If your company goes bankrupt, it's not a black mark on your résumé — unless you were in charge

If your company goes bankrupt, it's not a black mark on your résumé — unless you were in charge
Police officers outside SVB's headquarters in Santa Clara, California.Getty Images
  • SVB's demise means some are looking for jobs with an infamous employer at the top of their résumé.
  • Career experts told Insider that hiring managers aren't likely to hold it against them.

The swift meltdown of Silicon Valley Bank and the subsequent closing of Signature Bank in New York means workers from both institutions will have to look for a job with a now infamous employer at the top of their résumés.

If you're one of those workers — or anyone who depends on a paycheck from a company that goes bust — what should you do? The good news is that would-be employers aren't likely to hold it against you for having worked somewhere that had a flameout, unless you were in charge.

There are four steps career experts say those thrown out of work by the collapse of an employer should take right away.

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Don't panic — but use your time wisely

It's understandable why you're scared and stressed, but don't panic, said Chelsea Jay, a career coach based in Michigan. "Take a deep breath and start to think about how you will take steps to find new opportunities," she said.

Regulators will need some workers to stick around to help tear down the shuttered institutions. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the government agency that took over SVB on Friday, offered SVB employees 45 days of work at one and a half times their prior salary. But that time will go quickly, so workers should use it well.


Luckily, the overall job market looks pretty good, despite lingering economic uncertainty, so this could be an excellent opportunity for reinvention, Jay told Insider. "Do some self-reflection. Ask yourself: What do I want to do next? Do I want to be in the same industry?"

Be transparent — but don't overexplain

Updating your résumé and LinkedIn profile is the first order of business in any job search, but the task is more delicate when your last employer is out of business

There's no need to overexplain or slap a disclaimer under your summary section. "You don't want anything that's too much of a distraction," said Jay. "You want the hiring manager to be more excited about hiring you than what happened to your company."

Besides, in the case of SVB — the second-biggest bank collapse in US history — most people already know, she said. If you feel the need to broach it, Jay suggests doing so in your cover letter with straightforward language like: "Due to recent events at my bank, I'm looking to pursue opportunities that allow me to expand my knowledge and skills."

Be upfront, not defensive. "And be transparent — but on a need-to-know basis," said Susan Peppercorn, an executive coach and career strategist in Boston.


Consider the hiring manager's perspective

Don't worry about being judged for having a sullied name on your résumé, experts told Insider.

"As an employee, working for a company that's gone under will not mark you," Peppercorn said. "But if you're in the C-suite, it's a whole different situation."

But not every company implosion is front-page news — and not every hiring manager will necessarily know that your last company went under.

If that's the case, Peppercorn recommends a simple sentence on your résumé that describes the circumstances of the company's demise and the date it happened. For example, "Company X went out of business because of unfavorable conditions."

"It helps put your situation into context from the perspective of a résumé reader," she said, adding that this is especially important if you'd been at the company for less than a year. "Otherwise, there'd be a question of why you're leaving after only three or six months."


Keep your references fresh

Making sure you have people who can vouch for your job performance and work ethic is a top priority — especially if you're about to be cut off from the company's communication channels.

Get your references in order and make sure you have the up-to-date, nonwork contact information for your clients, customers, supervisors, and coworkers. "Otherwise you might lose touch," said Jay.

She also recommended combing through your emails and performance reviews and documenting positive feedback. You could even add snippets of these to your résumé and cover letter, she said.

"After the summary section, you can put in testimonials related to your job and any in-demand skills you have," she said. As in, "people have said this about me."