Should I include the job I quit at 4 months in my resume?

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I quit my new grad nursing job at 4 months in. Left due to very toxic work environment, and was intervening with my learning experience and ruining my mental health. I am now trying to apply for another new grad nurse jobs specifically in pediatrics, should I list my first nursing job I left at 4 months on my resume? Other than that I just have non-patient care related work experience.

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

I'm sorry you started your career in a toxic environment. Please remember that many supportive work environments exist. Don't lose hope!

You are in a bit of a tough spot.

In the future, it's advisable to secure a job before leaving your current one. All factors being equal, employed candidates have a better chance of securing a new position than those who are unemployed.

Due to your residency experience, you may not qualify for many new graduate residency programs. However, with only four months of experience as a registered nurse, most employers may not consider you an experienced RN.

Deciding whether or not to include a short-term job on one's resume can be difficult, particularly if the job was left because of a toxic work environment.

Here are some considerations to help you make a decision you are comfortable with:

Resume Integrity and Honesty

Honesty is key.

In nursing, honesty and trustworthiness are highly valued. It is essential to be truthful on resumes, as misleading information can result in negative consequences such as termination.

Is it likely you'll be found out? Probably not. Is it serious if you are? Yes.

Being upfront about your work history, including short-term positions, maintains the integrity of your resume.

Here's a question: Are you comfortable answering "Yes" to "Is all the information you provided correct?" on your job application?

Leaving it on

  • If you decide to include the job on your resume, be prepared to discuss your reasons for leaving during interviews. Focus on positive aspects, such as seeking a better fit or professional growth.
  • Depending on the program's inclusion/exclusion rules, leaving it on may disqualify you from a residency program.
  • Including it as relevant experience may be beneficial. However, its impact depends on the hiring nurse manager.

Leaving it off

  • If you graduated within the last year, you may still be eligible for new grad residency programs.
  • If you graduated more than a year ago, you might be ineligible for many residency programs. However, you may still consider applying for non-residency positions with a shorter orientation period.
  • Consider highlighting specific skills or experiences that are transferable and relevant to pediatric nursing.
  • A brief explanation can help potential employers understand your unemployment gap. 

Focus on Achievements

When listing the short-term job, focus on any positive contributions or achievements during your time there. This can help shift the narrative away from the reasons for leaving.

Emphasize Relevant Experience

If you have other work experience related to non-patient care, consider emphasizing skills and experiences transferable to nursing, even if they are not directly in healthcare.


Be prepared to provide references from your other work experiences or school. Positive references can speak to your abilities and professionalism.

In summary, it is important to carefully evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of including short-term employment on your resume. Be truthful with yourself so you can be comfortable with your decision.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth