I've been a research assistant at a medical school for three months now. I was told that there was a chance that funding might not be renewed. I'm applying at jobs and one asked what was going on. I hadn't thought of what future employers would think looking for a position when I've been at my current for three months.

Is the best way to convey that in the cover letter? On the resume I could put an end date instead of present. What do you guys think?

  • 4
    Is there a reason you wouldn't just indicate this was a term position?
    – Donald
    Apr 30, 2019 at 21:42
  • I'm not understanding the conundrum. Why would the truthful facts not be sufficient?
    – joeqwerty
    May 1, 2019 at 2:28
  • 1
    I like @JoeStrazzere's version, or: Research Assistant (Grant Funded Term position): Jan 2019 - March 2019. No one will fault you for working at a position that had a known endpoint, or an endpoint based on something out of your control. The problem with "job hoppers" is when the hopping gives the appearance of being unplanned, due to poor performance, or due to the candidate being flighty.
    – dwizum
    May 1, 2019 at 14:21
  • 1
    I'm more concerned with recruiters reading my resume. I think I like @JoeStrazzere method of just saying like that. I've never had employment that had a firm end date.
    – Dave R.
    May 1, 2019 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


Is the best way to convey that in the cover letter?

You should save space in your cover letter for more relevant things. I think it's better to talk about the relevant experiences you gained in during that time rather than talk about why it was a shorter term.

On the resume I could put an end date instead of present. What do you guys think?

I think keeping it as 'Present' would be better. The situation hasn't been set in stone yet. If people ask why you're looking for a new job, explain to them the funding situation. You're not doing anything wrong, you're just looking for opportunities in case things turn bad.

In the case where they end up not renewing the funding, you might want to update your resume to contain something like what @Joe Strazzere said in the comments:

Research Assistant | Winter - Spring 2019 - Funding Not Renewed

I personally think it isn't that important to point out why it was a shorter term. I'd rather let the experience speak out for itself and try to put more emphasis on that.

Something like this:

Research Assistant | Winter - Spring 2019

Operated So & So,

Conducted This & That

This way, when potential employers look at your resume they'll see the experience you bring to the table, not the lack of experience due to the short term.

Hope this helps a bit.


There is no reason why you shouldn't tell the truth.

It is not your fault and it doesn't show poor judgement on your behalf by taking the job in the first place.

Just put it in that you are a research assistant and if anyone asks why you're looking for something so soon after joining tell them why.

  • I worked in research. Not maintaining a position in a lab due to lack of funding is a common problem. It won't affect people's opinion of you as a worker.
    – Edwin Buck
    May 1, 2019 at 14:20
  • Oh yeah. I did. I would just like to address it on the resume so they have an idea before they get to talk to me.
    – Dave R.
    May 1, 2019 at 18:03

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