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Based on today’s ever-changing and tight job market, it is not unusual to see short term jobs on a resume. Short term jobs might raise a red flag for employers. Short term jobs could be contract positions or permanent jobs.

Don’t Lie

The first rule of thumb when applying for a job is to never lie on your resume. If you put information on a document and submit it for consideration for employment, it better be valid information. There is nothing worse than being offered a job only to have that offer rescinded when your background is thoroughly checked.

Don’t Bad Mouth

The second rule of thumb when applying for a job is to never bad mouth a previous employer or company. Bad mouthing creates negative feelings in an interview or conversation and will almost always cost you the job offer. Keep your negative opinions to yourself.

Leave it off

With these rules in mind, let’s look at the various ways you can allay an employer’s fear about short term positions on your resume. One oft forgotten method of avoiding concerns over short term employment is to leave that job off of your resume. While not always the best solution, this is one possible way to avoid any concerns.

If asked about the gap in employment you can say that you worked a short-term contract job that did not contribute to your overall experience and you did not want to record it on your resume.

Short term contracts

Short term contracts are easily explained by either mentioning that you took the position to get experience in a certain area or by explaining that no matter what, you must always work and this was the only position available at the time. You can further qualify the second reason by saying that you are responsible for providing for your family and will do that no matter what. While not the greatest way to explain a short term contract, it does allow you to demonstrate to the prospective employer that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Short term permanent jobs

While these types of jobs are harder to explain away with a simple statement, there is almost always something you can come with about the job that would warrant you leaving. Things like software piracy, illegal activities and sexually abusive superiors are reasons that any employer will understand. However, do not use them lightly.

You can also use reasons like: after evaluating their business model, I was sure they would be out of business in six months, the corporate culture was one that did not coincide with my attitude of teamwork and mutual achievement, and my job responsibilities did not match what I was hired for and I did not sign up for a secretarial position.

All in all, you need to evaluate the position in question and find the most viable and least offensive reason why you left the company. Once you decide, use that excuse consistently in all of your correspondence with potential employers. You never know when one hiring manager might know another from a different company.

About The Author

Scott Brown is the author of the Job Search Handbook ( As editor of the weekly newsletter on job searching, Scott has written many articles on the subject. He wrote the Job Search Handbook to provide job seekers with a complete yet easy to use guide to finding a job effectively. To download your own free copy of the Job Search Handbook, visit


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