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I am and IT Manager and I was at a company for 10+ years and I took a another job with a large company. The job turned out to not be what I expected. My old employer reached out to me and I agreed to return. I have the same title as before but I have different responsibilities. I am now obsessing because I think I really hurt my career.

On one front I could look like a job hopper. I have only had 5 jobs in 20 years. I usually stayed over 5 years at each job (I stayed at one job only 3 years because they went out of business). So I am definitely not a hopper.

My other concern is it will look like I could not adjust to the new job and I returned to the old job with my tail between my legs. This one really concerns me as the company I returned to is having some issues and a layoff could come in the next few months. So it is safe to say that I am quite concerned.

  • Would hiring managers see this as a red flag and throw my resume away?
  • Secondly, is there any way I can represent my five month indiscretion in a manner where it won't cause me to be instantly disqualified for a position?
  • Third, is it unethical to leave it off the resume?
  • Finally, I am working on projects where I can add some interesting items to my resume (such as new programming languages and work in the cloud). Will new skills help me overcome any red flags from my choppy history of the past year?
  • I am not sure what you mean? Do you have advice as to how to handle this on my resume? – Tito Rama Sep 21 '13 at 15:55
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    What is your question? It is not clear to me what you are hoping to have answered. – enderland Sep 21 '13 at 16:01
  • I guess I am looking for a way to put this on my resume that will not immediately disqualify me from opportunities. I was also wondering if I should omit it from my resume all together. Thanks for the input. – Tito Rama Sep 21 '13 at 16:04
  • Why are you worried about this move hurting your career. it would only hurt your career if you decided to move again in such a short amount of time. While your concerns are real you really are worrying over something you cannot change. By the time somebody has made the decision not to hire you they likely have more then one reason. – Donald Sep 23 '13 at 12:07
  • Ramhound: Thanks for the reply. I am not contemplating jumping ship again for a while (a year or more based on the stability of the company). My concern is around how this is perceived on a resume if I a forced out of a job via a layoff. Thanks. – Tito Rama Sep 24 '13 at 10:30
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Don't omit the 5 month period from your resume. It can come back to bite you if they call your employers to confirm the dates of employment. You of course can't leave the 5 month hole in your resume, just be prepared to discuss it.

Several short duration jobs in this economy is not surprising. I have seen many resumes with a detour in them. I always ask about them, but their presence in the resume would not make me disqualify them. Make it clear in the resume that the new job is different than the old job. Don't use the same phrases to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. If you are learning new skills in the new position make it clear that you really didn't regress.

Be prepared to describe why you made each job switch. Knowing after almost six months that you made a mistake shows that you didn't quit after two weeks. It also shows your old employer wanted you back. The worst would be if you hated the job so much your performance suffered and they fired you.

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First thing to consider is that having an employer hire you back after a short move would be considered a good sign. One of the classic questions employers used to ask former employers is 'would you rehire this person?'. Obviously this is demonstrably Yes.

Put the five month job/employer on one line at the bottom of the first page of your resume, indicating you worked for them for an incidental time period. That way you 'haven't left it off', but aren't dwelling on it. By the time a recruiter reads that far, you're probably on a shortlist anyway.

This is not the kind of thing that disqualifies a candidate. An employer would probably see good things if the things you're describing are correct.

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My old employer reached out to me and I agreed to return. I have the same title as before but I have different responsibilities. I am now obsessing because I think I really hurt my career.

I would not be concerned about it hurting your career. The fact they re-hired you means they though highly enough of you to want you back - thats always a good thing.

Would hiring managers see this as a red flag and throw my resume away?

Probably not - the fact you were rehired indicates you are competent at your job.

Secondly, is there any way I can represent my five month indiscretion in a manner where it won't cause me to be instantly disqualified for a position?

Simply list these five months at the other company in chronological order. They will call the old company to verify dates, so there is not a good way to hide this.

Third, is it unethical to leave it off the resume?

See above. I don't know about the ethics, but it will be found out in short order.

Finally, I am working on projects where I can add some interesting items to my resume (such as new programming languages and work in the cloud). Will new skills help me overcome any red flags from my choppy history of the past year?

Update your resume, and be truthful. I think you are overly concerned that a bad job has ruined your life.

One mistake will not ruin your life. You realized this other job was not a good fit for you, and took action to correct the problem. It may not feel like it know, but getting a new job is a much better idea than staying in a bad position. It may feel like you wasted 5 months, but in reality, you'll likely be happier at your new job because of the bad experience you've been through.

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