Palladian Career Resources

Describing Employers on Your Resume

Describing Employers on Your Resume

There are 20 million companies in the US.  Although a hiring manager may recognize a few thousand of these, it is impossible to know what all 20 million do.  For most job seekers, this offers a potential pitfall.  Your past employers may be completely unknown to the hiring managers reading your resume.

When a hiring manager has not heard of a company, they will not do research.  The hiring manager screens hundreds of resumes. Googling every unknown company would be an incredibly time consuming activity.  The hiring manager will try to piece together what the company does from what you did at the company.  This is difficult and often leaves a lot of ambiguity in your experience.

You want a hiring manager to understand the context of what you did.  This requires giving background on the company.  Despite this, few job seekers include details about their employers. 

You can improve your resume by offering a few minor details on each employer.  I like to get an estimate of the size of the company.  For example, consider two production supervisors.  One worked for a small job shop with fifteen employees.  The other worked for a large Tier 1 automotive supplier with over 1,500 employees in the facility and more than 20,000 worldwide.  Some of the responsibilities of the two people will be similar, but many will be different.  The job shop will necessitate a wider range of challenges with the supervisor adapting to a lot of different roles on a daily or hourly basis.  The auto supplier is likely to have much more structured procedures and a more limited range of responsibilities.

The differences between the two candidates do not make one candidate better than the other.  They just show a difference in experience.  Some companies will value one of the backgrounds more than the other.  It is likely a small job shop will prefer a candidate coming from a similar type of organization, and an auto supplier will prefer a candidate from a similarly large organization.

The importance of the type of company offers you an opportunity to improve your resume.  By clearly showing the type of organizations you have worked for, you can help the hiring manager screening your resume to better understand how you can fit into their company.  To do this, you only need to add a sentence to each job listing.

I like to list work experience with the company name first and the job titles underneath.  This highlights the time you spent with each organization and is most effective for people who held multiple positions with the same employer.  With this structure, I put the details of the company right below the company name.  Although it is important to describe an employer, I consider this lower priority information and will make the font size small.  I want the reader to be able to learn about the company if they are interested, but will make a job seeker’s accomplishments stand out to be the first thing read.


Work Experience

Widget, Inc., Capital City, State 1/2005 to Present

Tier 1 automotive supplier with $1 billion in revenues. The Capital City plant had 1,000 employees.

Production Supervisor

This structure gives an easy way to describe the employer without detracting from the most important information on your resume.  It also takes up very little space as the description of the company is in a very small font.

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