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I have only just graduated University and plan on attending graduate school. In the past I've held part-time positions, and some of them only lasted a few months. Mostly this is because they were not willing to work with my school schedule and I had a major that required a lot of time dedication.

I'm wondering if I should leave these jobs off of my resume, or would that just hurt me more? I only want a part-time job again as this time I'll be living on my own, but I'm worried if I will come off as a liar or look like I'm trying to hide something. I've never been fired but every time I'm asked for why I left a position I can't think of much to put down without sounding like I won't be able to handle a job in graduate school as well. Could anyone offer some advice?

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Lots of people take part time jobs while financing their studies, this is actually a good sign to me. It tells me an interviewee is actually capable of getting up on time in the morning and making his way to work. Which for low level jobs is one of the most important factors.

My advice is to mention the part time jobs and that you were in school at the time. If asked why you left, just say the jobs weren't compatible with your schedule, so you left. That happens and is perfectly reasonable and understandable.

  • +1 and employers are more forgiving towards younger people. We all remember when we were young and somewhat less than wise. As you said, having something on their at the OP's age, is far better than nothing, even if the jobs were short-term or didn't work out. It demonstrates a willingness to do something other than just party at school. A BIG plus for me too. – Richard U Aug 8 '16 at 13:36
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Your resume is your personal sales brochure. You only put on it things that will help you get a job.

There are only two reason to put a job on a resume: 1) You want the hiring manager to know about it 2) not putting it on would create a gap in your history that might cause the hirer to assume something worse than really happened.

As you get later in life, and have more jobs to list, you might find yourself omitting whole jobs - even relevant ones - if they make your resume too long.

Of course if an employer specifically asks for all previous employment yo do have to tell them. But that's usually long after they have seen your resume.

  • This is an excellent point-of-view, IMHO. "Hey, this is sales. Therefore, "it depends!" Yes, the people (like me ...) are sensitive to the presence of "meaningful gaps" ("meaningful" in the sense that they might be concealing "falsehoods = fraud"). But, we really don't need to read "noise." So, for you, it's a balancing-act. Consider whether the work-history details that you include might be "noise" or "important." If they're "likely to be noise," consider "side-stepping" them so that "your essential sales pitch" can remain comfortably on-course. If they have questions, they ask. – Mike Robinson Aug 8 '16 at 4:36
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The ideal solution is to leave the short term jobs on your LinkedIn profile, have the link to that on your resume and then change the title of your jobs to say for example "Relevant Experience" and you can choose to indicate further job experience available on LinkedIn

  • ... meh, as though a person who's scanning a resume actually cares about "this-versus-that resume" to actually bother(!) to go look? (Sorry, I'm logged-in to the HR-portal in my company, and I've got 185 resumes in my in-basket ... just today ...) ### Honestly, if you've never experienced it, "from the other side of The Desk," you have no idea ... O_o ... – Mike Robinson Aug 8 '16 at 4:40
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There are several advantages to leaving the jobs on your resume at this time, some of which have already been discussed in other answers and comments:

  • Avoid gaps
  • Demonstrate job-holding skills.
  • No matter how good your grades, they are more impressive if you were also working at the same time.
  • Combining work and college demonstrates good time management skills.
  • Give potential employers an accurate view of how flexible or inflexible you time will be.

At first sight, the last of these might be seen as a disadvantage. However, it is not to your benefit to get into a job and find your employer expects you to be available on an arbitrary afternoon, even if it means missing lectures for a class in which you are enrolled. Your time may be a bit more flexible as a graduate student than as an undergraduate, and you can discuss that in your cover letter.

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Definitely leave off anything that is irrelevant from your student days.

When I get resumes from wanna-be software engineers that say things like "life guard" and "camp counselor" on them, that is a real turn off for me. It gives me the idea that they have no commitment to the profession or at least no serious interest. The guys I want to hire are the ones who were finding summer jobs as programmers when they were 13 years old.

Once you graduate leaving stuff out is problematic because it leaves a gap. When I see a gap I assume the guy was probably in prison or something. But when you are a student, there is less need to account for your time, so omit anything that is not relevant to the job being applied for.

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    So... if I have a 3 month gap between employment your first assumption I was in jail for that time? That seems to be a very pessimistic assumption. – Anketam Jun 19 '16 at 10:02
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    @Socrates, if you're hiring professional folks, a far more realistic assumption that "prison" to explain a gap would simply be a job stint that didn't work out or a stretch of unemployment for any number of reasonsThis is especially true for people just starting out in their careers. I know you're probably kidding when you say "prison" but a lot of folks take things literally here. – teego1967 Jun 19 '16 at 10:42
  • @teego1967 I was being tongue-in-cheek, but the principle is valid: don't make a prospective employer guess what you might have been doing in a gap. – Socrates Jun 19 '16 at 14:10
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    I quite like the bit about having 'relevant' job experience because that is definitely an advantage. But no one expects too much from students, you can't always get a relevant job. I went through uni doing labouring, cleaning and a bunch of stuff, none of which had anything to do with my degree. – Kilisi Jun 19 '16 at 14:56
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    This is a bit self contradictory. "Leave stuff off"... next paragraph: "gaps are bad". – user5621 Jun 19 '16 at 17:11
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General points:

Length of resume in your 20's, it should be one page.

If you have a bit of experience (e.g. 5-9 years), then maybe put an "Early Career" section to show that you did stuff, then progressed. These would be 1-2 lines per job. This can help show that you know how to do stuff.

Do you want to do it? If your resume is a list of things that you don't want to do anymore, then either drop them, or change the wording.

Is it relevant? If you are in IT, then your HS job of mowing lawns for a few neighbors should drop. But, if you managed a swarm of HS students mowing 50 lawns, had an LLC, bought a riding mower, etc. then it might be relevant if you are going for a business job.

Is it known? If you have an item like an organization or conference or whatever that is not known in your field then it won't help. It also won't help if it is not impressive in some way (at least impressive vs. others who are applying for the same job).

Does it show that you will DO? Employers want you to show them can you can actually do something. They don't really care about your GPA; they don't care if you are a member of church such and such; they don't care if you were in some organization. They want to know, "What will you do for me?" and "How will you help my organization make money?" Use your resume to tell this.

Specific points:

Your resume should be one page. If you don't have enough stuff to fill that, then yes, put on older, less relevant things.
When I'm hiring someone, I want to know that they know how to work a job. Even if all you did at some place was fetch coffee and wash the boss' dog, you have some experience in an office, and understand office protocols, politics, etc. better than someone who has done nothing.
The other thing is that if you have had 2 or 20 short-term part-time jobs in HS and college, that's fine. People are still finding themselves and are finding where they might work. Contrary to another post, no many people can find a job in their career when they are 13. Many people are 30 and still don't know what they want to do - or they've done something they loved, but now need a change.

If you send me your actual resume (even 2-pages would be fine), I can be more specific. (No charge, I'm not a resume writer, just a manager and teacher.)

  • If you are going to vote negative, please indicate why, so that I can make it better. Thanks. – MikeP Aug 8 '16 at 19:54

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