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EDIT: I did not work for a startup - I worked for a team that was once a startup, aquired in 2012, and which had mostly its original startup members, with startup problems in culture and tech quality. It effectivley "looks" like I did a 7 month stint at a FAANG and I have no idea how to justify it.

I worked for Microsoft for three years as a software developer. Then, I took a job with a famous company in Silicon Valley that you have heard of. I landed on a strange and bad team – I didn't know this when I signed, but it was a startup the SV company had acquired and had culture / tech quality issues reflecting this. I also disliked Silicon Valley strongly, and wanted to move back to Seattle. After 7 months I quit.

I am now working at a job that is fine but doesn't really align with my passions – it's a web development job, but I want to get back to what I was doing at Microsoft, working on cloud services. I took my current job to get out of a bad situation, not because it's what I really want to be doing. I will be applying for roles again in a year or so.

Should I take my 7 month stint off of my resume? I did some impressive design and implementation work I could talk about, but I passed it off to another developer before shipping it. On the whole, it was a negative experience. I'd certainly love to go the rest of my life pretending it never happened, and as such may have a difficult time talking about it in an interview.

  • 1
    Questions require a goal that we can address. Rather than explaining the difficulties of your situation, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, see this meta post. – Sourav Ghosh Nov 6 at 11:18
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    After the edit: now it's too broad. Sorry. – Sourav Ghosh Nov 6 at 11:20
  • edited again to make the question more specific and actionable – user111542 Nov 6 at 11:30
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    As a hiring manager, I would leave it in. The gap would bother me more than a short stint at a start-up. – Lumberjack Nov 6 at 16:35
  • If you take it off then the 7 month gap will assure that you will be asked about it during interviews. – onnoweb Nov 6 at 21:40
44

It might have been a negative experience for you personally, but it was relevant work exprience nevertheless (or at least it could be sold as such to a hiring manager). And if you leave it off, you might have to answer questions about the apparent 7 month gap in your employment.

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    exactly, unless you expect a very bad reference from this employer I do not see nay reason to leave it off – user180146 Nov 6 at 13:24
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This sounds like a positive thing. You took a chance doing something outside of your comfort zone, learned a couple of new things, realized that it wasn't for you and moved on. Now you have additional experience in an area that you did not have previously and realized that you really enjoyed the field that you're trying to get back into.

These are all things that can be valuable to express in an interview. It shows that you tried something different and realized that you really enjoyed work with Cloud Services (which you would presumably be applying to get back into). That would answer simple questions like "why do you want to work in this area?" and provide a great example of more common questions about negative work experiences.

I would not remove that experience from your resume, but focus on how you can use that knowledge to get back into the place where you want to be. It may have been a negative experience at the time, but you have the ability to learn from it and turn it into a more positive experience by learning what you did not like or want from a position, work environment, and even geographical location.

8

No - don't omit it.

Doing so leaves your CV with a 7 month gap which you will be asked to explain. You can either lie (but if they find out, your candidacy will end there and then) or you can tell the truth. However this is likely to raise further difficult questions as to why it was not included on your CV (and I'd nearly guarantee you they will assume a worst case scenario - effectively ending your candidacy).

Alternatively you can leave it on your CV. If asked, you can discuss all the great work you did while there - talk about what you learned, how it helped you progress. Interviewers might never ask why you left - or why your stay was so short - but in either case wanting to return to Seattle is a perfectly valid excuse. You're basically saying "I was brave enough to move my whole life to a different city, I gave it best part of a year and it wasn't for me". IMO, having the courage to do that is a huge positive in a candidate - it suggests they won't be satisfied with the same old tried and tested approach to things, they will think outside the box, look for better solutions and challenge existing perceptions. More importantly, it means you don't need to say anything negative about the organisation or its staff when explaining why you left.

5

I always leave a 6-week stint at Microsoft off my resume. I didn't acquire any relevant experience while I was there, so it would be a meaningless addition to my resume. Plus, I hated the job and don't want to talk about it.

The section of my resume where I list my work experience is called "Work Experience." It's not called "Work History," and I make no attempt to provide a comprehensive listing of all the jobs I've had in the last 30 years. I add what is recent and what is relevant. If anyone wants to know more, they can ask, but no one ever has.

So I'm fine with leaving things off your resume. But in your case, I wouldn't. Working at a startup, you should have gained a ton of experience, because at most startups, you have to do more with less. You have to be more self-sufficient, and self-motivated. Even the fact that you hated it in the end is good thing, because you learned something about yourself. (Or maybe not, if you are in another job you hate!) It's all good stuff, and I would sell it, not hide it.

4

You're a software developer. In software, 7 months is a short, but not unacceptably short time in one job. It's relevant experience.

Include the job, but don't emphasize it. Keep your list of achievements in that down to one. Company-title-dates, one bullet point, one plain phrase denoting your achievement.

You also have a perfect excuse for quitting so soon: any phrase that includes the power word "startup". The nature of startups is so well known that you could exit in a month and no one will blink an eye, including with a purchased startup. That's not the same as a 7-month stint at FAANG.

Even that is not a problem considering the rest of your resume. Your 3-year job is proof that you can hold one down.

  • I did not work for a startup - I worked for a team that was once a startup, aquired in 2012, and which had mostly its original startup members, with startup problems in culture and tech quality. It effectivley "looks" like I did a 7 month stint at a FAANG and I have no idea how to justify it. – user111542 Nov 6 at 22:32
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    Agreed. A single relatively short stint on a resume is NOT a big deal in the software world. Sometimes shit happens. It only becomes a red flag when it's multiple short stints in sequence. – Glenn Willen Nov 7 at 3:43
  • @user111542 But you've just justified it - why not say the same in an interview? It's nowhere near a big enough deal as to prevent one. – Therac Nov 7 at 4:11
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You worked at a FAANG. That's a badge of honor in this industry, regardless of the messy details.

Sure, you were only there seven months, but it doesn't sound like you make a habit of short stints, given that you were at Microsoft for three years. I don't know Seattle tech culture, but here in the Bay Area two years is generally seen as a long tenure.

If and when it comes up in interviews, talk about what you learned at that FAANG. It's up to you how you frame your reasons for leaving, but I think missing Seattle is the most neutral one and won't reflect poorly on you. Then steer the conversation back to why you liked working at Microsoft, and what excites you about the company you're interviewing with, whether it's similarities to Microsoft or something unique about the new company.

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The average developer tenure at some of the large companies is just about 1-2 years. 7 months is short, but not absurdly short. The median tenure at Facebook and Google is just 11-12 months. The amount of time you spent there (unless it was Netflix) isn't that great an anomaly.

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