To get everyone up to speed, here's the backstory: Back in January 2017, I went through a traumatic event which has lead to some ongoing mental health issues which I'm currently being treated for (as of January 2018).

Back in May, due to some financial difficulties and unable to claim benefits, I applied for and got a job which only lasted 3 weeks due to these mental health problems. The employer and agreed it would be better for me to leave and wait for treatment before applying for another job.

I'm currently looking at applying for a job now (if my therapist thinks it's a good idea.) However if I do there's two things on my mind:

  1. Do I include the job I had for 3 weeks? I'm not really keen on explaining to an interviewer that it didn't last long because I had a mental breakdown in an office.

  2. If no to Q1 and should I apply and be offered the job, if I'm asked for a P45, what do I do?

EDIT: Since this was mentioned on other questions like this, I'll add this: I've held 2 jobs prior to the one I left.


3 Answers 3


A resume is about communicating your achievements. You seem overly focused on your handicaps. Before you worry about duration it might be a good idea to think about what you have to offer a future employer, and work on communicating that.

The job of the resume is to get you an interview.

What did you achieve in those 3 weeks and how do those achievements relate to the specific job you're applying for? If it's not applicable than leave it out.

The key with any job hunt (no matter your circumstance) is focus on what you're passionate about, and how to best apply your skills to those passions.

When we have special needs we need to take extra care to find a job environment that matches our needs, and the first step is to understand what those needs are.

Sometimes understanding what we need or want in a job can be very challenging, but it's worth taking the time to understand ourselves first.

  • In the 3 weeks, nothing. I missed so many days because of what I was going through. This new role is completely unrelated to the last (last job was computers, this one is cleaning) Essentially I'm going in with no experience but a tonne of motivation. It probably won't work in my favour, but I won't know until I get offered an interview or not.
    – Jake
    Jan 22, 2018 at 18:57

Leave that job out.

Your cv is accurate without it. You have not lied.

As to P45. Ignore that. Ask for a p60.. that will fix that problem


Do I include the job I had for 3 weeks? I'm not really keen on explaining to an interviewer that it didn't last long because I had a mental breakdown in an office.

You generally want to be honest on the CV/resume about past job, especially if they immediately precede the job for which you are applying or are within the period specified on employment application. There are legal reasons for this, namely that failure to disclose a prior job on the resume is grounds for immediate dismissal by the company if they ever find out, e.g. based on a background check or if you ever mention it by accident and HR finds out. If you are dismissed for failure to honestly portray past work experience, it can cause issues down the line as well. Best to tell it like it is.

Note: In some cases there may be valid reasons to omit past jobs that did not last very long and/or were unrelated to the type of job you are applying for. Examples are hourly low-skilled labor types of positions you held during college, which can be safely omitted after you've held one or two professional jobs since graduation, because the time during which you held odd jobs is covered by the period when you were a student (which is covered under the Education section on resume).

Typically job duration is stated in month units so you could put "July 2016" or July-August 2016" (if the 3 weeks spanned more than one month). List your tasks/responsibilities during the time in that job as you would for any other job, but obviously keep it short and to the point since there wasn't time to get much done. One or two bullet points should do.

If/when they ask you in the interview why you left that job, say it was "for health reasons," or (longer version) "due to a health issue that occurred after I had started that job." They should not ask for any further details, and you do not have any obligation to disclose any such details.

The larger issue here that you may want to think carefully about is, are you at a point where you are ready for a new job? The reason I say this is it would not be good to have the scenario repeated with yet another job which lasts a few weeks or a few months.

Having seen someone I knew struggle with keeping it together and having to leave a job as a result, I would advise to invest in proper treatment and not to rush returning to work, unless returning to work is better for your mental health than not (i.e. for having that structure and distraction that a regular job provides). Good luck!

  • 1
    I'm taking a risk with this job because it's completely different to what I'm used to. I'm basically swapping a cubicle job for physical labour. I've asked myself repeatedly if I think I'm ready, but I'm still not sure. The only reason I got the last job was because benefits wasn't an option at the time. Getting and then subsequently losing that job was 'proof' that I should have been on benefits to begin with. Obviously now I'm getting help for these issues that's ongoing. I think this essentially boils down to me wanting to pull myself out of a lifestyle I don't want.
    – Jake
    Jan 22, 2018 at 18:53
  • @Jake Thanks for your comment and clarifying the situation, I appreciate it. Despite the downvotes I hope you found the question helpful and that you will end up making a successful job/lifestyle change.
    – A.S
    Jan 22, 2018 at 19:01

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