May 16, 2011
In the current economic climate, it’s not unusual for people to take multiple part-time, contract, freelance or temporary jobs to earn an income while looking for their next big gig. But it’s not always recommended to include those short-term jobs on your resume.
It’s important to keep in mind that your resume is not a place to list every job you’ve ever held. Rather, it’s a way to showcase your most relevant work experience to prove you have the experience required for roles that you are interested. In fact, if you list a number of jobs held in a short period of time, this can send a red-flag to employers that you’re a serial job-hopper, and that you may not stick around at their company for long either.
Below are some of the best practices for including (or not including) short-term jobs:
Tell the truth – When you send in an application to a hiring company, it should be the complete truth. A simple background check would show inconsistencies, and you could easily lose your consideration for a great job.
Include years only – A simple change from a month and year (March 2010) date format to year-only (2010) can be an easy way to make short-term jobs less noticeable. This is generally acceptable if you’ve held the position for six or more months.
Leave it off – If you held a position for less than six months, it’s not relevant to the positions that you’re applying for, or you didn’t stay at the job long enough to make any notable contributions, you can leave it off your resume.
Note contract and temp work – If short-term jobs were meant to only last a few months, such as contract work, temporary jobs, freelance work, or even seasonal jobs, you should definitely include them on your resume. Just make a note that it was a contract position (or whatever the case) right after the dates held.
Example: Retail Manager, April 2009 – September 2009 (6 month contract)
If you have multiple contract or freelance positions, it’s perfectly acceptable to list them all under a Contract Experience or Freelance Experience section.
Overall, it’s important to determine on a case-by-case basis whether including each short-term job will do more help or harm on your resume, depending on the job you’d like to land. Short-term jobs don’t have to be a red-flag to employers. Rather, they can enrich your background with the many skills you’ve picked up along the way.