How to Put a Family Business on Your Resume

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How to Put a Family Business on Your Resume

How-to-Put-a-Family-Business-on-Your-Resume

With businesses closing because of COVID, many people are job hunting. Whatever your reason for seeking new employment, optimizing your resume is key to standing out in this competitive job market. And if your previous job was at a business owned by a relative, you may be wondering how to put this family business on a resume. Will employers take your experience or references seriously? 

It’s good that you’re thinking about it. That already shows you’re committed to building a strong resume for yourself. We’ve included our best advice here, along with family business resume examples.


First, Does it Need to Be On Your Resume?

It’s not necessary to include every place you’ve worked on your resume. It’s standard to include 3-4 past positions so if you have more relevant or recent work experience, there’s no need to include a family business on your resume at all.

You should include your family business on your resume when (A) It includes experience relevant to the position you’re applying to (B) It’s the last job you worked at. Or (C) You’ve only been in the workforce for a few years and want to demonstrate several years of employment experience.

Family Business Resume Example

DON’T

Don’t: Include When a Job is Irrelevant or Outdated

Applying for: Project Manager at Tree of a Kind Arborists, Inc.


Ice Cream Scooper

Shooting Scoops Courtside Parlor

June 2014-September 2014

  • Greeted customers with a song
  • Guided customers through our flavor selection with samples
  • Skilled at triple and quadruple scoop stacking

DO

Include When the Job is Relevant and Recent

Applying for: Project Manager at Tree of a Kind Arborists, Inc.


Tree Trimmer

Rake and Son’s Landscaping

January 2018 – March 2019

  • Trained in the Ferber Tree Soothing Method of trimming for healthy growth
  • Worked with deciduous and evergreen species
  • Skilled at identifying species by sight

How to Put a Family Business on a Resume? Treat it Like Any Other Job Experience

There’s no need to overthink it. Put it on your resume like you would any other business. Include the name of the company, your job title, the duration of your employment there, and a bulleted list of your work responsibilities and accomplishments.

But while there’s no need to bring up that the business is owned by family, actively trying to hide this from employers can make you look dishonest. If it comes up naturally during the interview process, be honest but make sure to steer the conversation back to your strengths.

For example, if an employer asks, “How did you start working with your previous employer?” you could say, “My cousin owns the shop, so that’s how I knew about it. But I pursued the store management position because I love their products and wanted to head up an enthusiastic team at a growing business.”

Family Business Resume Example

DON’T

Make Your Family Relationship the Focus


Receptionist

Mane Event Horse Salon

04/2018 – Present

  • Business owned by my aunt
  • Greeted my aunt’s customers, took messages for her, and took payment for her services
  • Convinced my aunt to use a better Point of Sale system

DO

Focus on Your Job Skills


Receptionist

Mane Event Horse Salon

04/2018 – Present

  • Greeted customers and their horses at the front desk
  • Answered the phones and took down detailed messages for stylists
  • Processed service payments

Researched, advocated for, and oversaw the transition to a more efficient point of sale system


How to Put a Family Business on Your Resume When the Business Includes Your Last Name

Worried about how to put the family business on a resume when your name could give it away? Our advice remains the same because you aren’t trying to hide that you worked for a family business. It’s just that it’s not relevant to your skillset or experience so there’s no reason to talk about it. The assets that make you qualified for the new position are where the focus should be.


What if You Have the Same Last Name as Your Family Business Reference?

Choosing a family business reference can be tricky. Your uncle or spouse might not come across as the most reliable source of information. And if your employer finds out later that they were misled about your relationship to a reference, that can sour their opinion of you.

When possible, put down someone who’s connected the business but isn’t family. It’s best if this is a supervisor but a co-worker, a supplier you worked closely with, or even a client/customer (with permission from the company) can also be great references.

Sometimes though, you’ll be required to include your immediate supervisor. If this is a family member, we recommend disclosing your relationship to them and offering another reference. This shows integrity and is likely to impress an employer.

No matter who you choose as a family business reference, give them a heads up so that they can think about what to say ahead of time. If anyone on your reference list is family, tell them there’s no need to lie about their relationship to you. If asked how they know you, they should be candid about their relationship, then shift the conversation back to your strengths as an employee.

Family Business Resume Example

DON’T

Hide the Fact that a Reference is Your Family Member


Supervisor:

Suzy Gonzales – Store Owner

Phone: 555-5555

When Required to Put Down an Immediate Supervisor Who is Family

DO

Disclose Your Relationship and Offer an Alternative Reference


Supervisor:

Suzy Gonzales – Store Manager (Family Member)

Phone: 555-5555

Alternative Reference:

Michelle Phelps – Sales Manager

Phone: 555-4444


DO

Choose Non-Family References Whenever Possible

Reference:

Michelle Phelps – Store Manager

Phone: 555-4444


Should I Tell My Family I’m Looking for a Job?

Normally, there’s no obligation to let your boss know you’re looking for work. But when it comes to a family business, we think honesty is the best policy. Your relationships to family should always come first. You don’t want to blindside your relatives and leave them feeling hurt, especially if the stress of COVID-19 has already taken a toll on family business communication.


Can Disclosing That You Worked For a Family Business Ever Help You Get the Job?

When thinking about how to put the family business on your resume, you’re under no obligation to disclose any information that doesn’t make you look like a stronger candidate. However, there are times when it could be beneficial. There’s nothing bad about working for a family business. The only reason to leave it off a resume is that it distracts from what’s important: your skills and experience.

But if you think your experience working with a family business makes you a better candidate for the position you’re applying for, you should absolutely emphasize it on your resume.

This could be the right move if you’re applying to another family business and want them to know that you’re used to working in a family business culture. Or when the company you’re applying to sells their products to family businesses. This could even work in your favor when a company makes a point of emphasizing family business-like values.

Family Business Resume Example

DON’T

Leave Your Family Business Experience Off Your Resume When It’s Relevant

Applying For: Sales Representative at

Paint of Heart – Small Business Paint Supplier

Barn Painter

Farm & Hammer Barn Builders

June 2013 – August 2014

  • Primed and painted barns
  • Inspected paint jobs to make sure it was properly painted

DO

Disclose Your Family Business if it’s Relevant to the Position You’re Applying To

Applying For: Sales Representative at

Paint of Heart – Small Business Paint Supplier

Barn Painter

Farm & Hammer Barn Builders (Family Business)

June 2013 – August 2014

  • Primed and painted barns
  • Inspected paint jobs to make sure it was properly painted
  • As the son and employee of a small business owner, I learned that reliability and honesty make for lasting relationships between suppliers and family businesses

Whether or not you choose to disclose that you’ve worked for a family business is up to you. While you should never try to deceive an employer, your resume is a chance to share everything that makes you the best candidate for the job. If your experience working for your family business has given you relevant experience, say so. If not, there’s simply no reason it has to be said.

And now that you know what to put on your resume, why not head over to our Job Board to start the search? Good luck! You’ve got this.

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