Cody Szeto is director of the IT&T, engineering, supply chain and procurement divisions at Kelly Services Hong Kong.
Should I keep a part-time post that ended badly on my CV?
I took on a part-time role at a small publishing company, which had a high turnover rate. Additional duties fell on me and I found myself working full-time hours for part-time pay. Not only that, my other part-time job was suffering and my salary cheque also bounced. I decided to leave after just four months. Then the boss “terminated” me after I had already left. Should I keep this work experience – which looks good in my portfolio – on my CV or should I leave it off?
I understand your hesitation in adding this part-time job to your employment history. I believe it stems from a few concerns. Firstly, it may create a negative impression of you being a job-hopper; secondly, it may invite difficult questions in your future interviews.
Job-hopping is only a concern for potential employers when hiring permanent or contract staff, not for part-time roles. In this case, I believe you were actually in a contract role instead of a part-time role in the publishing company.
According to the Employment Ordinance, anyone who works for a company for more than 18 hours per week continuously for four weeks or more will be considered a contract hire and is entitled to the benefits of a full-time staff member.
If this is the case, you may consider the following: Many large multinationals rank honesty and integrity as some of the most important criteria in hiring. It is common for potential hirers to perform professional background checks on job applicants.
It is therefore important to stick to the truth when writing your CV.
Hirers usually judge whether you are a job-hopper from your overall track record, not from a single entry on your CV. If you have been working for each of your other employers for two years or more, I would say you have a stable employment record and you need not worry about being judged a job-hopper.
When you are given an opportunity to be interviewed, it is important to stay positive. Try not to make negative comments about your boss in the publishing company and your previous working conditions there. These facts, though true, will likely appear as complaints and unprofessional, and may undermine your interviewers’ impression of you.
The smart thing to do is to stay focused on the positive job experiences and what you learned in each role. However, if your potential employers enquire about your experience in the publishing company, you should be open and provide evidence to support the facts if requested – for example, you can show them the bounced cheque you received for your salary.
Again, I suggest you steer your reply to let your constructive and positive side shine.