrows than just a break from the field as a reviewer may feel that is an attempt to hide or cover up. In your case, it is, though not for the more usual reasons like a position you do not want them investigation because of the ground you left under.

Personally, no, I would not leave the position off. There are however ways you can handle it, such as addressing it in a cover letter or submitting more of a CV or more modern formatted resume rather than a classical chronological one. This would allow you to address the situation head on and preemptively, Something along the lines of in a cover letter stating, I was in industry X for a these years, but became convinced it was not the direction I wanted either for myself or society so have chosen to pursue other avenues with my skills...

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