Your work life might be stable now, but maybe you job hopped in the past. Even if it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, you are concerned. How is this going to look on your resume? How can you explain that period in a way that actually makes you look good?
Job hopping used to be defined by someone staying less than two years in a position. That has changed. Today, even a couple of years can seem like a long-term stint. In fact, workers these days are likely to be more concerned they have stayed too long in one position without a promotion.
Realize that job hopping might look different for different young people. Some hold one year as a standard length of employment. Some workers change jobs every six to nine months. And some have a more random company history. These patterns can look bad, but they don’t have to.
Start out with a careful assessment of your situation. Here are five possible factors to take into consideration when crafting your resume.
- The jobs were seasonal or contract positions. While every position deserves full respect, change is an inherent aspect of some jobs. They might end on their own cycle. Or you may have been biding your time at a company while getting a degree or certification. Consider consolidating all these job experiences under one category within a specific period.
- You were not sure what you were looking for. You may have made several lateral moves in a brief period. A company might not have suited you for various reasons. The culture was not a good fit, or you had a bad role within it. One possible cause for the latter: it was time to move on to a different job—maybe to leave the industry entirely. This will make sense to hiring professionals in the context of your overall career arc.
- Salary considerations. Several moves might have been involved if you were making strategic upward moves toward a certain goal. Maybe you found a better-paying job. It might not have been possible to wait out a full year when something better came along. Again, an easy-to-explain situation.
- You were settling down. The 18–34 years can be shaped by seismic shifts. You were figuring out what city to live in, who to be with, and how to fill your work week. Needless to say, you were meeting new people, learning new things, and discovering lots of opportunities. It probably took some juggling to make all the pieces of your new life fit together. It’s a phase we all go through.
- You were bored. This can sound worse than it actually was. If you love new challenges, you should build that into your job search. Hiring professionals want to know if you are worth investing in, so carefully frame this factor. Not everyone is a risk taker. If you are, and you can show that you deserve a challenging role, you might be just the person they are looking for. Make sure your resume shows this as a plus on your behalf.
Ready to write your resume? Circle back to your strengths. Craft an honest, positive reason for multiple job changes. Sandwich it between your strengths. Show how you’ve advanced in whatever position you’ve been in.
And remember, you are not alone. Hiring managers are filling positions with the best candidates they can find. They are selecting from candidates just like you!