Is It OK to Leave a Job Off Your Resume?

9 Sep

This is an interesting ethical question. Ethics includes questionable behavior that involves both errors of commission and omission. For many job applicants, the answer depends on how likely the applicant feels that the company will actually find out the about omission — and not the ethics of the situation.

So, consider this note to Suzanne Lucas, the “Evil HR Lady,” as reported by CBS Money Watch:

I relocated to attend school. I looked for a job for six months and finally landed one. After five months, I was released from the job (during my probationary period). Now I’m unemployed and looking for work. I have a few interviews lined up but I am hesitant to bring up my last job at the interview (it is not listed on my resume). I’m afraid if I don’t disclose it, it will come out in the background check and that if I do disclose the job I will be denied employment. I’m not sure what to do. Help!

How would YOU respond to the writer of this note?

Click the image to read the answer of Lucas.





13 Responses to “Is It OK to Leave a Job Off Your Resume?”

  1. Alex Seminara September 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    I do not believe that anybody should leave a job off of their resume. In the writer’s case, they clearly made a mistake in their current job that they do not want to bring up again. If it comes up in a background check without notice of from the writer, it will be a double negative. They will have found out about the bad scenario and they will know that the writer was trying to sweep that issue under the rug. I would just leave everything out on the table so there is no concern with your past experiences.

  2. Brooke Sameyah September 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    I believe that leaving a job off of your resume really depends on the situation. If it was a legitimate job that is in the same industry as the job you are applying to, you probably should throw it in there because your employer is bound to find out through background checks. However, if the job you’re debating on weather to list or not is a small job like working at a day camp, babysitting, etc., then it’s unnecessary and excessive. Keep it short and sweet people, short and sweet.

  3. Victoria Olivencia September 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    I feel that in any case it would be best to list all jobs you have done in the past on your resume. In some cases people may feel like they would rather not. I don’t think that is the best decision though because if hired at the job you are applying for, there could be consequences later on if they find out you left a job off your resume. If you are not fond of a past job experience, and that is your reason for wanting to leave it off your resume, don’t. You can always focus on the positive aspects of that job and what you learned from it.

  4. Morgan Pesciotta September 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    I would say that it is not okay for Suzanne to leave off the job from her resume. Even though she was at the job for such a short time it is still important information, because she could have acquired skills while working at the job that would maybe help her get a new one. Not only is she hindering her chances of getting the job but she is also not choosing the ethical path. It is always better when trying to get a new job to be honest because with technology it is easy to find out past working history, but in the end I think it really should be on the resume and the only reason that the job would cause her to not get the new job would be if Suzanne got fired for doing something very unethical.

  5. Danielle Bradle September 14, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I do not think jobs should be left of anyone resume. If you are not honest and upfront with your future employer from the beginning then how would they be able to trust you working for their company in the future? If they mention the past job during the interview you can justify your dilemma now and it will no longer be a problem or constantly in the back of your mind. Having the job on your resume also adds experience and illustrates the skills that you now have.

  6. Chelsey Fuller September 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    It is a very difficult decision whether you should leave a job off a resume or not. In this case since it was your one and only job you need to put it on your resume. It may not have worked out in the end but it shows possible employers that you have had some past skills with employment and this isn’t the first job experience for you. In the interview, when they ask about your last job, just say “it wasn’t the best place for me.” It just helps show that you didn’t give up on your last job and that you want a better experience somewhere else. It may seem frightening at first because no one wants to admit they did a bad job but something got you hired for that first job and that quality might just do it again at your interviews. You have to accept your mistakes and use them to learn from and make your future better.

  7. Jacqueline Gallagher September 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    I believe leaving a job off your resume really depends on the situation. For instance, if something bad happened, but you did not do anything wrong and your boss just hated you for no reason then I believe it is okay to leave a job off your resume. But, if you did something wrong like steal money from your employer or job then it is wrong for you to leave that off of your resume, because that is a criminal act. But overall, if it was me I would include everything on my resume because if they do a background check and realize you left something out like a certain job, they might immediately reject you.

  8. Sarah Fischbach September 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Leaving a job experience off your resume is a decision that should be examined on a case-by-case basis. When a young adult is first creating a resume, he or she should examine all of his or her employment opportunities and omit from the resume those that are not specifically applicable to the job industry of interest. This same scenario can be applied to someone updating his or her resume and deciding to omit job experiences that can no longer be considered current or beneficial. In the case mentioned above, the individual’s chances of obtaining a new job will most likely be hindered if she leaves off the job that she was released from. Her future employers will be able to fact-check her previous jobs and find out that she was in fact released from a job a while before. I think that it would be much better for her to put the job on her resume and bring the situation up during an interview. This way she could talk about the experience and discuss potential strengths and weakness that she has since improved upon.

    • Brittany S. September 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

      I think it is okay to leave a job off your resume, especially if the job that you are leaving off has nothing to do with the position that you are applying for. For example, I have two resumes. One is for waitressing, and one is for marketing communications. I wouldn’t put my waitressing jobs on my marketing resume because it is just unnecessary and doesn’t highlight my marketing skills. I just feel like in this competitive day in age, it is very important to have a stand out resume. So my advice is: stand out on your resume, then explain yourself once you get to the interview. That may not be ethical, but I think you are disadvantaging yourself if you don’t promote yourself as much as possible.

  9. Christopher Jenkins November 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    I don’t see why not, when it comes to working for a company if I feel they company doesnt serve my best interest then why must I use it? I’m am in no way tied to that company in any way this process of resumes and interviews really comes down to competency. I’m just sick and tired of lack of privacy and respect for my simple request to leave something off! My rant is now complete….I feel better lol

  10. jwhite38 December 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    I do not think people should leave out any jobs on their resumes. Resumes are supposed to be about experience in the workplace and the more the better. Even if you had a bad experience at a job its the experience that you got out of the job that matters.


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