The best way to explain short stints on your CV

It seemed like the perfect job: tons of responsibility and plenty of growth opportunities. The only catch? The position lasted just a couple of months. Should you put it on your CV?

While there is no hard and fast rule about how long a job needs to last in order to include it on your resume, career experts say there is usually a way to explain those short stints - without putting off potential employers - if you feel the job was important.

Some explaining to do

"It can often do more harm than help if you don't offer up the reason for the short time in context," said Atlanta-based executive coach Jodie Charlop in an email.

For example, if you have a group of short-term assignments in a row, batch the roles into something more meaningful, suggested Charlop. "It's all in how you present the story and what story you are trying to tell," she said. Group the short-term gigs under a "project management or project leadership" heading, the same way you would list a company, suggested Charlop. Then, with the bullet points, share your best skills or results across several jobs instead of the traditional job-by-job approach.

Without explanation, any positions that lasted less than a year will beg the question: Why did you leave?

"Anything on your resume that looks questionable can knock you out and you never get the opportunity to explain the context in an interview," said Charlop. So, you can't wait until a face-to-face to explain.

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