So I received a formal job offer last week, and I am now going through the background check process to get everything finalized.

I have one job that I left off of my resume that was a six-week stint at a collections law firm. It was a horrifyingly bad position (so bad that I ended up in therapy over it), and I left it off of my resume for good reason since it has absolutely nothing to do with my career path.

When I went to apply for this job, they just had me submit my resume and cover letter, and that was it. I didn't submit any addresses or anything else as far as my employment history. They did, however, put me through five interviews and two personality tests for this position, so I know they are thorough when it comes to their interview process.

For the background and credit check, they just wanted my date of birth and my SSN, and they said their 3rd party background checking company would take it from there. I did find it odd that they still did not want any other information, but I figure their background company is also going to be insanely thorough and might catch this job. The only thing they are not doing is giving me a drug test, which is also odd since practically every other job I have had I have had a drug screen.

Now I am super worried since I have not disclosed this minor stint working at this law firm that it is going to kill this job opportunity. I really want this job, so I would like to do the right thing that will help me secure it.

I know that my criminal background is clean as I have had to undergo two background checks for my current position that I was a contract-to-hire for with a Fortune 500 company. I don't know if their employment background check was as thorough as this one will be, but I did have to submit W-9s, copies of my diploma, etc. for my current job. They never asked me about the temporary law firm stint, and I was hired on. It was also a 3rd party that was doing the employment background check.

Should I call the hiring manager in HR that I have been working with and let them know about this job or should I just let it go and wait for them to ask me about it?


2 Answers 2


There is no obligation to include your entire employment history in your CV/Resume (CV from now on in this answer) or covering letter.

Think of a CV as an advert for you, not a full, exhaustive history of your life - you probably haven't included every single piece of voluntary work you've ever done, nor the swimming certificate you gained at age 7.... the point of a CV is to highlight relevant skills for the job you are applying for, so that the recruiter knows you are a good fit (or perhaps more aptly, knows how good/bad a fit you are compared to others and the job requirements). It isn't relevant to your career path, as you say, so has no bearing on your ability to undertake the job, so who cares?

If an application asks for a full job history, or a job history for the last x years, they are asking a question for their own information and an answer requires honesty: you should include all jobs in that time period.

An application form is their document to gather information they require. A CV is your document to highlight information you wish them to know.

If they choose not to ask for a complete employment history, that's their business: and presumably there's a visible gap in your employment dates anyway? So it's up to them if they wish to question it. Note that I don't recommend fudging dates on a CV to "hide" an employment, your CV should be honest even if incomplete.

Further note that many organisations don't really care if you've started a job at some time in your past and then left for whatever reason, particularly if not recent. It happens sometimes, whether that's due to culture clash, skill misfit, or simply a change in circumstances, and most recruiters are human enough to recognize that you are too.

In short, if you didn't lie, and they didn't ask, then they don't want that information... otherwise they would have asked for a complete employment history.

  • So on a job application, if it just says “work history,” it’s ok to leave jobs off that I don’t want to put on there?
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 21:21
  • 1
    A job application is a bit of a grey area, as they're asking specific questions: your CV is you advertising yourself to them, and it's up to you what you put on your advertisement... I think it comes down to "Why aren't you including it?" - if you're excluding 3 months of shelf stacking when you were 15, that's probably reasonable because it's irrelevant
    – Jon Story
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 12:48
  • I was fired from a job for something in my past. I worked another job at the same time. Both jobs were 6 hours a week, no contract and I left the job off of a job application and put the other one on. The specific words on the job application were “work history” when asking about previous employment.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 17:30
  • @Michael Of course it is ok. For example, I was laid off once and did general construction for a time in order to make ends meet. I don't put that on my professional resume because it is irrelevant. If asked about the gap in employment, I explain. Also, once you reach a certain age or years of experience in your field, you generally leave off older and irrelevant jobs. Since I have been in engineering for 25+ years, I leave off my first development job where I did MFC development on Windows 3.1. No one cares and it dates me.
    – rhoonah
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 20:08

It's a bit late to be going back to them with that information in my opinion. And probably not a great idea to say you needed therapy. You're not obligated to give your full work history anyway. So I reckon you should leave it as is unless asked. Many people have left many jobs for many reasons, the point of a CV is to give a factual account of yourself in the best light. No employer expects a blow by blow of your whole life. And no realistic employer expects to see anything detrimental on a CV. If they want your full work history, they will ask for it.

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