I finished my masters (UK) in media studies last year, and hope to apply for PhD this year. I recently resigned from an industry job at a large MNC during probation.
It is an industry job which I intended to keep while preparing for my PhD application and gaining 'real world' experience (since my topic of interest is related to this industry). However it turned out I could not manage the heavy workload (12-hour days and long commute), researching schools, preparing for GRE and other tests, hence I resigned before I was a confirmed staff so I didn't have to give a longer notice, and hoped to get another job when I feel ready again. I believe I did make solid contributions while on said job; and have had industry placement in the same area during my undergrad years; if these are relevant.
So my questions are,
Would keeping this job which I quitted during probation on my CV reflect badly in PhD applications? Should I just not list it, and let there be a (almost a year long) gap? If not, how should I mention it?
I have this concern because many current students in top programs (US, UK, Europe) in my field had industry experiences, and I am worried I am not competitive enough.
My field is media and cultural studies.
Definitely mention it. Always keep your CV honest and complete.
I'm unfamiliar with your field; but in the fields I'm familiar with, a fairly casual "Was excited about opportunity, and to gain some industry experience, but my passion is academia" should be enough. A lot of people don't go straight from undergrad to Ph.D. - most of those worked in industry for a while to realize that they'd rather do research. I don't see how when you quit matters. Shouldn't be a biggie. (I'm not commenting on whatever field-specific requirements or conventions you allude to)