It happens to almost all of us at one time or another. You’re working at a great job, things are going well, and then before you know it, all hell breaks loose. Before you can even blink your eye, you’re given a couple of cardboard boxes so you can pack up your desk and go home for good. If you had a bad work experience, there are times when you may want to exclude it from your resume and just forget that job ever happened.
Most times, omitting a job isn’t going to hurt you. Suzanne Lucas, founder of the career blog Evil HR Lady, said short stints at a company may not be so important to include. As long as your resume isn’t riddle with lies, you may not have much to worry about. “So the reality is a prospective employer is very unlikely to find out about a short-term job that isn’t listed on your resume. After all, resumes are marketing documents, not historical records. Everything on your resume must be true, but you don’t have to list everything that is true on your resume,” said Lucas.
When to omit a job from your resume
Your best bet is to leave off a job if you were fired as a result of ethical misconduct. Some examples would be if you stole company property, you lied, or you harassed someone. It would be very hard to explain your way out of a situation like that. And more likely than not, if the issue comes up during an interview, you won’t get the job. Who wants to work with someone who can’t be trusted? Sure, people change, but you may not be willing to look past this and give you a chance to redeem yourself.
Could an omission land you in hot water?
Sometimes leaving a job off your resume is a good idea. However, there are also some gray areas. In some cases, omitting a job is not the best thing. One example would be if you are applying for a job that requires security clearance. Your lack of transparency could cost you a job. Also be aware that your work history is part of your employment credit report. Consequently, past jobs could be researched by your potential employer. It’s a risk you may not want to take.
Lucas said you’ll want to be careful if you’re asked to sign paperwork that requests a complete job history. “Where you run into a problem is if the company asks you to fill out an application and asks you to list every job you had over the past 10 years or so. If you leave it off there, they still won’t likely find out about it. But if they find out about it five years down the road and somebody has a bee in their bonnet, you’ll be fired for lying on the application,” said Lucas.
Also be aware of large gaps in your work history. This could raise a red flag with an interviewer. You’ll want to make sure you have a reason for the time lag. “One of the quickest ways to get recruiters and hiring managers wondering about your suitability for the position is by having gaps in employment on your resume. Yes, the recent economy affected numerous people and resulted in long-term unemployment for many. However, that doesn’t release you from the obligation of explaining what you did during your time off,” said career expert Darlene Zambruski.