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A friend is bidding on a IT project, and he needs to include my résumé with his response to the bid; I'm the "Subject Matter Expert." I will be helping him outside of my regular working hours.

How do folks in the IT field handle such résumé submissions? First of all, I don't want to include (or exclude) anything that would be misleading or untrue, but my concern is that in my field people know each other and I don't want my current employer finding out that I have submitted a résumé with another company especially when I am not an employee of my friend's company. All in all, I want to avoid the awkwardness of my employer finding out (and the worse of whatever that might lead to), yet balance that with helping a friend.

So my question is, what should I leave out or retain? What is appropriate?


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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Tell your current employer your intentions with this side project.

If your area is as well connected as you say that is the only way to keep all parties happy and keep your job. Secrets don't make good friends. Lastly this allows you to include your current work in your resume that you submit with the project.

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Thank you all who took the time to respond and offer their advice. It is nice to have a community to reach out to for tough questions like these. I spoke to my boss, and he is fine with it as long as there is no conflict on interest and it does not impact my primary duties. Sigh of Relief I wish I could accept all the answers. –  KM. Dec 8 '11 at 21:08

The simple answer is, you shouldn't be worrying about what to leave out or retain, because you shouldn't be worrying awkwardness if your employer finds out, because your employer should know up front, because you have a responsibility to disclose this to them.

Seriously. If you're considering employment on the side, your current employer has a right to know about it. It is very likely that the papers you signed way back when you started out say something to this effect.

Even if you are 100% sure that your side-projects have nothing to do with your current employment, and that there is no risk of conflict-of-interest or confidentiality issues, your employer has the right to know, and decide that for themselves. In all likelihood, there's not going to be a problem, and you'll be able to go forward without worrying about keeping secrets. If your employer does have a problem, then you really do need to take their views into consideration before going forward.

To clarify language regarding 'right to know', and 'responsibility': It is my opinion that, in general principle, your employer really does have a right to know about outside work, an exercise judgement over possible conflicts. More specifically, professional engineers will also almost certainly have legal obligations to this effect. (I use 'professional engineer' in a legal sense. In Canada, by law, the title may only be used by member of a professional engineering organization, which is a provincial regulatory body. Things do vary from country to country, but my understanding is that such organizations are the norm in the developed world. If you don't know how things work in your jurisdiction, you're probably not a professional engineer in this sense, so you probably don't have to worry about it.). I can say for a certainty that what the OP proposes to do is explicitly disallowed by the Professional Engineers Ontario Code of Ethics, and is hence professional misconduct for a licensed P.Eng in this province. I'm not going to go through all the different P.Eng organizations' codes, but they are generally very similar throughout much of the developed world. Most of this should get drilled into first year engineering students pretty thoroughly.

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+1, tell your current employer and spare yourself a lot of worries –  Pål Brattberg Dec 4 '11 at 21:40
I'm not sure you employer does have a right to know - I guess ultimately it all comes down to what your employment contract says but I don't think I've ever signed one that expressly forbade me from moonlighting. That said, most contracts do have something in them about conflict of interest so if your friends project could be seen as competing with the activities of your employer then you probably should get the OK, just for your own peace of mind. –  MarcE Dec 4 '11 at 22:22
This doesn't apply in general, but what the OP is proposing to do would be professional misconduct for a P.Eng in Ontario. Quoting from the Professional Engineers of Ontario Code of Ethics: "A practitioner who is an employee-engineer ... must provide the practitioner's client with a written statement of the nature of the practitioner's status as an employee ... and must inform the practitioner's employer of the work." –  ipeet Dec 4 '11 at 23:57
@ipeet - you learn something new every day! –  MarcE Dec 5 '11 at 9:04
You should mention in your answer that it is following a set of localized rules. –  JeffO Dec 5 '11 at 9:32

You should consult with your employer before taking the job. Your employment contract might constrain you from taking certain other jobs when employed in your current position. Your contract might limit you from taking any opportunities, it might limit you from taking opportunities that compete with your company, or it may not have any restrictions. Your employer's HR, legal, and ethics departments would be able to help with this. Or you can go through your immediate supervisor to find out who exactly in your organization you can talk to.

Hiding things from your employer and violating your employment contract are things you don't want to do. Keeping secrets from your employer is a good way to burn bridges when it comes to promotions, raises, and references should you leave the company. Violating an employment contract is a good way to risk your job or face legal action in a worst-case situation.

From an ethical standpoint, accepting the work is only problematic if it is detrimental to the work you are doing for your primary employer or if there is a conflict of interest. In addition, you must be honest about all of your experiences and education to all employers and potential employers. From the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice:

2.01. Provide service in their areas of competence, being honest and forthright about any limitations of their experience and education.

2.08. Accept no outside work detrimental to the work they perform for their primary employer.

4.05. Disclose to all concerned parties those conflicts of interest that cannot reasonably be avoided or escaped.

I would update your resume so that it is accurate and complete, talk to your employer to make sure accepting this position is OK within the legal limits of your contract, and if there is no legal or ethical problem with the opportunity, accept it and add it to your resume as relevant work experience if it goes through.

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