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5 months ago I left a job of 4 years to work at a big insurance corporation doing computer programming. Now that I am where I always wanted to be, I realized only after a few months that I do not like working for a huge company and really dislike going to work every day. The problem is, I've only been here 5 months.

I want to change my job but I feel like I am at risk of not being hired because of my short stint here. Companies might think I left this big corporation, I might leave their company also. Mind you, my previous positions were all longer than 2 years. So all in all I have a good working history.

I'm still working here but want to find somewhere else to work, I had someone recommend that I completely leave this job off my resume and simply tell potential recruiters/interviewers that I took some time off to travel and whatnot. I think that might look better than trying to explain why I left a big insurance company after 5 months.

Any thoughts?

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    I did computer programming before, now took up a Data Engineering position. I feel like the company has too many processes, too many people involved. Too many sign offs. I would like to go back to doing what I did in my last job. Preferrably work in a smaller circle. – Koosh Dec 30 '19 at 14:49
  • It doesnt feel like home. Ive been missing my old job where I had much more freedom, but i feel like it would be a step backward if i went to my old company – Koosh Dec 30 '19 at 14:51
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    Why did you leave your job after only 5 months? I found that the culture was not a great fit for me (elaborate from there) – AndreiROM Dec 30 '19 at 14:54
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    "I do not like working for a huge company and really dislike going to work every day" Rewrite that in a constructive way e.g. "I really like working in a small team and flat management structure, where I can see how my work directly impacts the customer" – smci Dec 31 '19 at 9:12
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    Just a note to guide your job search: all the processes and procedures and sign-offs are natural and to be expected from conservative organizations where risk-management reigns supreme. So, avoid banking, defense, aviation, health care and... insurance. – Dave Dec 31 '19 at 13:46
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I had someone recommend that I completely leave this job off resume and simply tell potential recruiters/interviewers that I took some time off to travel and whatnot. I think that might look better than trying to explain why i left a big insurance company after 5 months.

That someone gave you bad advice. You would be better off not lying. Imagine a background check turns up your current employment and you have to explain your falsehood. Imagine a company where you are interviewing has someone from your current company working there.

Make it clear in your own mind what you don't like about your current job and why you want to leave, so that you can explain it well. Be prepared to talk about what is different about the company you are applying for, and why it won't end the same way.

For example, if you have only previously worked for smaller companies and just found out that you don't like working for large companies, it would be reasonable to apply only for smaller companies. It would be easy to explain your short stint as something you wanted to try that simply didn't work out as expected.

As long as you have this figured out, an employer won't hold one short stint against you. Everyone makes a mistake now and then.

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    Not to mention that the lie can be very easy, and even accidentally, discovered. – Tymoteusz Paul Dec 30 '19 at 13:48
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    It's not necessarily a mistake if the op has never worked at a big company before. – reggaeguitar Dec 30 '19 at 22:06
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    Simply saying that you did not enjoy working for a big company may not be the best response since potential employers may think that you will leave when the company grows. You may need to figure out how to state that you did not like working for an already established large company but would really like to help the potential company grow and reduce the red tape/politics that usually come as a company grows. – Reimus Klinsman Dec 30 '19 at 22:33
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    +1, but express why you want to leave, so that you can explain it well in positive terms, as commenter @smci illustrates with the original post. – Justin Dec 31 '19 at 9:23
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    @ReimusKlinsman I think your concern needs to be tempered with a sense of scale. I've worked for employers with 200,000 employees. Switching to a company with 400 employees, there would clearly not be any serious chance of growth that would make the companies equivalent. Ultimately though, the important thing should be identifying what about a large company you don't like, and avoiding that, instead of just being selective based on company size. – dwizum Dec 31 '19 at 13:30
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There is no reason to worry or lie about this. Just be honest and say you didn't feel the company was the right fit for you. There is nothing wrong with that.

You have a good history and that is all that matters. I am responsible for going though resumes at my company, and 5 months wouldn't bother me because you have held a job for 4 years and others for 2 years.

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    "say you didn't feel the company was the right fit for you." Not exactly; prepare to explain concretely why the insurance company was not the right fit, but the interviewing company is. – erickson Dec 31 '19 at 18:01
  • Agree with saying why you think the new company is a good fit. Disagree with details on why the other company wasn't. Just say it wasn't a good fit is more than enough. If you go in to detail you risk sounding negative and bitter or mentioning something you didn't like which the new company does as well. – flexi Dec 31 '19 at 18:38
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    As a frequent interviewer, if a candidate tells me that a job wasn't a good fit, I'm going to ask them why anyway. But you are right, there are hazards, definitely don't go negative about the company; explain what it is about you that wasn't a good fit. And if that does include things that would make you a bad fit for the position under consideration, then great: the interview process is working, and helping the candidate and the employer avoid another mistake. – erickson Dec 31 '19 at 18:41
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Companies might think I left this big corporation, I might leave their company also

Without any context, perhaps. So it's your job to give them that context.

Interviewers are just people - if you tell them you tried the job, didn't like it for genuine concrete reasons, and decided to move on to something better, most will relate. It's a rare person who's not felt similarly and at least considered doing the same at some point in their career.

Conversely, if you lie or give 'good-sounding' but completely made-up reasons for your actions, they'll intuit that remarkably well. Even if they can't point to anything specific, it'll create a bad impression which will probably cost you an offer. Never, ever do that.

On a general level, being honest and straightforward in interviews is always the optimal long term strategy. Look at this situation. If you're honest, they'll know that you're the sort of person who knows what they want, and won't settle for less and just 'stick it out'. If they suspect that the job won't really match what you want, this means they won't offer it to you. Bad short term, perhaps, but probably what you want longer term.

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Don't lie. There are several companies which ask for a Job Employment history form (which is obtained from the social services), in which you could easily ruin your chances.

Just be honest, and tell them the reason on why you're leaving the company. Practically (depends where you're from), each job by law is given a 6-month probation in which you may freely leave without giving any notice period. Furthermore, this probation period is the best way to see if it's the appropriate job for you.

Just simply tell them that the expectations that you may have been promised or told of, were not met.

Although you did spend just 5 months with your current company, you still have evidence of commitment of years to your previous jobs.

This is just a part of life. Good luck!

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Stay honest. Lying on an application only to be discovered later is not good. There is no shame in having a single short term job on your resume, as long as it is the only one.

You gave it 5 months, it did not turn out the way you wanted, and you decided to leave. In my opinion, that is better than hanging in there for a year or two longer hoping things will change.

The candidates I am more concerned about hiring, are the ones who have a long list of 2-year stints at various companies. A candidate with that kind of resume needs to have a good explanation for each to convince me that he/she plans to stay longer than 2 years in the job I am interviewing him/her for.

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    Could you elaborate on: "A candidate .. needs to ... convince me that he/she plans to stay longer than 2 years"? Are there particular benefits you gain from low employee turnover? – Qsigma Dec 31 '19 at 9:26
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    Consistency - if you change employees every 2 years you will have no knowledge about why things are designed the way they are or the background (this is particularly important within software, where your code hopefully lives for more than 2 years). Documentation only provides so much information. Furthermore a high employee turn-over means lot of time wasted on retraining people. – sjkp Dec 31 '19 at 10:24
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    @Qsigma Employees take time to come up to speed. Software devs in particular need to learn the dev environment, the codebase, the procedures, the product requirements... it can easily be 6 months or more before a dev is really productive. Which means companies really need to retain devs for at least 2 years. – DaveG Dec 31 '19 at 11:55
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    "A candidate .. needs to ... convince me that he/she plans to stay longer than 2 years" this is really interesting. In a few markets I'm familiar with (Boston, Silicon Valley, etc.) the average turnover for software engineers is around 2 years – TheEnvironmentalist Dec 31 '19 at 17:49
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    @Qsigma Give me an X-ray diffractometer. After ten years of learning I'll be able to say I am not a rookie... In transmission electron microscopy preparation of one sample may take months to find there was an error in the beginning... – Crowley Dec 31 '19 at 19:20
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I don't see a problem as long as you're honest and not too negative about what you don't like in your current job. Presumably those factors won't be present at the place you're applying to - or why would you bother.
Try to spin the differences in a positive way, i.e. I like small teams where I can do different things rather than I hate big teams where everyone specializes in a tiny part.

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While you are working there is actually a good time to look for a new job. By the time you get an interview you will likely be at your current job 6 months, and that's long enough you can honestly say you gave it your best shot but it wasn't a good fit for you. Just be prepared to describe why you are leaving in positive terms, i.e. I prefer having more responsibility in a flatter organization, etc.

Secondly, you will be interviewing while you still have a job, which provides two significant benefits. One, you can be picky about finding the right job without worrying about being unemployed. Secondly, when you get an offer for the right job, you don't have to worry about what your existing employer will say. Your new employer won't be making a reference check to your existing employer if you still work there. Once you leave, your former boss may decide to trash your performance if called.

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If I sum it up right, you were working in multiyear stints for smaller companies and now realized that working for The Big Shark Corp. is not your cup of tea. I suppose you know what upsets you in this position and hopefully you will be more sensitive to hints that show that new position would be similar.

The interview(s) are there not only to assess you as a possible employee, but you will also do your own assessment of the possible employer. If you ask good questions you both will get the figure.

Besides, your statistics are at worst 2:1 in favor of longer stints. Your last position may be called an exception. Discuss what was good and what was bad for you and you'll find a new position easily. Focus on the future and take the past as a lesson.

  • Starting in 2009, job lenghts: 2 years 7 months, 2 years 5 months, 3 years 10 months. Not necessarily exception, i spend a lot of time on linked in and see plenty of people with 1 year stints at multiple jobs. – Koosh Jan 2 at 15:14

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