Are You Exempt? Don't Talk About Hours

If you are an exempt employee (you are not paid an hourly rate, and you are exempt from overtime laws) don't talk about hours. Don't talk about hours in your resume, cover letter, or interview. Why?

If I am interviewing you for an exempt position, I am hiring you to do a job, even it takes more than 40 hours per week. I want to imagine you successfully doing this job, working with me, without worrying about your time. Guess what? If I hire you, we will never talk about your attendance or your schedule. We will talk about your performance, but if you don't punch a clock, I'm not going to manage your time.

You might be thinking, "I never bring up hours when looking for a job". It is my experience that most candidates do, especially those who have more non-exempt (hourly) experience than exempt.

Here's what it may sound/look like:

  • "Consistently stayed late to help deliver project on-time" appearing in a resume or cover letter
  • "Often worked on my scheduled days off" appearing in a resume or cover letter
  • "I will work as many hours as it takes to get the job done" in a follow up e-mail after an interview

Phrases like those can prevent a hiring manager from visualizing you as an exempt employee. Talk about your results independent of the hours you work.