Should I Include This Job on My Resume? Part I

A three part blog chain on what should and shouldn’t be included on your resume. Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Dear Steve,

I hate my new job. I worked at my old company for 12 years but was let go in a major restructuring. I found a new job, and I’ve been here for four months, but I hate it, and I’m going to quit.

My question is: Should I include this job on my resume?

— Wondering

This is a common question — but there’s no one simple answer. As with many job search-related issues, the answer is: it depends.

The first thing to think about when deciding whether or not to include a short-term position on your resume is whether it was planned as a short-term position, or if it simply ended up that way.

If the job was a contract position, the usual answer is: Yes, include it. Make sure to describe it as such: “Hired for temporary, three-month role during maternity leave of key staffer.”

Hiring managers are often sympathetic to short-term engagements when the circumstances are explained.

On the other hand, if the position wasn’t meant to be short-term, it may be wise to find a way to make it seem like it wasn’t as short. You could include it on the resume but list your experience by year, instead of month/year to month/year. (Which you should already be doing anyway.)

For example, list the experience as ABC Incorporated (2019) vs. ABC Incorporated (March 2019 – August 2019).

Also consider whether you can “group” the role with other positions. For example, if you had several short-term roles — even if they were not technically temporary jobs — think about whether you can combine them into a single description.

For example, if you had a sales role with company ABC for 8 months but left for a better opportunity with company XYZ — but only worked there for a year — consider listing the positions jointly as “Sales Representative, ABC/XYZ” with the inclusive dates. This only works, however, if the titles and work responsibilities are nearly identical.

If the job wasn’t intended to be short-term — but ended up that way because you were fired, or you quit because you didn’t like the job/company/people, consider leaving it off. But even in this situation, there are exceptions.

For example, did you learn any new skills in this role, or use any skills that aren’t described elsewhere on your resume? If so, you may want to include the position so that you can showcase those skills.

Did you work for a name-brand company (for example, a well-known startup or Fortune 500 company) or did you work with a name-brand client in the scope of your work in that role? You may want to include the position on the resume to increase the search engine optimization (SEO) of the resume for applicant tracking systems — or simply to impress a hiring manager.

Will having this position on your resume help position you for a career change? Even if your time in the position wasn’t long, if having that experience helps you bridge the transition from one career to the next, consider including it.

For Part II click here.