Dear Ask Sarah,
I was recently laid off from a job that I just started three months ago due to the branch location closing. They offer to relocate me to another branch, but I cannot relocate due to family reasons. The issue is, I had left my previous company in under six months when I was actively recruited to the company that just laid me off. So here is my question: should I include this employer on my resume? I don't want it to look like I cannot hold down a job. What are your thoughts?
Left too soon?
Hi, Left too soon
Let me begin by saying, your feelings are valid. You made the tough decision to leave a newer role, and sometimes things don't work out. There are options for how you represent your recent work history. You have two different roles in your situation that you need to decide if you leave on your resume or remove. Remember, each resume should be tailored to the specific job, so your choice may differ depending on the job you are applying for.
Option 1: Include the job on your resume (for now)
As a new or mid-career professional, it may be important to include the experience to illustrate the experience. The previous position(s) and experience may also be valuable to include on your resume to highlight your qualifications when applying.
View the positions as opportunities to illustrate accomplishments and skills. Even in short-lived positions, there are often projects and strategic initiatives that you contributed to or completed that are important and valid regardless of your tenure with the company.
How to address the short-term roles
Be prepared to be asked why you left the position(s). Your answer should be transparent and honest but also concise. An example response could be, "In my most recent position, the branch location closed, and I chose not to relocate due to family reasons. In the previous company, I decided to pursue a new role to better my career path. I look forward to finding a role where I can establish a tenure and contribute to the organization."
Option 2: Remove the position(s)
A job description is a call to the world, saying we are looking for someone with these qualifications, skill sets, and experience. Your resume directly responds to that specific job description replying with the most relevant qualifications, skill sets, and experience. If you choose to remove either of your most recent positions, I suggest changing your work experience section's heading. Instead of using the heading ‘Professional Experience,’ change it to ‘Selected Experience’ or ‘Relevant Experience.’
Option 3: Create a Separate Heading
Lastly, you can create a separate heading or category on your resume titled ‘Other Experience.’ In this section, it is common to include short-term roles, volunteer experience, or community involvement. Many times, the experiences listed under this section have either one bullet point or no bullet points. Listing the dates is also optional; minimally, you will want to include your title and the organization's name.
Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com, and if we plan to publish your question, you will be notified. All submissions are anonymous.
Looking forward to reading your stories and answering your questions!