Your resume is not a legal document and you are under no obligation to list every job you’ve ever had. The purpose of your resume is to sell you to potential employers and this is the most important thing to keep in mind.
You can include the parts that highlight your strengths, and leave jobs off your resume if you feel that don’t add any weight to it.
At the same time, you want to maximize your chances of getting through to the interview stage and beyond. Omitting a job from your resume could raise questions in the employer’s mind.
Not only could it leave an unexplained gap on your resume, but the hirer may discover that you omitted a job during a pre-employment screening. You need to be able to explain gaps, and why you decided to not include a job on your resume.
The most important thing to focus on is crafting your resume to highlight your strengths and to present yourself as a credible candidate. Use an expert guide on how to write a resume to help you.
Can you leave a job off your resume?
Yes you can. Resumes are flexible and should be considered as summaries of your most relevant experience, qualifications, and skills. However, there are circumstances when it is not a good idea to leave a job off your resume.
Don’t omit a job from your resume if…
- It is a long-term position
Not including a job which you had for over a year will leave the employer scratching their head, wondering why there is a noticeable gap on your resume. If you did this and got through to the first interview stage, you would need to be ready to explain why this gap is there. Especially if it’s a recent position, you’re better off including it.
- You’re short of relevant experience
It is crucial to show you have relevant work experience. If you are applying for a role and have little relevant experience, you would be seriously damaging your chances of getting an interview by leaving off a relevant position. Even if the job ended badly you should include it.
- You are applying for a job with a security clearance
Your resume is normally an opportunity for you to showcase your strengths on your terms. However, in these circumstances it is necessary to be meticulous and list every position you’ve had. The same is true of omitting jobs from applications, if you completing a job application form and are asked to list every position, you should.
- You achieved great things there
If you have accomplished things in a job role, it is wasteful not to use it to your advantage to impress an employer. Achievements demonstrate your skills, abilities, and strengths better than anything else.
When not to include a job on a resume
There are a number of circumstances when the omission of a job could actually improve your resume, normally because it does not help to sell you to the employer. Using a resume builder is an effective way of constructing a resume which highlights your strengths.
Consider omitting a job from your resume if…
- It is a short-term position
If you had a job for a few months or less, the experience isn’t relevant to the position you are applying for, and you’re not short of work experience overall, it probably isn’t necessary to include the job. If you are writing a student resume or an entry-level resume and are short of experience it is often necessary to include short-term positions.
- The job was in the distant past
Employers are generally only interested in the last five to ten years of your work history. If your recent positions contain consecutive, relevant positions, employers will not be concerned about jobs in the distant past. They add no weight to your resume.
- Your old company has a toxic reputation
If the company you worked for is notorious for whatever reason, maybe for unethical practice or a high-profile bankruptcy, it could look bad to include the position on your resume. Rightly or wrongly, employers may judge you through association. However, the role may be central to your resume and impossible to leave off.
Should you leave a job off your resume if you were fired?
On your resume you don’t have to include the reasons why you left a job, therefore the position won’t make your resume look worse. The most common reason why omitting a job you were fired from might seem sensible is to avoid awkward questions during the interview stage. Following some job interview tips and preparing properly can help you tackle this.