Have a Job Hopping Past? How to Explain it to Hiring Managers

job hoppingWhen it comes time for a job interview, a big source of anxiety for many jobseekers can be how they are going to explain to employers the frequency of times they switched jobs.  One of the most important messages you want to send to hiring managers is that you are loyal and committed, and will carry that to the position they are hiring for if it becomes yours.  Frequent job hopping (meaning more than five jobs over the course of ten years), can send a red flag to employers when they are assessing a job candidate’s qualifications.  It can cause concern for multiple issues, including that you are easily bored and can’t stick with any one thing for very long, have a hard time getting along with people, or the quality of your work is low.

But at the same time, especially in the age of millennials, job hopping is becoming more and more common, so it in no way rules you out as a viable candidate.   All you need to do is present your job hopping in the right way to employers.  Here are some suggestions:

1)  Proactively address job hopping in your cover letter and resume

Instead of waiting for employers to bring up your frequent job changes, be up front about it.  State in your cover letter the reasons you went through so many job changes in a certain period of time.  Reasons for job hopping that are commonly accepted by employers include career advancement, switching to a new career field, moving (for legitimate reasons such as to be near family), layoffs, or major structural changes with an employer (such as the company being bought out).   You can also specifically address any short term jobs on your resume, by including next to it the reason you left so soon.

2)  Show what you have gained from having many jobs

There are some big benefits employers can gain from hiring a job hopper.  If the job hopping was done across different industries, focus on the diverse and interchangeable skillset you developed.  This can make you appear more valuable to employers, since you are adaptable, able to take on a variety of different projects and comfortable working in different settings around various types of people.  If your job hopping was done within the same industry, and the job you are applying to now is in that industry, focus on the insight you gained into how competitor companies operate.

3)  Focus on the current “you”

So in the past you were a job hopper.   What the employer you are interviewing with is really concerned about is that you are willing to make a commitment to them now and will remain with the company for a reasonably long period of time.  Emphasize what your job hopping taught you, and how it led you to realize what you want out of a job and your career.  Make it clear that things are different now, and focus more on how excited you are to bring your hard-earned skillset to this current position.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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