August 13, 2009
A growing number of Americans are struggling with job searches because a scandal destroyed their small employer, even when they played no role in its demise, The Wall Street Journal reports. Reports of multimillion-dollar financial scams involving tiny operators surged after Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was revealed in December. And former employees of these defunct, small financial companies face greater hurdles than did staffers of huge failed businesses like Enron and Arthur Andersen, some executive recruiters said.
“You will be seen as having been closer to the scandal, and that perception will last for years,” said Peter D. Crist, head of Crist|Kolder Associates, an executive-search firm in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale, Ill.. But such work experience doesn’t make finding a new job impossible — as long as you leave quickly and fully explain your lack of involvement in the scandal, said Kate Wendleton, president of Five O’Clock Club, a career-counseling network in New York.
Still, “Badmouthing your former employer makes you look guilty,” said Linda Dominguez, an executive coach in Coarsegold, Calif. On your résumé, describe rather than identify your latest workplace, Wendleton suggested. And when hiring managers ask about your unnamed employer, briefly summarize your accomplishments before revealing the name of the organization. — Compiled by Greg Beaubien for Tactics and The Strategist Online