Including Short-Term Jobs on Your Resume

Including Short-Term Jobs on Your Resume

While we all hope to find that one, career-making position, chances are that on the road to employment success you’re going to have a couple of hurdles or temporary stops along the way.  In a job market increasingly driven by Freelance, part-time and similar limited duration positions, it’s not unheard of to include a variety of short-term jobs on your resume.  The trick is in including them properly as to be an asset and not a detriment to your job prospects.

Before we get into specifics, it’s important to note that you don’t need to include every job you’ve ever held on your resume.  Some positions (like that summer you spent selling ice cream at your grandparents’ roadside creamery) aren’t really relevant to your potential career in manufacturing computer components.  Including a large number of short term jobs can also give you the appearance of being flighty, unloyal, uncommitted or various other red flag characteristics.

If you do include short term positions, there’s several ways to explain, support or otherwise mitigate any negative reaction a potential employer may have. 

List Positions by Years

While the typical format has you listing specific months, and even days, you were employed in any given position, if you have a great deal of short term work, consider listing by year instead.  Several listings listed simply as having been in 2010 leaves off the fact that you were only employed for a month or similarly short period of time.  It also gives your potential employer the chance to ask for specific dates during the interview which can open the door for discussion.

Contract and Temporary Work

If your short term positions are the byproduct over contract or temporary work, be sure to call this out.  Most employers will understand the frequent turnaround with these and won’t knock you points.

Develop Multiple Resumes

If you have a large selection of short term jobs, consider leaving some of them off your current resume and instead developing multiple versions depending on which are relevant to your desired position.  Be cautious about having too many employment gaps and do your research as to which positions would be the most relevant to your interviewer.

When it Doubt, Leave it Off

When you’ve held a job for a short period of time and it isn’t relevant for the position you are interviewing for, consider leaving it off.  The old axiom “more is less” rings true here.  If the job doesn’t add any value to your resume, it doesn’t need to be included.  Exercise caution again on potential job gaps when choosing to remove too many positions from your resume.

List Similar Jobs Together

Lastly, if you worked in a series of related short term jobs, consider listing them together in one block of time to save space and avoid the appearance that you’re a job hopper.  Sales associate at a clothing store and then at the local coffee shop can all be grouped under one “Retail Sales” header and the time listed as one continuous block.

However you decide to handle short term jobs, it’s important that you always include accurate and honest information in your resume.  Stretching the truth when it comes to the length of time you were at any given position can come back to bite you if your employer chooses to check references or verify employment.  

If the question comes up during your interview, answer openly and consider it a compliment that you had short term employment listings but were still made the initial cut as a qualified candidate.  Providing accurate information and properly listing and including short term positions can help eliminate any negative connotations and will see you landing that big career move in no time.

Updated July 10, 2017