So You’re A Job Hopper. What Next?

We mentioned in a previous post that job hopping is one of the highest impediment in having your CV chosen from the pack (over 39% of recruiters would declare that job hopping is a negative mark that would determine them not to invite the applicant to an interview). But, as many of you finish university without knowing exactly what you like or want to do, what you are interested in or what career would fit you, job hopping happens pretty often in the first ten years of work. And it should be acceptable, shouldn’t it?

The survey on recruiters says something else. How many jobs are too much in a period of time? Apparently, switching 5-6 jobs in ten years of working proves you’re a serial job-hopper. So, let’s find out how you can avoid to appear as a job hopper and present yourself as the professional that you are, full of potential and creativity.

There are a few ways to prepare your CV better and present your experience differently:

  • First of all, all jobs performed during university years or vacations should be taken out from the “Experience” section, so that they wouldn’t be considered as jobs; university is enough for the time being, unless the jobs are really representative for your career path or your future
  • If you gave up jobs from companies because they failed (like some startups do) or went bankrupt, or went through major restructuring (during the economic crisis from 2008 – 2009 for example), make sure that you mention that in your CV; after you mention it, emphasize it, you have to ensure that the recruiter understands that you didn’t give up the job, you were forced to look for other opportunities
  • Try to gather your experience and competences and reposition your CV; maybe you were a consultant for different companies but for the same client, you proved your loyalty and dedication to the client, try to emphasize that as much as possible
  • Merge jobs if the case – if the company was acquired by other company or if there’s a separate entity in the same group, make that obvious in the CV, so there is no confusion about your employer
  • Short term work – for 3 to 6 months can be omitted from your CV; unless they happen to be extremely important projects, you shouldn’t mention that you were an employee of that company. Find another explanation for the time you spent working for the wrong company (e.g. courses, schools if the case, volunteering, personal projects etc.)
  • If you are called for an interview and you have switched a few jobs in a short period of time, be honest with the interviewer. Explain sincerely why you chose those jobs (wrong industry? Wanted to try something new? Wanted to redirect your career?) and why you gave them up. You need to prove the interviewer that you are loyal, if you work in the right job and the right company and you will not disappear when the going gets tough. This is much more valid for startups, which have really rough times in their first years of functioning
  • Of course, if you are very good in one area and extremely prepared to do the job, then you won’t have to explain much of your career choices. But still, you have to show the company you have strong reasons to work for them and remain with them.

Being realistic, with the economic downturns we’re going through and the major changes in almost all industries, job hopping makes sense but at the same time it is normal for the employers to ask for loyalty. Hiring a new employee requires a lot of resourced and for a startup it is an important investment, thus you have to make sure you want a job the moment you apply for it. So, ask as many questions as you can at the interview alongside your interviewer, in the end it has to be a win-win situation, loyalty and dedication has to come from both ends: employer and employee.

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