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Should I put previous employment, which only lasted for two months, on my resume?

Monday November 25, 2013
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Dear Donna,

Should I put previous employment, which only lasted for two months, on my resume? I don't like putting it in my resume because I was terminated.

I am concerned potential employers may find out about my job history. Is there any way employers can find out about and verify an individual’s employment history?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Terminated,

This one is not easy to answer, partly because I don’t know all the details. Some states have laws requiring nurses to reveal all employment on an application. If you live in such a state, then you likely will have to report it. The exception might be if you were a probationary employee (a status that typically lasts for three months but varies from employer to employer), which would exclude the position from the reporting laws in your state.

If you do not live in such a state, it would depend on whether or not you are a new nurse and/or how long ago you held that position. If you were a probationary employee, you might consider not listing it because your termination was the result of a decision not to hire or continue employment rather than a firing.

The downside to not listing it, especially if you are a new nurse and this was your only position to date, is it will appear that you were not working or had no experience during that time. You always run the risk of an employer finding out about it some other way. People talk in social and professional circles and sometimes these topics are discussed.

If that were to happen and you were questioned or confronted about it, you could say you were a probationary employee (if that was the case) and therefore, you did not think it was necessary to include it. You also could explain the termination by saying that it was not a good fit for you or give some similar reason. Again, without knowing the particulars, it’s difficult to give you the exact wording to use.

There is no central data bank that I am aware of where employers can check/verify where you previously worked. You might want to check if there is something online in your social media accounts or other online sources about your employment at this particular position. It's always a good idea to search your own name on the Internet to see if anything comes up.

You may want to talk to an RN career coach to help with your particular situation. Find out what laws, if any, exist in your state about reporting all past employment on a job application. A nurse career coach in your state should know; you also can consult a nurse attorney or search for the information online.

Best wishes,


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.