This is how to find a job if your last one only lasted a few months (or even 10 days)

Friday, August 4th, 2017 - Resume

Whether you’re Anthony Scaramucci or an average Joe, you may not want to include a short-lived job on your résumé.

On Monday, the White House announced that financier Anthony Scaramucci would be leaving his post as White House communication director after holding it for just 10 days. The exit coincided with John Kelly’s first day as President Trump’s chief of staff — Kelly replaced former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who had been in the role for slightly more than six months since Trump’s inauguration.

Scaramucci and Priebus join other Trump administration officials who departed after relatively short tenures, including White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Michael Flynn, who served less than a month as the president’s national security adviser.

’If you worked somewhere close to or just over a year, I would include it because a gap of 12 months or more will catch an employer’s attention. If it was six months or less and you don’t want to bring unnecessary attention towards it, you can leave it out.’


Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for job search website CareerBuilder

While these men won’t necessarily need to worry about their résumés, average Americans in similar circumstances could be better off not featuring jobs they held for such a short tenure on résumés, experts say. The general rule of thumb: Any job held for less than six months can be left off a résumé.

“If you worked somewhere close to or just over a year, I would include it because a gap of 12 months or more will catch an employer’s attention,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for job search website CareerBuilder. “If it was six months or less and you don’t want to bring unnecessary attention towards it, you can leave it out.”

Of course, there are exceptions to this recommendation. College graduates may not have a great deal of experience beyond short-term internships. People later in their careers may hold a string of shorter-term positions or consulting gigs after being laid off from a job they held for years. In these cases, it’s all about how these different experiences are packaged to avoid the appearance of being a job-hopper, said Deb Wheatman, a certified résumé writer and career coach and president of résumé service Careers Done Write.

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“You might want to bundle them together and include a label such as short-term consulting assignments or temporary assignments, with a full date and the different jobs underneath,” Wheatman said. “That has a more cohesive story to it, as opposed to looking like you did three months here, two months there and five months elsewhere.”

“The top third of a résumé is prime real estate. If they find what they need there, they are going to want to talk to you.”


Deb Wheatman, president of résumé service Careers Done Write

If including shorter-term jobs is a necessary evil, another option is to downplay them. “If they did not hold it long, only list a couple or a few bullet points,” said Lynn Berger, a career coach and consultant.

Particularly for those who have had lengthier careers, Wheatman suggests putting a “highlights” section at the top. Recruiters on average only take six seconds to review a résumé before deciding whether a candidate is worth a closer look, a study from job-search website Ladders concluded. Giving special attention up top to the most important positions and achievements will help an applicant stand out.

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“The top third of a résumé is prime real estate,” Wheatman said. “If they find what they need there, they are going to want to talk to you.”

That said, more experience listed on a résumé isn’t necessarily better. Including too many years’ worth of experience in a résumé could actually make an applicant more prone to age-based discrimination — and potentially less likely to get the job. Instead of including everything, incorporate what is most relevant to position or describe how the many experiences make you well equipped for the job.

And while there is leeway in how information is presented in a résumé, applicants should include a full employment history when filling out a job application in an online portal. The information entered into online forms such as these could later be used when completing a background check. Hiring managers will go to extreme lengths to verify information included in a job application to make sure that the candidate in mind is not a liability — and a lie by omission could kill an applicant’s chances.

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