Recently, a number of job seekers have asked me if it’s okay to drop undesirable jobs from their resumes. The reasons varied, but most had to do with holding short-term positions, leaving jobs on bad terms, getting fired, and changing careers.In the past, I would have considered that approach. After all, a resume is a marketing piece and should present only the qualifications that would help “sell” the candidate. Now I’m revisiting this issue, and my advice is that you shouldn’t omit positions from your resume just to make your work history look more desirable.
Okay, I shouldn’t use absolutes. Someone asked if a job she held for several days can be dropped. Yes, it can! An extremely short-term job is not significant enough to be listed in your employment history. Also, if you’re only including employment history from the last 10-15 years or so, of course you can omit older jobs. As is the case for most resume strategy decisions, use your judgment.
Here are the top reasons why it’s usually not a good idea to omit jobs from the resume:
1. You will look like a liar when the employer finds out during a background check, and then you’ll have some explaining to do (if a job offer is still a possibility).
2. Although resumes aren’t officially signed, legal documents like applications are, employers are expecting you to provide a thorough, honest work history. The omitted job may go unnoticed for now, but could come back to haunt you after you’re hired. Your job–and reputation–could be in jeopardy.
3. In some cases, listing the job will look better than showing a “gap.” Yes, you were employed (even if for a short time), and that will remove the employer’s concern about what you were doing during that time period.
4. It doesn’t look as bad as you think it looks. I understand that it’s a competitive job market and everyone wants to have a “perfect” work history, but very few people offer such a history. You’re human. You took a job that was a bad fit. You got fired. So what? We tend to magnify our own flaws, even when others wouldn’t notice there’s a problem.I’m not saying that providing a complete, truthful work history is the easy approach. You could be hit with tough interview questions, but you should do fine if you anticipate the questions and prepare responses before heading into the interview.
The bottom line: You will get a new job, and can proceed with a clear conscience.
Best wishes,Kim Isaacs