Have I damaged my career options after grad school?
April 21, 2011 6:04 PM   Subscribe

How will I look to recruiters after getting the boot before school starts?

I am entering a fairly prestigious master's program in my field in the fall. When I applied, I was happy working where I was.

That relationship has since deteriorated significantly, to the point where I am likely going to resign soon, leaving me potentially unemployed for the summer before the semester starts.

1. How is this going to affect how recruiters look at me?

2. How should I tell the school? It has a robust placement program, and I am worried that losing my current job could result in my acceptance being revoked, or making my relationship with the program awkward

The problems in my current job are largely personal, and I still enjoy the work that I do.
posted by Query to Work & Money (8 answers total)
What kind of masters' program? My graduate school asked nothing about my employment, but that employment was unrelated to my masters.
posted by jb at 6:05 PM on April 21, 2011

I'm pretty sure that I quit my job a month or so before I started grad school to give me some time to relocate to a new city and get settled in before the program started. I don't see why anyone would care, but can't you just imply that you quit a little early because you wanted some time off before your program started?

I agree that nobody in my program cared.
posted by craichead at 6:09 PM on April 21, 2011

You basically fudge things slightly. You left your job early to [travel/study/something romantic] before starting your grad program, right? Right? (And that's assuming that your resume even has the months of employment detailed. Mine doesn't, and neither do many of the resumes that I've seen recently. They often just say "Job A, 2007 - 2011; Job B 2011 - 2013" etc.)

So that's a detail that can usually be left off, and if it is noticed or asked about you just make sure you have a good story involving a trip to Cancun or something.

I don't think there's any need to tell the school anything. Definitely not that you are having personal problems at work. If they ask, tell them you quit early to travel or study (are you seeing a pattern here?).
posted by Forktine at 6:13 PM on April 21, 2011

As a recruiter, I would probably not even notice this. Many people take significant time off before entering graduate programs. When you re-enter the job market, you will be considered entry-level again, just at a higher level. If you can, make sure that you find at least one solid, positive reference before you leave. If you're super-paranoid, you can just list years for the jobs and school. So:


Terrible Job: 2009-2011
Job Before: 2007-2009


M(B?)A, Prestigious University, 2011-2012
BA, Other University, 2003-2007

I have no idea what the graduate program would think but I can't image they'd care unless you were fired for cause.
posted by charmcityblues at 6:13 PM on April 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

yeah, i don't see how your academic institution would care about what happens at your job, let alone revoke your acceptance. or why you would even need to tell the school when and why you quit.
posted by violetk at 6:15 PM on April 21, 2011

You're taking the summer off in order to take some personal time and de-stress so that you'll be ready to hit the ground running your first day of grad school. That's perfectly normal. No one will care.
posted by zachlipton at 8:31 PM on April 21, 2011

I can't imagine the school would care. Plenty of people I know took a few months off between leaving their job and grad school - you can easily play it off as wanting to take some time before starting school (if it even comes up with interviewers, which it probably won't).
posted by redondo77 at 8:45 PM on April 21, 2011

Your previous questions indicate that you graduated from college last year and don't have a particularly stunning job, which means that you were accepted to this graduate program due to your undergraduate record, not your professional accomplishments. So... they won't care and you shouldn't feel compelled to share this information with your school or your future recruiters. In this economy, it's not strange at all for a young person to be unemployed for a few months, and with a graduate program looming it is quite normal to take a break first. And, as previous posters indicated, they'll never find out.
posted by acidic at 10:38 PM on April 21, 2011

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