references when a company goes under

A reader writes:

Since my last employer is going out of business (Circuit City), how would I list the information on my resume? I want to list it because it was valuable experience for the field I want to go into.

And even if I list the information, how will employers verify my employment there? And if they can’t, does that have a negative outlook on my resume?

You should absolutely list your employment there; the fact that they may no longer be in business doesn’t impact that. As for how employers can verify it, I strongly recommend keeping in touch with your manager there, and all your managers from former jobs, so that you have their contact information even when they move on to other companies. That’s a good idea regardless, because many prospective employers will want to speak to references who actually managed you, rather than someone in HR who can only confirm dates of employment and so forth.

Is it too late to track down your manager? If he or she is no longer there, I recommend contacting Circuit City’s HR (they’re still around, at least so far) and asking for their help.

{ 6 comments… read them below }

  1. Sadistic Manager*

    Big check mark to this advice. Keep that network going, even if the company is no longer in business.

    And in future, ask for a solid method of contact for any managers you might have. If I’m willing to give a reference for a departing employee, I make sure they take one of my business cards with my cell phone number written on the back – just in case. If you’re told you can expect a good reference, make sure your contact information is as permanent as possible.

  2. Amy*

    Just to add to that… make sure to keep in touch with your former supervisors, too. Call or email to check in every now and then. This way you’re building your network, you’re not just calling out of the blue for a reference, and you’re more likely to have current contact info when you do need it. You may want to consider connecting to your managers on a site like LinkedIn – personally, I think it’s easier to manage contact info that way.

  3. Wally Bock*

    You’ve gotten good advice so far. If you’ve got copies of performance reviews, use them as reference support.

  4. Kerry*

    If I know the company has gone under, I don’t usually sweat the employment verification…but you can ask your manager for a letter verifying that you worked there. At my last job, we had to let about 2/3 of the company go, and we provided letters to everyone, on letterhead, verifying dates of employment, title, and salary.

    I would agree that LinkedIn is a great tool as well…in fact, you might want to start a group for Circuit City employees, if one doesn’t already exist. I’m a member of several alumni groups for old employers, and it’s a great way to keep in touch.

    Good luck–sorry you’re going through this.

  5. Silly Mommy is...*

    I, too, am a former employee of Circuit City of a couple of years ago, but the skills I gained there are crucial to a few of the jobs I am applying for currently.
    The two years of managerial experience I gained while working for this company is impressive for someone of my age and work history (a current 23 year old stay-at-home mom) but based on the advice given in this article, I have no way of verifying my employment.
    I have made an excellent impression, personality wise, on former employers after working with Circuit City before my son was born and I wonder if this will not change although the company is no longer in existence.
    Other than maintaining contact with former employers (which I do not have) is there ultimately a way for a potential employer to verify my employment without having any contact phone numbers on my application or resume?

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