Job seekers can easily lose focus navigating the job market when certain issues roll in and fog up the process. Your resume is one of your most important documents. If you cannot make a good first impression quickly, you lose your chance at an interview. Leaving a job early or quitting during the probation period may be a potential red flag, depending on how you handle it.
Quitting During Probation
Employers implement probation periods to determine if an employee fits with the organization and has the skills and experience to handle the job. According to Lawyers.com, the time period varies and can last weeks or months. When deciding whether to include a job you quit during a probation period, analyze why you left. If you left the job to pursue a better opportunity or to further your education, the damage of quitting during the probation period may be minimal. If you were dismissed from the job or if you did not work there very long, it may be wise to leave it off the resume.
A further consideration is the nature of the job. If you left during the probationary period, but the job is unrelated to the one you are pursuing, you may choose to leave it out. Resumes have very limited space -- typically, they are not longer than two pages -- so it would be best to devote space toward information that matters to the prospective employer.
Classifying the Job
If you choose to include the job on your resume, you can craft the description carefully to minimize any negative effects quitting during the probationary period may have. For example, you could classify the job as a temporary position. This is especially true if you were an at-will employee who can leave the job for any reason at all, including no reason at all. The probationary period is as much a learning curve for the employee as the employer, and the job simply may not have been a good fit for you.
Employers require varying degrees of career history. Let the employer’s terms dictate what you list on your resume or job application. For example, if the employer asks for a “complete” work history that dates back several years, you should list every job you held during that period. Additionally, if you choose to omit a job, it may create a gap in your resume that you may need to explain away.
Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.