Have you had a lot of jobs in your career? If you are perceived as a “job hopper,” some companies won’t consider you for a job opening no matter how strong your resume.

Why can this be a big negative in your job search?

As Don Goodman observes for Careerealism:

“When an employer scans your resume for 20 seconds, what will they see? If you have had a series of jobs lasting 1-2 years, then you may look like a job hopper and these are big red flags on your resume. Securing a candidate takes time and money for employers, so a candidate who has a record of job hopping does not leave a positive impression and sways employers to move on to consider other candidates instead. Short periods of employment generally indicate that you were terminated due to lack of performance and that is not the impression you want to convey.” [or that you are much too restless when you’re at a given job and move on to the next short-lived opportunity.]

Here are four tips from Goodman:

  1. Company Changes — “When the reason you leave the job is because of structural changes within a company or the company closes down, these are situations that are not within your control and should not be cause for you to appear like a job hopper on your resume. Whether you were laid off, the company moved out of state, or went out of business, indicate that as a brief note on your resume next to your dates of employment.
  2. Consulting And Temporary Assignments — “One way to handle this is to pull all these experiences together into one pool on your resume. You may indicate on your resume ‘Consultant’ and specify the full length of time you were in the role. Underneath this section, highlight the companies and/or specific experiences and accomplishments in the role. An employer will view all the individual experiences and temporary assignments – and its significance in furthering your career experiences – as a whole.
  3. Reformatting Dates of Employment — “Rather than listing the specific month and year you were employed with an employer, indicate only the year. It can appear less obvious that you were only on the job for 16 months, and appear more like two years.
  4. Demonstrate Past Contributions and Accomplishments — “There is little you can do to change the amount of time you were on certain jobs, but what you can do is divert the focus to your contributions and accomplishments on the job. Even if you were on the job for under a year, highlight significant contributions you made to show outstanding performance on the job. Employers care about and are impressed by candidates good at what they do and who are effective on the job; even if you only had a short period of time in the role.”

Click Goodman’s photo to read more.


10 Replies to “Don’t Appear as a Job Hopper on Your Resume”

  1. Employees switching jobs frequently can seem to stand out as a problem for the hiring organizations, as there is a lot of investment on the new employee. However, students usually have a lot of jobs till they actually land a career in a particular sector. So, I was wondering whether the students would switch their part-time jobs frequently would look as a job hopper for the hiring professional.

  2. I concur that frequently switching jobs won’t leave a good impression with employers. Especially in the competitive job market we are entering these days, we want to put our best foot forward and not give potential employers anything to worry about. As the article states, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that cause us to leave a job even though we might not want to. I appreciated how it listed several ways to enhance one’s resume in these specific scenarios. We are always hearing about resume workshops and etc. but despite all that, these simple tips never came up. As someone who unfortunately found herself testing out a fair amount of jobs over recent years, I found this blog post to be extremely useful. Is it “cheating” on some level to be tweaking details to make a better impression? I don’t think so. In the end we are all just trying to make ends meet and if a little change in wording puts us one step closer to that then I don’t see the problem.

  3. Personally, I do not feel that engaging in certain jobs that last about 1-2 years as the “job-hopping” habit being described. If you look at it differently, the candidate might be experience in many fields and this can be an advantage in giving some helpful advice or if the company wants to coordinate with another company that specialized in another field, while 1-2 years is actually not consider very short if one really decides to “job-hop”. While on the candidate’s perspective, he might be seeking for the most desirable job, a company’s working environment and culture must be taken into consideration as some existing company does not treat its employees well. So it really takes two hands to clap.

  4. I myself over the past few years have switched jobs but only because I became certified in something else that gave me better pay and gave me more opportunities in the field. On my resume I have had 2 different summer jobs within the past 4 years and after reading this article it really opened up my eyes with how to write down the dates/years when you started. Since the summer is only a few months out of the year, I am definitely reformatting the dates to make it look more simple and not so “job hopper” like. This article has great insight and has great advise!

  5. I have to admit that a candidate who has a record of job hopping won’t appreciated by employers, because they usually have no goals and the mind is not mature. In my view, in addition to using the four methods from Goodman to deal with the resume, the candidate also need to make a long-term career plan for yourself. Candidates should re-examine proper career orientation, rethink the career planning adjustment, so as not to let yourself lost in the strange circle of frequent job-hopping.

  6. Job Hopping can promote a problem when an employer loos at a resume, but in todays day and age many circumstances must be taken into consideration before deeming and invidual as a hopper. The only way for such circumstances to be taken into consideration is through what Goodman expressed which is essentially providing extra information or retaining specifics. Employers appreciate honesty and should be able to understand an ambitious employee candidate trying to find their path, however some firms cannot afford to fill every position with temporaries. All in all the qualities and relative skills possessed at the time of recruitment should be the deciding factor for most positions even if the resume may appear like a grocery list.

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