Leaving a job off a resume is not punishable by death. A resume is not meant to be a novel of every job and accomplishment in your life. If that were so, a resume of a person with 30 years' work experience would be quite a long read, yet all resumes ought to be less than three pages. Resumes should detail at most your most recent 10 years' work experience.
The Average Resume
Most people who have been in the workforce longer than 5 years have gaps in their work history and have switched jobs multiple times. A job held less than a year may be omitted on a resume as long as it's not something that would play to your best interest in your career field. For example, if you are in finances and had spent 6 months as a personal assistant to Warren Buffett, that would be an asset. If you are an IT specialist and spent 3 months working at a retail job to earn money for a summer vacation, it may be best to leave that out. Employers will generally glance through a resume, rather than reading each item. If they notice a 3-month job, they may simply label you as a "job-hopper" and put your resume in the circular file.
Jobs on a resume ought to only list years of employment and not months. Seldom is a person fired by one job and hired by another the next day. Most people have gaps of months where they were out of work. Putting months on your resume only invites an employer to start calculating if you have any large gaps in your history. Leaving off a job of less than a year will not be noticed.
If You Were Fired
You do not need to omit work you got fired from or had a bad experience in. On a resume, you simply detail what you did there and your notable accomplishments. Be prepared during the interview to answer questions such as why you left or why you had worked somewhere for 5 years and were never promoted.
Jobs that may be controversial can often be rephrased. A video specialist who worked several years in the pornography industry may want to focus only on the technical aspects of his job. There may not be a need to mention the subject he filmed.
Understand Application Guidelines
Read the employment application carefully. It could state that omission of any previous jobs may be a cause for dismissal. If possible, ask the employer for further details. You may want to give a generic case as an example; for instance, if you got bored with a job and left, you can ask the employer if she requires a job only held a few months if the company then went out of business. If she says that all information is required, you must include it. She may state that a job held under a year doesn't need to be included, so you are in the clear.
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