I don't want this job on my resume
This is actually a fairly common question — but there’s no simple answer. As with many job search-related issues, the answer is: it depends.
The first thing to consider when deciding whether or not to include a short-term position on your résumé is whether it was planned as a short-term position, or if it simply ended up that way.
If the job was a contract (or a contract-to-hire role that didn’t get picked up), the usual answer is: Yes, include the job on your résumé. Make sure to describe it as such: “Hired for temporary, three-month role during maternity leave of key staffer” or “Contract-to-hire position ended prematurely due to termination of company relationship with client.”
Hiring managers are often sympathetic to short-term engagements when the circumstances are explained.
If the position wasn’t meant to be short-term, it may be wise to find a way to make it seem like it wasn’t as short. You could include it on the résumé but list your experience by year, instead of month/year to month/year.
For example, list the experience as Bumblebee Incorporated (2019) vs. Bumblebee Incorporated (March 2019 – August 2019).
Also consider whether you can “group” the role with other positions. For example, if you had several short-term roles — even if they were not technically temporary jobs — think about whether you can combine them into a single description.
For example, if you had a sales role with company ABC for eight months but left for a better opportunity with company XYZ — but only worked there for a year — consider listing the positions jointly as “Sales Representative, ABC/XYZ” with the inclusive dates. This only works, however, if the titles and work responsibilities are very similar.
If the job wasn’t intended to be short-term — but ended up that way because you were fired, or you quit because you didn’t like the job/company/people, consider leaving it off. But even in this situation, there are exceptions.
For example, did you learn any new skills in this role, or use any skills that aren’t described elsewhere on your résumé? If so, you may want to include the position so that you have the opportunity to showcase those skills.
Did you work for a name-brand company (for example, a well-known startup or Fortune 500 company) or did you work with a name-brand client in the scope of your work in that role? You may want to include the position on the résumé to increase the search engine optimization (SEO) of the résumé for applicant tracking systems — or simply to impress a Hiring Manager.
Will having this position on your résumé help position you for a career change? Even if your time in the position wasn’t long, if having that experience on there it helps you bridge the transition from one career to the next, consider including it.
Finally, is this role your only work experience relevant to your job target? For example, if you are a recent graduate but were “first in and first out” at your first job, consider including it if you were on the job more than 90 days. (Often the most recent person hired is the first person let go, and most hiring managers recognize this.) Having some experience — even short-term experience — is better than having no experience.
And remember, if you were laid off because of the economy, loss of a key company customer, or another reason unrelated to your performance, be sure to communicate that information in your Cover Letter.
If, on the other hand, the role doesn’t fit in the narrative of where you’ve been in your career — and, more importantly, where you’re going — consider omitting it. Sometimes you take a job because you think it will open doors or lead you to a new path, and it doesn’t end up that way. If including the job on the résumé will raise more questions than it will answer, consider not mentioning it on the résumé. Especially if omitting it wouldn’t cause a significant time gap on the résumé.
For example, Ted left the military after a career in naval intelligence and took a job at a startup software company, working in their Security Department. After being on the job for a few weeks, he decided that the laid-back company culture wasn’t suited to his personality and he left the role. Instead, he went to work for a defense contractor, and has been there for two years and has now decided to look for a new job. Ted may choose to omit the position at the startup from his résumé.
Remember, your résumé is not an obituary that lists every job you’ve ever held. Instead, it’s a marketing document whose content should support the job target you’re seeking.
Consequently, you may choose to only include the most recent (up to about 15 years on average, and no more than about 20 years in exceptional cases) work experience on your resume. Not only can this help reduce the likelihood of age discrimination, but in a world where things change at a rapid pace, your older experience may no longer be relevant. You likely have newer skills, experience, and projects that better reflect where you are going, not where you have been.
However, you should not leave a job off your résumé that you held for any significant length of time (say, more than six months) just because you were fired (even for performance) because you don’t want to talk about it. Instead, be prepared to address the reason for your departure (including taking responsibility for shortcomings in your performance) and being able to describe how you took corrective action to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again.
For example, if you are sales professional who was let go because you missed two consecutive quarters of sales quotas, you might include the role on your résumé (especially if you were selling a desirable product or working with high-profile clients) but be ready to explain that you didn’t have the depth of product knowledge that you should have had in order to be successful in that position. This is a particularly effective strategy to explain why you left your last job, if you have been successful in previous sales roles, but just not in this one.
One important thing to note: If you are asked to complete a job application that requires you to list all positions you’ve held (read the application directions carefully!), you should include each and every role — no matter how short — particularly if you’re required to sign the application (and, therefore, attest to the truthfulness of the information included).
But on the résumé, you can decide which positions to include and exclude, and even how they are arranged.
Determining what to include — and what to exclude — on your résumé to maximize your chances of getting an interview is one of the important functions a professional résumé writer can assist you with. Having the guidance and experience of a professional to help you navigate your job search can save you time and money, landing you that dream job faster, and potentially even at a higher salary than you were expecting.
Checklist to decide whether or not to include a position on your résumé
What resume paper should I use?
In recent years, job search methods and practices have become increasingly digital. However, as you move forward with your job search efforts, you will soon learn that hard copies of your resume still play a significant part in your success.
Two of the most common scenarios where you will need hard copies of your resume are when you attend a job interview or a job fair and most people tend to overlook the actual paper they use to print their resume.
Many people wonder “how to write a resume that will stand out”. Of course, the content of your resume matters more than the resume paper. But let’s not forget that you are in a competition. It is when you go the extra mile and learn how to choose the right resume paper that you will make your resume stand out from the crowd. Not to mention resume paper lasts much longer than regular paper.
Below are brief descriptions about the varieities in style and quality when it comes to choosing resume paper.
Resume Paper Color
The available shades are usually white, light grey, ivory, and even blue/grey.
Resume paper weight
Resume paper quality is usually categorized based on weight and the varieties that you may find often available are 24lb/m2 OR 32lb/m2. The weight varies based on paper thickness. You will also find that they are substantially different in price.
We recommend the 24lb/ m2 because it is a little thicker than standard copy paper but it is not as thick as a business card. The 24lb/ m2 also goes through most home office printers without complication.
Resume paper texture
There are many textures available and they vary in the weave and finish of the paper. More often than not, you will find linen or cotton. Other kinds include coated, uncoated, laid, etc. As you will shop for resume paper, feel the different textures to find out which you prefer.
We recommend the cotton paper as it is more often used as a popular choice for resume paper and it has a smooth finish. On the other hand, linen resume paper feels like an embossed paper because it is woven-like.
Watermark is used on high-quality paper. As you use any brand of resume paper with watermark, make sure the watermark is only visible under the light because you do not want the watermark to distract attention from your resume content. Next, make sure your resume is printed right side up. In other words, when you're holding the resume as you're reading it, the watermark should be readable (I am not saying visible, but when held under the light, the watermark should be seen the right side up and not backward).
Of course, this is not a deal-breaker obviously but why take the risk of recruiters noticing that your resume is printed backward and thinking you are sloppy?
A new resume to stand out
You’ve never had a résumé before. Maybe you’ve never needed one. But now you do. And you don’t know where to start.
The primary purpose of the résumé is to get you the opportunity to interview for the job. Everything you do — and include — should focus on this goal.
Your résumé should be targeted to be effective. If you don’t know what you want, it’s going to be difficult for the reader to know. The first step is to determine what skills, experience, and education are needed for your target job.
The late résumé guru Yana Parker used to say, “A résumé without a job target is like a book without a title.”
Understand that your résumé is not a “career obituary.” It will not — and should not — include everything you’ve ever done in your career.
It still needs to be accurate, but you don’t need to list every job you’ve ever held. Nor do you have to list every aspect of the responsibilities that you held.
Your job descriptions on your résumé should not be extremely detailed because your résumé is not a Training Manual for other people to learn how to do your job. Your résumé should only give your audience an idea about "your results". If they are interested in details pertaining to "how" you produced those results, they will ask you in the interview. So, please learn to make the distinction between an actual "job description" and effective "resume content".
Your résumé is not a legal document, unlike a job application that asks you to list all your career experience and that you sign, acknowledging that the information is accurate and complete.
Instead, your résumé is a marketing document.
The most important thing to remember is: The résumé is not about what you want — it’s what you can offer to an employer.
In her book, “Résumé Magic,” author Susan Britton Whitcomb explains there are 10 main reasons that motivate employers to hire. These include your ability to help the company:
Everything you put in the résumé — or don’t put in the résumé — should relate to the job that you’re seeking, demonstrating to the person with the authority to hire you for that job what you can do for the company in that position. When trying to decide whether or not something is relevant, think about the Hiring Manager.
Technology has changed the hiring process in some ways, but the essence is still the same: How can you attract the attention of the person who has the power to hire you and get the opportunity to get in front of him or her and demonstrate you’re the right fit for the job?
If you are submitting your résumé online, it’s very likely that your résumé will go into an applicant tracking system, which is software that helps hiring managers track applications and select which candidates to interview.
Applicant tracking systems — and the integration of technology into the application process — underscore the importance of tailoring your résumé and cover letter for the role you’re seeking. If there are specific words and phrases used in the job announcement, make sure those are included in your résumé. You can’t simply create a résumé and use it to apply to 100 different jobs. Not only is that inefficient, but it’s ineffective.
Résumés are not “one size fits all.” You can’t expect a résumé focused on one type of role to open doors for you in another career field. A résumé written for a job as a Middle School Principal is not likely to generate interviews for a role as a Sales Professional. Nor is a résumé written for a Social Media Specialist going to work for someone applying as an Executive Assistant. There may be aspects of the résumé that you can use in both versions of the résumé, but you can’t use the same document.
Nor can you copy someone else’s résumé — even if it’s incredible — and expect it to work for you in landing your dream job. Even if the résumé lands you an interview, you need to be able to speak to the experience and accomplishments described. You not only have to walk the walk, you have to talk the talk.
Tell a story with your résumé. How did what you’ve done in the past lead you to the right combination of skills, experience, and education for the job you want? Who are you? What sets you apart? What can you do for the company that no one else does?
If you are a recent graduate with little to no work experience in the field you’ve studied and are targeting, your strongest qualifications are your just-completed education and any internships, projects, or relevant volunteer experience.
A few tips for your resume
Ace the job interview!
Accomplishments demonstrate your skills and experience. It’s one thing to claim you can do something — it’s another to prove you’ve done it.
When collecting accomplishments for a job search, consider the key areas of competency required for success in the position you are seeking. What are the key components of your job? You should be able to identify accomplishments directly related to this expertise.
To think of your accomplishments, take a look at your past performance reviews and think about any awards or recognition you’ve received. It may even lead you to start building your own professional portfolio.
The most important part of the accomplishment is outlining your results. To be most effective, however, you also need to provide context for your accomplishment. There are several different formats to do this.
Here are three common formats: STAR, CAR, and PAR.
Recruited to revitalize an underperforming sales territory characterized by significant account attrition. (Situation) Tasked with reacquiring accounts that had left the company within the last six months. (Task) Developed contact list for lapsed accounts and initiated contact with decision-makers at each company. (Action) Reacquired 22% of former customers, resulting in $872,000 in revenue.
Manufacturing plant recently had its third accident, leading to a line shutdown. (Challenge) Updated internal safety plan and instituted new training program for production employees to reduce accidents and injuries. (Action) Plant has been accident-free for the past nine months — the longest it has been without accidents in plant history. (Result)
Nursing home employee morale was at an all-time low, and long-time employees were leaving in droves. (Problem) Identified that new scheduling system was not well received by either new hires or long-time employees, resulting in significant dissatisfaction with employee schedules. Instituted new “employee choice” schedule system that increased employee cooperation in determining ideal staffing schedule and improved employee satisfaction as a result. (Action) Reduced turnover by 15%, saving more than $12,500 in hiring and training costs in the first three months after implementing new system. (Result)
Quantifying your accomplishments also helps you stand out from others who do the work you do — whether you’re using the information for a raise or promotion request, or when seeking a new job opportunity.
What to do about References on a resume
Should I or shouldn't I include a "References" heading at the bottom of my resume?
A professional resume writing service can only be provided by an expert resume writer who can easily explain every strategy that is implemented in writing a new resume. But there is much controversy when it comes to including or not including References as a heading at the bottom of your resume.
The truth is that reference-checking is still a widespread practice and there are effective strategies to professionally handle the reference checking process.
I see time and time again, in various articles, that the line "References available upon request" is outdated. I find the advice so wrong that I like to search and learn more about the professional backgrounds of the writers who spread this futile advice online. Often I find that most of them have not worked A DAY as a Recruiter! But I have! In fact, I have been a Recruiter for more than two decades. I have called on countless jobseekers' references, and have heard all kinds of details from employers, communicated verbally, or otherwise. So, you must believe me when I say that not everybody has shiny references. Employers have their ways of letting Recruiters know that.... And recruiters are professionally trained to dig for details; that's what they are paid for, among other things.
In my recruiting days, whenever I came across a resume that did not include the clause "References available upon request", at the very least, I would frown. I could not help but wonder if this person has bad references, otherwise "what would it take to just include that clause in the resume for us????? How hard could it be???" And that is why I would insert that resume at the BOTTOM OF THE PILE.
Considering the number of resumes I had to review on ANY given day which would actually offer me the information I needed, I wasn't going to call "Mr/Ms Mysterious" to find out the thought process behind not including that simple clause about References at the bottom of their resume. I would just call the resumes who made it clear that if I need to check references, it "WILL BE" available upon request.
I have not only applied this rule to those resumes that have crossed my desk, but over the years, I have also trained many other recruiters to do the same. Needless to say, they all found this internal strategy to be an efficient one, in terms of time management.
My 2 cents comes from first-hand experience, from the other side of the interviewing desk... Only because I have been there, COUNTLESS times... Today, I share that with you, here.
I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Recruiter with three decades of experience in assisting jobseekers, working with employers, and writing effective resumes. I am well-versed with Applicant Tracking Systems. I use the right keywords so my resumes go through ATS successfully and without complications