Legal Meets Practical: Accessible Solutions

Jump Through That Tiny Hoop! The VetBiz Resume

No one likes writing their resume, and this situation isn’t any different. But does it really have to be this difficult?

As many veteran small business owners know, in order to participate in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans First Contracting Program, a business must be listed in the VA’s VetBiz Vendor Information Pages (VetBiz). VetBiz is administered by the Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE).

When applying to be listed in VetBiz, one of the necessary documents a business must submit is a resume. The CVE asks for the resume of all owners, directors, partners, officers, and key personnel. The CVE’s rationale for requiring resumes is these will allow the Examination team to determine each individual’s position within the applicant company, their jobs and responsibilities, as well as address experience and possible outside employment.

As a certified CVE counselor, there are a number of red flags I look for in a resume:

  • Does a resume show that someone other than the veteran is the President (or highest officer)? 
  • Does a resume list outside employment that might prohibit the veteran from showing he works for the business on a full-time basis?
  • Does a resume demonstrate that someone other than the veteran holds a license necessary for the business to operate?
  • Does a resume reflect a lack of management experience possessed by the veteran?

These are all elements the CVE considers when determining whether the veteran “controls” the business applicant, which is an eligibility requirement for listing in VetBiz. In order to show that a veteran controls the business, it must be demonstrated that the veteran is responsible for the day-to-day and long-term management of the company, that he works full-time during normal business hours, and that he possesses the requisite management experience. Failure to show any of these is grounds for denial.

I completely agree that the CVE should do what is necessary to make sure that a veteran is truly in charge of a business seeking verification on VetBiz. Towards that end, a resume can be a necessary component in making that determination.

At the same time, the resume requirement can be an unnecessary thorn in veteran owners’ sides. The CVE specifically requires resumes to contain the following information: education and training received; former employers; dates of employment; position titles and responsibilities; and present employer, date of hire and position title and responsibilities. This is very precise information, and if a veteran does not submit a resume that conforms to these parameters, he will receive a notice from CVE that additional information/documentation (ie, a revised resume) is necessary in order to process his application. This is frustrating, especially for the veteran business owner who has been running his own shop for decades. Should he really be required to draft an entirely new resume to fit these requirements?

The CVE has good intentions here, and I understand the general need for a resume. However, in some instances, veterans should be afforded some slack. As long as a resume enables the CVE to determine whether a veteran is truly managing the applicant business and has the experience to do so, it shouldn’t be concerned with whether he listed his position title for a job he held five years ago in an unrelated field (and yes, the CVE will ask the veteran to revise and re-submit his resume if he forgets to include that!).

Also, if a veteran operates a solo proprietorship or single-member LLC or corporation, and has done so for a number of years, he should be permitted to submit a Letter of Explanation in a resume’s place. Don’t make the Vietnam veteran who has successfully run his business for thirty years jump through that hoop. He’ll get stuck, and you want him in the VetBiz program. After all, isn’t the point of the program to have as many eligible businesses listed as possible?

Did you find this article informative? If so, sign up for my weekly blog at: http://www.legalmeetspractical.com. Also, the homepage for the CVE and the VetBiz program may be accessed at: http://vetbiz.gov.

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