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I recently accepted a new position that is turning out to not be a good fit. I've been there a little over a month. I'm not likely to be fired, but I just don't want to work there. I'm normally not a job-hopper - my last position was eight years, and just under five years at the one before that.

Under normal circumstances I just wouldn't list such a job on the resume at all. Unfortunately, prior to this I was doing only side projects, not paid work, for almost a year. So if I don't list it, I'll end up dealing with the extended gap on my resume, which was already something of a problem. On the other hand, if I do list it, I'll have to explain why I'm already leaving. Either way I'll be going hat-in-hand back to recruiters that I turned down recently, and in those cases I don't see how I'll be able to avoid it.

I know the conventional wisdom is to be honest, show that it's a learning experience and be as positive as possible. And in an interview I'm sure I can do that, but I have to get past the awkward stage. How do I present myself?

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    " Either way I'll be going hat-in-hand back to recruiters that I turned down recently, and in those cases I don't see how I'll be able to avoid it." - avoid what? – DarkCygnus Oct 12 '20 at 20:24
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    " Unfortunately, prior to this I was doing only side projects, not paid work, for almost a year. So if I don't list it, I'll end up dealing with the extended gap on my resume, which was already something of a problem" - how were you presenting yourself prior to getting this current job? How did you approached the doing side projects when you landed this job? – DarkCygnus Oct 12 '20 at 20:25
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    "So if I don't list it, I'll end up dealing with the extended gap on my resume" You already have almost a year of a gap on your resume, I don't think an extra month or two will make that big of a difference. – sf02 Oct 12 '20 at 20:38
  • Probation period works two way. And as employees might not fit the employers expectations the same can be said the other way around. You learned something about yourself and about your expectations toward the employer. – SZCZERZO KŁY Oct 14 '20 at 10:00
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This is not necessarily a bad situation. With potentially negative/awkward situations in job interviews, it is always best to take control. That shows you don't have anything to hide, and you can emphasize what you got from it.

Keep in mind that you are leaving because you feel like that comapany is not a good fit for you. This does not have to be a awkward thing, it is a decision that you came back on. You learned (hopefully) at least two things from it: How to prevent a bad fit like this in the future, and maybe some job-specific skills. Given that your resume has those longer-term positions, this will not look bad, but you have to take control of it.

Although you should keep in mind that you really understand why it is not a good fit and how to prevent/assess this better in a new application process.

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I know the conventional wisdom is to be honest, show that it's a learning experience and be as positive as possible. And in an interview I'm sure I can do that, but I have to get past the awkward stage. How do I present myself?

It appears that you already know exactly what to do - show that it's a learning experience, and be as positive as possible.

You'll also have to explain why your current job is a bad fit, and why your next job won't be.

This is not unusual. In a long career, it happens to many. It may feel awkward (it is), but you'll get past it quickly. If necessary, practice your phrasing with a friend.

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Even if it's the right thing to do (saying the truth), don't. You only worked here for a month and it's a very small and easily forgottable piece of your career. Recruters are going to judge you negatively for the years coming and will see this hop as if you could do it again and that they are taking a chance on you.

Of course you should never lie, but some truths requires long and costly explanations that recruiters are not quite keen to believe nor have time to listen to. Their job is to curate the good from the bad and they only have so much time to do so.

Leaving as soon as possible is the right thing to do. I'm sure you're a very capable human being with lots of skills. You'll find a better place in the next one.

I wish you luck.

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I know the conventional wisdom is to be honest, show that it's a learning experience and be as positive as possible. And in an interview I'm sure I can do that, but I have to get past the awkward stage.

This is exactly what you should do but don't just leave it at "it wasn't a good fit". Be ready to explain in a polite and professional manner why it wasn't a good fit, and more importantly why you feel the company you're interviewing for is a good fit. From there you can more easily direct the conversation to why the new company or position is so great and what you bring to the table.

I would avoid leaving the position off your resume entirely because if somebody did find out you used to work there it could lead to them asking "why did you lie to us about your employment history?". This is a much worse question to have to answer than "why did you leave your last job after such a short period of time?".

As an aside don't stress too much about being seen as a job hopper. One short term job, in a string of long term jobs does not make you a job hopper and, even if you want to argue that it does, doing a little bit of job hopping is not the kiss of death to your career that some people would have you believe.

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