Maybe you took on a short-term job during a break from school or while furloughed from your primary employment. Perhaps you participated in a brief internship. Or maybe you took a job then decided it wasn’t right for you – or, you were terminated during your probationary period.
If one of these circumstances sounds familiar, you may be wondering whether you should include your short-term employment on your resume. Whether your job lasted for two weeks, a few days, or a few months, we’ll help you determine whether including this experience will help or harm your chances of getting the job.
Need more help setting up your resume and deciding what to include? Check here for insightful resume examples.
It is a common misconception that you have to include every job you’ve ever had on your resume. In fact, most experts agree that you shouldn’t include jobs that ended more than 10 years ago on your resume. And if you’ve had a lot of different jobs in the past decade, limit your resume list to just three.
But what if your recent experience includes very short-term work, such as a job that lasted only two weeks? Should it go on your resume? Consider the following.
Under some very specific circumstances, short-term work can lend valuable skills and experience to your resume.
During high school and college, you may not have held a regular job. Instead, you might have taken a summer job or incidental work during shorter school vacations.
Now you’ve graduated and are entering the workforce for the first time. In this circumstance, you just want something in your work experience section to show that you’re a go-getter with a good work ethic. Put those short-term jobs to work. Your hiring manager will be aware that you’ve just graduated, and the short duration of the jobs will not reflect badly on you.
In the same vein, if you’re entering the workforce with no “real” work experience, you may have interned or volunteered with various organizations – even for a short time. Again, having this experience on your resume in lieu of standard work experience is a good thing.
In some cases, a short-term job you had in the past may be extremely relevant to the job to which you are now applying.
For example, imagine you’re making a mid-career change. You were an architectural engineer, but now you’re applying to a company that specializes in biological engineering. In the distant past, you worked for just three weeks at a zoological institution. Suddenly, that brief experience has become relevant.
Leveraging experience in this way may require you to use a skills-based functional or hybrid resume format.
Sometimes, you may take a short-term job to help bolster your finances or get through a furlough. At other times, you might take a job but soon decide it is not a good fit for you.
These circumstances aren’t bad in themselves, but brief stints of work can make your future boss wonder if you’ve got a problem with workplace performance, interpersonal relationships, or if you got fired.
To avoid having to explain a short-term job, sometimes it’s easier to just leave it off your resume. Consider omitting jobs that:
- You took on a second job for a short time.
- You worked while between jobs, whether you were laid off, quit, or were fired.
- You were let go during the probationary period.
- Consisted of many small contracts or projects.
- Ended years ago.
- Don’t leave a noticeable gap in your work experience.
If you worked a job or series of jobs for a few months during a gap in your regular employment, you may worry that the gap will make you look bad if you leave them out.
Generally, a gap of a few months doesn’t look bad at all. After all, it can take months to navigate the hiring process at some companies or to find a job with the right fit.
You can also make gaps less noticeable by leaving months off your resume timeline. Just state the years instead. Even if the gap lasted from January to December, for example, the gap disappears if one job ended and the other began in the same year.
There are specific circumstances in which short-term employment can be helpful on your resume – for example, if you are a student entering the workforce or if the experience is extremely relevant to the job at hand. In other cases, you can leave short-term employment off without creating a glaring career gap.