Short Term Work: When Does a Job Become Resume Worthy Experience?

resume worthy experienceSure, being the White House Communications Director may sound like a resume worthy experience, but Anthony Scaramucci didn’t exactly stay in the position long enough to make it count. In fact, he was removed from the position just 10 days after he was appointed.

Unlike most of us who leave a job too soon, Scaramucci’s historically short stint won’t likely impact his ability to pay his bills. After all, he’s got an estimated $64 million to fall back on. Most folks who’ve departed a job within two weeks, though, still have to hustle up future employment.

Which leads us to an important question: Just how long are you supposed to stay at a company before that job becomes a resume worthy experience?

Let’s take a look…

A Resume Worthy Experience

Of course, nobody wants to be fired 10 days after starting a job, but if you’re in a position you despise or if you feel like you’re working inside a ticking time bomb, how long do you really have to stick it out in order to count it in your career history?

For an answer, we turned to Dr. Tracey Wilen, author of Employed For Life: 21st Century Career Trends. According to Wilen, who researches workforce trends for a living, the acceptable departure deadline isn’t what it used to be. There was a time when four years at the same job was “the protocol,” she says.

That’s right, four whole years of slogging through a job you can’t take but can’t afford to lose either.

Thankfully, notes Wilen, times have changed. “Today, younger people tend to move every two years, but I advise to note quantifiable accomplishments so it is not perceived as job-hopping,” she says.

A Job Title or Footnote

If you can’t imagine yourself lasting literal years, have no fear. Stick it out for three months and you can tack that title on your resume, according to David Arnold, who runs the executive search firm Arnold Partner, LLC.

“If you stay in a place three months or more, it would warrant at least a footnote if is current or recent,” he says. But, if the three-month stint was three years ago, it probably does isn’t a resume worthy experience, he says. Arnold calls it “a balancing act of tenure and time past.”

But what if you’re recently employed in a job you despise and already sending out resumes? Should you include the one you just started while you’re still there? Arnold thinks so. “It’s better to have that out in the open. Just show that your proactively taking charge to get into a better situation,” he says.

Leave it Off Entirely

However, what if your job tenure only lasts less than two months (which we now call that “pulling a Scaramucci”)? Both Arnold and Wilen advise leaving it off your resume. That is, unless, says Wilen, “you can weave it as a positive statement in the intro section to help set you apart in a positive manner from other candidates.”

More than likely, you’ll want to bury that brief career hiccup. After all, you want to avoid answering any probing interview questions about why it didn’t work out. (Of course, if you’re Scaramucci, you’re going to have a tough time sweeping it under the rug.)

The lesson learned: During your career, don’t be a Mooch.


For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.





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