When scanning your resume, employers are looking for any reason to toss it into the discard pile. Too many short-term or unconventional roles make the reader question your ability to sustain stable, full-time employment. Remember, the hiring manager is deciding not only if you are qualified, but if you will be a low-risk hire that will be worth their training investment. Keep in mind that the average cost to train a new employee is $1,500, so make sure that you are showing the reader that you will be worth it!
Ideally, you want to show the potential employer that you are able to stay committed and dedicated to your job. For any role that you held that was less than one year, add an italicized item next to it to explain the reason. For instance:
Office Manager - Interim
Paralegal - Temporary
Guest Services Associate - Seasonal
Project Manager - Contract
By doing this, you are acknowledging that you were there for less than a year, showing that there was a reason for it and that you would be happy to discuss it.
Similarly, if you held more than one part-time or freelance role at the same time, try to minimize confusion for the reader by making it seem as much like a long-term, full-time role as possible. A few ways to do this:
Human Resources Analyst Feb. 2010 - Dec. 2013
Benefits Administrator – Contract Jan. 2011 - Mar. 2011
Remember, most people have some sort of gap, overlap or other non-traditional item in their work history. The goal of the resume is to present the most relevant and impressive information while burying the potential red flags, placing less emphasis on these items.
Andrea Gerson is a top-ranked career counselor with nearly 10 years of experience helping professionals find clarity, confidence, and a renewed sense of energy around their work. As the founder of Resume Scripter, she has provided expert guidance and support to more than 3,500 clients from organizations including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and the United Nations. She's led workshops on interview preparation, job search methods, resume development, and career planning strategies, with a particular specialty guiding early and mid-level professionals toward career fulfillment.