Next move: Should I reveal my web agency work?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

Should I reveal my web agency work?

I have a full-time job as well as running a small web agency to enable me to make ends meet. I am looking for another full-time position, but on my CV should I own up to running the web agency, which could be seen as showing initiative, drive and determination, or would it be seen in a negative light by a potential future employer? If I do not own up to it, am I withholding information from my employer which could lead to termination of employment, even though it could be argued to be a hobby?

Be honest or go for contract work

Your CV must be a complete and accurate reflection of your work situation and capabilities. If you were less than honest with any prospective employer and the information came to light, which it inevitably will, the position of trust you will have established with your employer will certainly be undermined.

Some potential employers will see your web business as enterprising and evidence of your ability to multi-task, but some will see it as an outside concern that will detract from your ability to focus on your job. Unfortunately, that is a risk you will have to take.

Many employers will give you a contract that will state that you must obtain written approval from the company to pursue outside business interests. Your web agency is a business interest, not a hobby, because you are accepting payment for services rendered. If you accepted a job after omitting to tell your employer about it, you would be breaching that contract, which could result in termination.

Of course, there is an easy way around this situation: seek contract work. As a contractor, you would be self-employed and therefore would not need to declare your business interests to any firm that employs you.

Solution by Jason D'Silva Williams, manager, commercial IT recruitment, Hudson

The panel: Plan-Net Services, Zarak Technology, Hudson, Reed Technology, Spring Group

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