Should I Mention Bernie Madoff on My Resume?
Eight years ago I retired early. I am re-entering the workforce because a major portion of my assets were invested with Bernie Madoff. Before I retired I was a CFO of a mid-size company. Should I include an introductory paragraph in my resume, or use the objective statement to explain why I am returning to the workforce? I fear that without such information, someone reading my resume will see the eight-year gap of real work and chuck my resume.
During the period 2002 to the present I did some minor consulting work and participated in some entrepreneurial activities. Nothing of real significance but certainly enough to state that I've been working as an Independent Accounting Professional and Consultant. Prior to retiring I worked as CFO/COO for mid-sized corporations in the managed care industry. My goal is to attain a similar position.
How do I let the reader know that my recent eight-year span was an intentional sabbatical from the corporate world -- not a period of unemployment because no one would hire me?
From the Desk of Susan Ireland
I see two parts to this situation:
1. How to present this unemployed period on your resume in such a way that it gets your foot in the door for an interview.
Don't mention Bernie Madoff at all on your resume. Your personal finances are your business, nobody else's. Simply refer to your Independent Professional Accountant experience for that time of retirement, perhaps citing a few specific projects or clients if they are noteworthy. Write confidently and unapologetically about your consulting so the prospective employer with view it as a valuable addition to your corporate experience.
2. How to talk about that time once you're in the interview.
If pressed for an explanation, say that you retired in 2002, and then became an Independent Professional Accountant as a way to supplement your income. As we all know, the economy has forced many people who were in full or partial retirement back into the workforce. Emphasize that you have valuable expertise and many good years ahead of you, which you'd like to offer to an employer.
More Advice from Maureen Nelson, Resume Writer
I agree with Susan completely. Don't mention Bernie Madoff. If they know about your involvement with Madoff, people might think you have poor judgment. On your resume, you could include quotes from your clients.
Are you doing any volunteer work? If so, add that. If not, start right away with SCORE or Taproot. No reason to sit around. Also, float your resume to headhunters who specialize in your area. (Check out Kennedy Information's Red Book for names and contact info.)
Readers, how do you advise this job seeker who needs to transition from retirement back into corporate leadership?