Explaining Short-term Employment | Jobs In VT
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Explaining Short-term Employment

By: Melissa Cardin

By Melissa Cardin,Workplace Success

There can come a time in a job search where you may feel the need to take a position just to get you by until the "right job" comes along. If you're lucky, the job you've been wanting comes along sooner (rather than later) and you are only at the interim position for a short while.

But then, the time will come to update your resume and you'll need to decide the best way to discuss the short-term position. There are two schools of thought on how to handle this:

Leave It Off Entirely

If you were only there for a week or two, it might be best to leave the position off your resume completely. You will likely not be there long enough to gain a positive reference, and if you quit on your own, it may not be worth it to explain it in an interview. If the job you vacated does not relate to the position you are applying for, it may not be crucial to add it to your resume.

Some employers may feel that if they saw a two-month, four-month, or seven-month gap on a person's resume, it could appear that you were a job-hopper or reflect negatively in some way. However, many people believe that a job should have lasted at least 12 months to appear on a resume.

Add It In

If you were the victim of a layoff, or you have been only working for the company for about a month and you're applying to other jobs, it can't hurt to show that you are not languishing in unemployment. In fact, it can be a great opportunity to showcase some of your strengths at your current position, especially if you had any new learning opportunities or produced any excellent results while there.

Sometimes short stints produce solid results that the job seeker can document. Short-term contracts are easily explained by either mentioning that you took the position to get experience in a certain area or by explaining that no matter what, you must always work and this was the only position available at the time.

However, you need to evaluate the position in question and find the most viable and least offensive reason why you left the company so soon. Once you decide, use that reason consistently in all of your correspondence with potential employers. You never know when one hiring manager might know another from a different company.

Which Way Is the Right Way to Go?

Ultimately, that decision is up to you. You know yourself best, and what you feel comfortable with doing. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some feel that leaving a position off is lying, while others feel that it isn't necessary, unless it's related to the field you are working in. You don't have to fill in every single job title for every single position that you held, but just describe the roles in more general terms, such as sales, admin, or quality assurance, for example.

When including details of temporary jobs on a resume, try to focus on those positions, companies and achievements which are most relevant to the permanent job to which you are applying.


Melissa Cardin is a program facilitator with Workplace Success through Southern New Hampshire Services, Inc., teaching work skills to program-eligible clients and helping them gain real work experience through formal volunteer assignments. She has spent several years working with families experiencing homelessness, helping them to meet goals that will help them achieve self-sufficiency.