Should I Put a Really Short-Term Job on a Resume?

Should you put a really short-term job on a resume? Like one that you held for just a few months? That's what Mike wants to know. He took a chance at a new job and it didn't work out. He lasted five months and then he quit.

Mike was lucky. His former employer took him back so the work history on his resume is seamless — except for that five-month job.

Here's what Mike (not his real name) asked about listing that short-term job on a resume. After his question, you'll find my technique for solving his problem.

What About My Five-Month Job?

Susan,
I worked at a company for 5 years, left for 5 months, and then returned to the same company. On my resume I have listed just years, thus leaving out the 5-month gap (because the gap happened within the same year).

During those 5 months I worked at another company. I didn't list that company on my resume and job application. How would the company I'm applying to now find that out?
- Mike

How to Deal With a Short-Term Job on a Resume

Mike,
You don't need to mention your short-term job at the second company on your resume. You do, however, need to list it on your job application form.

I suggest you list the dates on your resume like this:

2006-2011, 2011-present, Job Title, ABC Company

That little comma between the two sets of dates acknowledges that there was a break in employment with ABC Company without going into detail about how long it was or what happened during that break.

But, on your job application form, list the dates like this:

July 2, 2011 - present, ABC Company
Feb 2, 2011 - July 1, 2011, DEF Company
Mar 6, 2006 - Feb 1, 2011, ABC Company

Many employers run background checks on job seekers but those background checks are not usually done until after the job application forms are filled out and job interviews are done. With your resume and job application form in sync like this, you should pass a background check with flying colors!

Best of luck with your job search, Mike!

For more answers to questions about listing work history on a resume, check out these posts.