Should I Put Short Work Experience on My Resume?

Published by Jasmin Esse'ka Raye on

Ideally, no job-seeking professional would have to contemplate whether or not to list short work experience on his or her resume.

But…it happens – just like gaps in employment history happen.

So, will putting short work experience on your resume dampen your chances of making a recruiter’s short list?

When are short-term jobs acceptable?

First thing first, listing short work experience on your resume is not a complete deal-breaker…that is, if it’s done correctly.

Short-term work is a reality that most professional job seekers can’t escape.

There are many reasons why a professional like yourself would end up with short-term work experience:

  • ✓ You picked up work while in-between jobs
  • ✓ You were employed for seasonal work
  • ✓ Your company downsized or closed
  • ✓ You didn’t align with the culture or values of the company
  • ✓ You relocated to a new city or state
  • ✓ Your were offered a better position by a different company
  • ✓ You were in a contract or freelance position
  • ..and other personal or professional reasons that make sense

You may also like: 11 Tips for Managing Gaps in Employment History

How to list short work experience

If it comes to the point where you need to list short-term work to avoid making it seem like you’re unstable in work or have gone months without working, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1 – Try to incorporate the ‘why’ behind the short-term work

Believe it or not, there are subtle, yet effective ways to incorporate hints as to the reason why you weren’t in a position for long.

For instance, if it were a contract position, you could easily put “(Contract)” next to the job title, or mention the contract nature of the work within the summary of that experience.

This may not be possible for all short term work experiences, and that’s okay.

2 – Try not to make it look habitual

If going from job to job is your thing (or is something that’s been happening), you really don’t want to the hiring manager to know that.

The advice that I offer to my clients is the 3:1 rule – meaning, for every 3 non-short-term roles, it is acceptable to list one short-term job (if he or she has several short-term work experiences).

The last thing you want to do is give a recruiter the impression that you will be a bad hire or a regrettable hiring investment for the company.

Instead, keep it classy with one or two short term experiences and leave yourself the opportunity to, during the interview, explain the full behind why you decided to or had to have so many short term positions.


All in all, it is very possible to list short term work on your resume and not give off a bad impression.

Still, you should always be prepared to explain the why behind your short-term work during your interview.

Have you listed short-term work on your resume? Was it one position or more?