Can't Remember Short-Term Job Dates on a Resume

Sometimes it's hard to remember job dates if they were a long time ago or they were for short-term jobs that went by quickly. So, what should you put on your resume for those job dates?

Deb had that problem. Here's what I told her.

Can't Remember Dates of a Short-Term Job on My Resume

Hello Susan,
I am looking to get back into the job market after years of sporadic employment. I have kept very poor records. How important is that, or can I fudge it?
- Deb

Hi Deb,
Boy, can I relate to not remembering exactly when things happened, especially when they were short-lived and eons ago. And sometimes finding my old records is out of the question.

The good news: You may not need to list ALL those short-term jobs (I'll explain in a minute).

The bad news (well, really it's good news): It's a bad idea to fudge on your resume. But, as you'll see, I don't think you'll need to.

Here's where to start:
Make a list of all the jobs you CAN remember. Beside each one, write the dates you worked that job.

If you can't remember the exact month and year, use these brain ticklers to help jog your memory:

  • What season was it? (Was there snow on the ground? Smell of fresh cut grass? Kids in or out of school? Try to pull up a clue as to the season and then maybe the month will come to you.)
  • What year was it? (What music was playing on the radio? What fashions were people wearing? What was happening in the news? Did you have a big event in your life around that time, such as a big birthday party? Anything come to mind that links the job to a year?)

Even if you can't come up with months, seasons, or years, maybe you can put all your jobs in order chronologically. That might help you figure out a rough date range.

Okay, once you have that done, see if you can group those short-term jobs into one or more groups with a wide date range for each group. Then you can list all or some of the short-term jobs under the group heading.

For example:

Administrative support, 2005-2012
Positions at: ABC Company, DEF Firm, HIJ Organization

  • An achievement that's relevant to your job objective.
  • Another achievement.
  • And maybe another one.

See, we didn't have to fudge at all! Does this work for you? Hopefully you won't have any gaps in the dates.

If you want to see how other people handled short-term jobs on their resumes, check out: Resume Samples With Short-Term Jobs

Good luck with your move into steady employment. And welcome back to the wild and crazy world of job search!