If Mary Kay was your main “job” for any length of time and now you’re searching for a real job, you may feel like you have to put it on your resumé. How would you explain the gap in employment otherwise?
And yet…. You know that participation in an MLM may reflect negatively on you. Many people don’t view MLM as a legitimate career. (And they’re right.) Could admitting to being a Mary Kay Lady work against you on your resumé?
Am I being too harsh? As an employer, if I see someone put a MLM “job” on their resume (and they usually add their ridiculous rank as their title), it’s an automatic “no” pile. I feel that putting MLM “experience” on there shows that the candidate makes poor decisions and also, they obviously haven’t learned how poor of a decision they made if they put it on a resume. In addition, IMO, MLM’s provide no valuable training and I don’t want to risk hiring someone who may still be enticed by a MLM and try to bring that crap in my company. Your thoughts?
Someone responded with a link to Ask a Manager, where someone asked if a person in an MLM should put “business owner” on their resume. Allison Green responded that MLM people are salespeople, not business owners. She says the MLMs tell you that you’re a business owner “… probably because it helps them disguise the reality that a huge percentage of the people who sell their products don’t make a profit, and even lose money.” Most importantly, she noted that if you call yourself a business owner, most people would think that’s not an honest description of what you did in MLM, and that will make you look bad.
Ask a Manager recommends leaving MLM off your resumé all together “… because of the strong stigma against them (due to their exploitative business model, which especially preys on women) and because it’s a hard sell to argue MLMs provide their reps with provide transferable skills. Most of the time, including an MLM on a resume will be a negative, not a positive.”
I agree that it’s best to leave MLM off your resumé, off your LinkedIn profile, and not mention it in a job interview. But what about those who were sales directors or executive sales directors etc.? Isn’t that a great success that should be discussed? Aren’t there great skills that were learned in Mary Kay?
Again, I think the downside risk is too great. Chances are the person looking at resumés will see it as a negative. If you have a gap in jobs because of your time in Mary Kay, I’d rather see you explain the gap by saying you took time off to care for your family. You decided to be a stay-at-home mom for a while, you had family responsibilities that were time-consuming, you wanted to focus on your family for a period of time, and so on. You don’t have to be specific about it, and most employers don’t hold that type of thing against you if you’re qualified for the job you’ve applied for and you’ve kept your skills current.
What do you think former Mary Kay reps should do when it comes to their resumés?