While some people have a long history of working for a single company, others have moved from job to job over the years. This may be due to their own choosing or for reasons beyond their control. Regardless of the cause, having a career history that hops from job to job within a relatively short period of time can be a red flag for employers. They may question why you have held several positions and not stayed with any one employer for more than a short time. While you never want to lie on your resume, there can be some ways to downplay a scattered job history.
Combine Similar Experience
If you were working as a freelancer or consultant, note this as your job entry and then choose a few projects to focus on. You don’t have to list each role separately. If you held the same position at more than one company, consider combining this into a single entry. You can list the company and job titles one after the next but then have a single section of description highlighting your achievements and strengths. This can help to put the focus on what you accomplished, rather than the short duration of time with an employer.
Leave Off Non-Essential Positions
Not every job adds a great deal of value to your resume or needs to be included. If you spent a few months waitressing or working retail to make ends meet, it can be acceptable to leave this off if it is not relevant to your career and does not leave a significant gap in employment. If the employer requests a more extensive employment history or asks about other jobs during an interview, you can disclose these positions at that time. It can also be beneficial to only focus on the past 10 years or so of employment which encompasses the most recent and relevant work.
Use Years Rather than Months
When listing your experience, include only the years with each job. This can reduce the emphasis on how long you spent with a company, provide smoother transitions, and look more professional. It does not highlight the fact that you were unemployed for a few months or were only with a certain company for a short time.
Focus on Your Greatest Accomplishments
Shift the attention to what you accomplished in each position rather than how long you were there. Make the most of metrics, results, and strong action verbs to demonstrate the impact that you made. Although it may not have been a long-term position, it shows that you put your best effort into your work while you were there and made a positive difference. Highlight skills and projects that are most relevant to the position you are seeking.
While you cannot change your job history, you can make it reflect you in a more positive light and show your strengths and abilities. Given the rise and fall of the economy in recent years, some employers are more understanding of shifts in jobs. You can always offer more explanation if necessary during the interview process. The goal is to have to your resume catch their attention to lead to this next step.
If you are worried about the impression that your resume and job history are making, the professionals at Chic Resumes are ready to help. We will work with you to create a resume that highlights your strengths, accomplishments, and abilities and attracts attention for the right reasons. Contact Chic Resumes today at (803) 831-7444 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started and reduce the impact of job hopping on your resume.
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Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.