If you’re currently looking for a job, it’s not uncommon to find yourself with one or more temporary work assignments included in your employment history. So the question naturally arises: Do you include them all on your resume? If you don’t, is that permissible – or are you failing to present a true picture?

Omitting certain short-term assignments is not only allowable, but it helps ensure that your resume is a lean, concise and effective marketing tool for your future success. But often, temp jobs are viewed by recruiters and hiring managers as positive aspects of candidates – demonstrating their initiative and willingness to take on new challenges and responsibilities while fulfilling their long-term career strategy.

In a nutshell, if your temporary work helps build your case, it should be included on your resume. If the job was short-term and has no relevance to your overall job search objectives, you can probably leave it off.

Start with these general rules of thumb:

  • If a job lasted less than six months and was not relevant, omit it from your resume.
  • If you held a position in the last one to two years and it lasted between six and 12 months, it generally should be included. List it under your Work History.
  • However, if a job lasting six to 12 months is buried in your past work chronology, leave it off unless it is of significant relevance.
  • Include on your resume any jobs that lasted one year or more.

Exceptions to the Rules

As you follow your chronological resume format – which allows for additional lines of text and helps you to list multiple jobs in an organized fashion – there certainly may be exceptions to general rules and guidelines. After all, every situation and every job candidate is unique in what they have to offer and want to present.

  • When listing your pertinent work history, use only years. You usually can omit months. This gives you elbow room to leave off less important, short tenure jobs. And it keeps hiring pros from nitpicking.
  • Avoid the “job hopper” label. Winnow down your employment history to include the best job descriptions. For instance, if you held two short-term positions in the same calendar year, you probably want to choose one, unless both were truly significant career steps for you.
  • Include important contract work. A series of short assignments under contract or freelance situations can be bundled in a section labeled Contract Experience. In a temporary contract agreement, list the name of your staffing agency as your actual employer. Add a blurb about the company specialty area. Highlight two or three achievements under each temporary job.
  • Also bundle older relevant experience. Resumes typically cover a time span of the past 15 to 20 years. But if you have older experience that merits inclusion, bundle it into a section labeled Previous Experience.

Millions of professionals benefit from temporary work assignments every year – and they can be true career assets. Make yours work for you as you pave the way to success along your career pathway. To learn more, read our related posts or contact the team at Magellan Search & Staffing today.