Research shows that people are changing jobs more often than in the past. And while this is becoming common practise, changing jobs too often and having a C.V. dominated exclusively by short-term stints can earn you the label of ‘job hopper’. It’s a label you want to try and avoid as it could weaken your appeal to future employers.
Why companies avoid job hoppers
Hiring managers often look for positive patterns in job histories such as promotions and long periods at a company. A poor pattern is someone who has left several jobs after only a year or even more often. Recruiting staff is expensive and companies want to hire people they feel will stay for a long time. They don’t want to replace an employee in six months to a year.
How to improve a job hopper C.V.
It’s true that job hopping can come across as a lack of interest or dedication to a potential employer. However, if addressed correctly, the effect of your varied job history can be minimised.
Your C.V. is the first point of contact when looking for a new job, so its goal is to sell your skills and get you an interview. By positively embracing your job history and presenting yourself as a loyal, dependable candidate, your C.V. is more likely to be considered for a position.
If you have had many short employment stints, here are five tips to strengthen your C.V. and make sure you aren’t seen as a job hopper.
The start of your C.V. needs to immediately present you in a strong, positive way. Think of it as your first impression that is going to immediately cast you in a good light and keep your potential employer reading.
You want to emphasise your strengths and experience and present yourself as a dedicated employee who is going to stay in a position for a long time. Statements like “hard worker who is looking to grow in a position” are a good way to get this sentiment across.
With a mixed job history there is no way to hide multiple short stints at many companies. However, what you can do to improve the message this sends is to show these periods of employment, as well as the reasons you left, in a positive way.
Reasons for leaving such as “looking for new opportunities” or “looking for better room for growth” should be included (only if they are true of course) to give an employer a better understanding of why you have moved jobs. Keep it positive and never ‘bad mouth’ previous employers – this just looks unprofessional.
Try to limit your C.V. to the jobs you worked the longest at. It is perfectly acceptable to leave off positions where you only worked a few months. This will avoid the need to discuss them in an interview and will lessen the risk of a hiring manager seeing it as a red flag.
You should also consider leaving off positions you held that aren’t relevant to the job you are looking for now. For example, your job as a waiter isn’t relevant if you are applying for a marketing position, so leave it off.
Each position you have held is likely to have taught you something, leaving you with a diverse and varied skill set. These skills are things you want to emphasise in your C.V. In your employment history when you outline your experience, highlight what you have learned that is relevant to the position you are applying for.
For example, if you have worked in a people-facing position previously, you could highlight good customer service as a skill you have learned.
Don’t forget to customise these to the role you are applying for – an employer wants to see how all of these skills you have gained are going to apply to him.
Did you know that C.V.s can be formatted in many different ways, depending on what you want to emphasise? A . focuses more on your skills and abilities and less on your employment history – which can be a good option for those who have changed jobs frequently.
ResumeGenuis has a full example of how a can be used.
Job hopping may not look ideal on a C.V., but it can be minimised. Your goal is to move the focus away from your job history and emphasise your skills and employability instead. Remember, a hiring manager wants to find someone who is going to be a long-time asset to the company – it’s up to you to show them that it could be you.