I submitted my resume to a prospective employer where I combined two similar positions I held at a university. Both positions were full time lab scientist roles, but they were in two different labs that I worked for 1 year each with no gap in between. I did not lie about my duties or anything else on my resume, but I gave no indication that they were separate positions. The resume was the only document I submitted (there was no electronic submission process that asked for my job history).

I realize this was an extremely silly mistake to make. I will be having an in person interview soon and I'm wondering what is the best way to rectify this. From a hiring manager's perspective, would this be a deal-breaker?

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    So you had the same job title, in the same company (university) but just worked in two different areas? Was there a proper job intreview process or were you just moved/transferred to the second department? – Smock Jul 8 '19 at 10:52
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    In addition to @Smock's comment: Even if there was a proper job interview process, was this handled as a new contract or as a contract extension? – Chronocidal Jul 8 '19 at 15:15
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    You saved precious space on your resume by combining similar lab scientist roles at the same employer during a contiguous time period. You made no misrepresentation. If they ask about that time in your work history, do not make a big deal of it and be honest about the work you did. – B540Glenn Jul 8 '19 at 15:58
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    Is the HR department the same over both labs? The only issue I imagine is if the new employer tries to verify employment, and the lab only verifies half of the work experience (because the other lab went through a different HR). – Paul Jul 8 '19 at 18:36
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    There's no set rule that it =was= a mistake. That's what you are being told. I worked at IBM for 20 years. I'd be hard pressed to come up with all of the details of all of the things I did. And my first 6 years I was a contractor, and i don't remember the names of all the agencies or all of the dates. This isn't "wrong". If you want to break it out by department, do so. But as I responded, that can be interpreted as padding a resume, which can also be interpreted as "bad". – Julie in Austin Jul 8 '19 at 20:50

The way you mentioned it, I read it as an honest mistake where you missed to clarify the job details, it should not be a deal breaker for you. Unless there was an explicit criteria that you matched by mistakenly combining the job details - I do not see this to be a problem.

You can do two (both) things:

  • Update the resume with the correct details and send a copy to them mentioning the change.
  • Be ready to explain the same if asked in in-person interview.

Do not think too much about it, it's just what you mentioned, a silly mistake. In future proof-read the CV before sending it out to avoid these sort of inconvenience.

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    To be clear, you should probably do both things, not just one of two. Submit the corrected resume with a brief explanation of the error and why you made it (e.g. "I didn't consider [A] and [B] to be separate positions, but after further consideration, they're distinct enough to merit separate mentions"). Then, in the interview, be ready to talk about it. – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Jul 8 '19 at 16:37
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    Also, you had a single employer, the university. I don't want to suggest your original approach was correct, but I wouldn't ding you on it during an interview. If you listed it as two separate positions, someone might view it as padding a resume to make up for scant experience. There really is no hard and fast rule. – Julie in Austin Jul 8 '19 at 20:18
  • @NicHartley That is what my intention was, made it explicit now. – Sourav Ghosh Jul 9 '19 at 4:52
  • If the duties and roles and final employer was the same, most likely no one would care how it was broken up. An obvious exception is if you were at Super Prestigious Lab A for 3 weeks and Totally Unknown Pencil Sharpening Lab B for 3 years and marked it all as "Prestigious University - Prestigious Lab A 2016-2019" – Aaron Harun Jul 9 '19 at 8:14
  • @AaronHarun That's the point - why to reach that situation? That's why I disagree with the other answer, suggesting to combine the experiences. There's absolutely no harm in being explicit, and the experiences gained from different work under the same designation can widely vary. – Sourav Ghosh Jul 9 '19 at 8:51

This isn't a problem. I cannot imagine anyone caring.

You had the same employer, same job title. Just worked in a different "office" and under a different supervisor.

Unless you wanted to highlight having more jobs or the difference between the jobs, merging them makes perfect sense and declutters your resume.

It doesn't matter if it is a new contract or not. It doesn't matter if you interviewed for the 2nd position. Unless you are filling out a form with specific rules that talk about the definition of position, and the two year contracts are defined as separate: you aren't being dishonest, nor are you being deceptive.

I'd be annoyed if someone contacted me with any "clarification" to "update" the resume with that change, and confused if someone mentioned it without prompting during the interview (why would they bother telling me this?). It would be noise, and not at all useful to determine if you are a good candidate for a job.

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    If I understand the question properly, I believe this is the correct answer. On a resume, typically you list every unique combination of employer and job title as a separate job, but moves within the same employer that don't change title (e.g. to a different department) don't need to be reflected on your resume. – bob Jul 8 '19 at 18:22
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    I agree. You were a lab scientist at Hogwarts University for two years. During the interview, if they ask "tell me about your time at HU," you can explain I did blah blah for a year, and then such such. – Damila Jul 8 '19 at 19:14
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    +1 - This should be the accepted answer, not the other one. – Jon Bentley Jul 8 '19 at 22:33
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    @bob I've listed different projects when there's been a relevant change in what technologies I've been using. I'd see it mostly as presenting information relevant to a prospective employer and choosing the level of detail based on that. I do of course agree that this is a somewhat arbitrary choice and absolutely not misrepresentation. – JollyJoker Jul 9 '19 at 10:44
  • +1 for "I´d be annoyed". Interviewers take very little time to read a CV. Summing things up saves them time. For clarifications there´s an interview. And even there I would not present it as "mistake". – Jessica Jul 10 '19 at 5:11

I have hired people in the private sector. This is not an issue. In the interview you can mention you worked in two separate labs doing similar things. Call it whatever you want, but don't call it a mistake.

In the interview you want to highlight you successes and why you are a good fit for this position. Going into minutia about why you listed this as one instead of two experiences on your resume is going to bore and distract your interviewer.

If they start to check employment history, then you can mention it to HR that your current employment has occurred under two different divisions.


If they are interested in you, you will eventually have to fill out an application.

Just make sure to separate it out on that document.

In some places (my area of the US being one of them) lying on a resume isn't a big deal(1) because you didn't sign it.
A job application is a signed document that if you falsify you can be fired "with cause" (which here means no unemployment insurance).

(1) legally isn't a big deal, where "big deal" = actionable.

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