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Family Business on a Resume ― Here’s What You Should Know

Family Business on a Resume ― Here’s What You Should Know

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Any person whose family owns a business has most likely helped out in some way, whether it be casually or seriously.

This work experience is a valuable part of one’s work history, so it should be included on a resume. How to include it depends on a variety of factors, so let’s learn the best ways to do so.


How to Include Family Business Experience on a Resume

Work experience at a family business should be included in the experience section. List it as you would any other job in that section, and do not mention that it was a family business. If it was a sporadic or short-term job, do not include it unless you have no other relevant experience.

Family businesses are a great way to gain experience from a young age, and to be granted opportunities that one would not otherwise have access to.

Families are willing to train from the ground up, whereas other businesses of the same type would not likely take on someone with no experience.

Because of this favoritism, it is not a good idea to let an employer know that your experience was from a family business. They may get the wrong idea and assume that you were only hired because you were a family member, and not because of your skills.

 To best avoid this, you need to format family business experience in a way that doesn’t point this fact out blatantly. Let’s review how this can be done.


The implications of  family business experience on a resume

A family business is a business that is owned by a family and is usually smaller scale and family-oriented. For resume purposes, this means it is a business owned by members of your own family. This could include your immediate family, or even distant relatives. 

The idea is that a family business may give you opportunities because you are family, and not necessarily because you are qualified for the job.

It’s not a bad thing to give an inexperienced person a chance, but you should keep in mind how this portrays your qualifications to a new employer.


How to put family business experience in the experience section

Family business experience should be formatted by including the company name, your position, and the dates worked. Include a list of the main responsibilities and achievements from this work below the main information. Do not include any information which reveals it is a family business.

This experience at a family business should look exactly like the other jobs in the experience section. The name of the company should come first, followed by your position. Family employees may fill in at many different positions but try to reduce it to one main position.

If you are unable to lower it down to one, then label the position as something generic such as “restaurant staff” or “front-end employee”. You may also include a double position such as “bartender/hostess”, but never include more than two positions as space is limited. 

You should include around 3-4 bullet points per job on your resume, so think about which responsibilities are the most impressive to an employer. 

You must also decide whether or not you are going to style your resume in a way that uses periods with bullet points. You may choose whether to use periods or not, but you must remain consistent with every bullet point across your entire resume.

When formatted correctly, a family business should look like the following:


Sam’s Subs Sandwiches – General Employee (6-2014) – (8-2016)

  • Greeted customers and took orders at the register, handling cash and card transactions.
  • Prepared food according to food safety protocols in a fast-paced environment.
  • Assisted in the cleaning and upkeep of the restaurant’s appearance.

When formatted like the above, it looks like a professional job like any other. Even family business jobs which are quite serious and rigid will come off as less valuable when referred to as family-given, so make sure that family isn’t mentioned in your experience section. 


Is it bad to include family business experience on a resume?

It’s not a bad idea to include family business experience on a resume, but there may be better jobs to include. If the experience is a regular part or full-time job, then include it. If the work was sporadic or a temporary job, it’s best to include something else instead. 

Because family businesses often ask family members for help “off-the-books” or unofficially, the hours or days worked can be sporadic. When listing jobs on a resume, employers are typically only interested in longer-term regular job experiences. 

As an example, a job that was worked once or twice every two weeks for the last two years is different than someone who worked 30 hours a week at a job for two years.

Include experiences with regular hours if possible or be ready to be honest about it during your interview if you do include a non-regular position.  


Can you list family business experience if you worked as a child?

If you helped at a family business as a child, then you can include this in your resume until you have “real” experience to replace it. In this case, you would highlight that it was a family business. Leave out the job title, as it was not an official job due to your age.

Within family businesses, it is not unusual for children to help with small tasks such as washing the windows or throwing in a load of laundry which includes the cloth napkins, etc.

While this is not exactly working experience, it does show responsibility from a young age!

This would be useful for those who are just entering the working world. The question of “what counts as work experience is often asked by those who have not held a real job yet, and this is an instance where non-traditional experience can be used. 

It’s a good idea to highlight that it was a family business in this case, otherwise an employer will wonder how you had been “working” at age 13. If you are applying for your first job and want something to include on your resume, you can format it as follows:


Sam’s Subs Sandwiches (6-2014) – (8-2016)

  • Helped out at my family’s business sweeping floors and washing countertops.
  • Gave ideas for a ‘sandwich of the month’ and made promo pages for the menu.
  • Greeted customers and saw them to their tables on busy days.

Be aware that this experience is only suitable to be used on a resume for your very first employer. Once you are old enough to have held a real job you should not be including this ‘grey area’ job experience.