resume tips for job hoppers

In the current job market, employers are looking for people who not only have a proven track record of success, but who also demonstrate a commitment to their chosen career. One way to showcase this is by working at a company for a few years before making a move to another one.

However, if you’ve been jumping around from employer to employer in your quest for success, you might be worried that this doesn’t bode well for your resume. But there is hope! You can still achieve everything an employer wants in the wake of such job hopping with these resume tips:

  1. Keep your resume updated.

If you have been hopping around from company to company, it’s not unlikely that you might have gaps in employment on your resume. If you do, be sure to indicate the reason why by listing the dates of employment and a brief explanation about the time off. For example: “Sept 2012 – April 2013 (5 months): Volunteered at Homeless Shelter, Phoenix.”

  1. List any additional skills you have acquired during previous jobs.

A great way to keep a job hop from being an issue for employers is to leverage all of the experiences that you have gained along the way into additional strengths for your professional profile. For example: “Managed a team of 5 people in my last job and increased sales by 34% within 6 months; currently looking for a position in which I can continue to develop my organizational and leadership abilities.”

  1. Use your resume to showcase loyalty.

If you’ve been with one company for more than 10 years, it’s likely that your resume will showcase this fact, which may be exactly the type of insurance you need with an employer who is leery about job hopping. For example: “Hired by XYZ Inc on January 1st, 2003; currently serving as [position title]”. Not only does this show loyalty but it also indicates stability.

  1. Keep the length of your resume brief.

While you may want to make your resume a comprehensive list of all the jobs you’ve held and all the accomplishments you’ve made within each one, this is not necessary. Employers are looking for a short, succinct summary of your accomplishments and skills, not a laundry list. For example: “Strategic Marketing Manager; Created new business plan for International division, increased sales by 33%, closed high-performing accounts, drove team to new goals.”

  1. Stay positive.

While it’s okay to talk about difficult times that you’ve faced in the past, staying positive is always best. And if you can’t always stay positive, at least keep it in check with some humor. For example: “Chronic bedwetter; Lost my job in January 2006.”

  1. Include accomplishments that can be listed on your resume by others.

This is a great way to show employers that you’re a team player, and that you’re able to take direction from others without objection. For example: “Fellow Marketing Manager (2010); Helped lead marketing transition from static site to dynamic blog; Supervising Analyst (2008); Accomplished sales growth of 7% within 5 months.”

  1. Include skills that are transferable between jobs.

The fact that you can be effective in one job with a certain set of skills doesn’t mean that those skills won’t be useful in another. For example: “Accomplished manager; Excellent at dealing with people.” Even if your job hopping has caused you to change industries completely, it’s still possible to leverage those skills into a new career.

  1. Emphasize growth over stability.

While employers want to see proof that you’re a team player and committed to your career, there’s no need for you to paint the picture of a person who is struggling or lacking in self-confidence. Be sure to highlight your strengths and areas where you have improved over time: “Trained 100’s of new salespeople; Recognized for exceptional customer service skills in [the last position]. Knowledgeable about [field].”

  1. Focus on results, not activities.

Employers want to see that you’re capable of delivering on their goals, not that you’ve been doing things without complete success. If you have been a job hopper, make sure that the accomplishments that you do discuss fit into this category: “Accomplished manager; Increased sales by 25% within 6 months.”

  1. Highlight new skills instead of explaining how you could acquire them.

If you’ve been job hopping, but all of your positions were in the same industry, it’s a good idea to emphasize all of the skills that you’ve acquired. For example: “Marketing Manager; Coordinated several client accounts at once; Increased exposure through new ad campaign.”

  1. Highlight a new title or specific accomplishment.

Being promoted or accomplishing something difficult (if this is true) is always a good way to differentiate yourself from job hoppers who aren’t able to make such accomplishments stick. For example: “Accomplished manager; Maintained sales targets for 2 years even during economic slowdown; Managed [position title].

While there is a tendency to think that job hopping will come back and haunt you in the job market, it doesn’t have to be that way. Just take these few steps to make it as simple as possible for employers to see what a great candidate you are.

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