How to Decide Whether to Omit a Job from Your Resume

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 - Resume

by Matt Alderton |
August 22, 2017

If you’re looking for a new job, your old ones could come back to haunt you — especially if they ended badly. An easy way to stop such jobs from biting you is to leave them off your resume altogether. But is that really wise?

It depends, according to Glassdoor blog contributor Anish Majumdar. “First things first: you are under zero obligation to list every position you’ve ever held. The resume is a marketing document, not a legal one. Its purpose is to make you look like an absolute rock star, and if omitting a role helps accomplish that, you should certainly consider it,” Majumdar says. “But there’s an important caveat. Your credibility as a candidate is all-important. And if your choice undercuts that credibility, you are now dealing with a far larger problem than a job that simply didn’t end well — because a hiring manager that doesn’t trust you will never tap you for the role.”

To decide whether a job should stay or go, start by thinking about how long you had the job.

“If the job lasted six months or less, then you should be able to easily remove it from the resume without negative repercussions,” Majumdar says. “Be sure to convert all of the dates listed for jobs to year only (ex. 2012-2014). This is a simple and highly effective way to cover up short-term gaps like this.”

Also, ask yourself what the job communicates about you.

“Totally random positions which don’t in any way support your current aspirations can make employers question your level of commitment,” Majumdar continues. “In these types of situations, it’s best to leave it off.”

On the other hand, if you were at a job longer than a year, or it’s the only way to show you have certain experience or skills, you’re better off keeping it and explaining the situation later if you’re asked about it.

“Include it within the resume and have an interview story ready to go about how this was a crucial learning experience,” Majumdar advises. “Remember: Sharing details about a hard situation that you successfully navigated can be a powerful way to impress employers.”

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