Explaining Job Hopping on Your Resume

Employers tend to look at job hopping negatively, so having several short-term positions on a resume can definitely hurt your chances of being called for an interview, especially if the short-term positions are all in a row. Employers tend to believe you will show the behavior with them that you showed in past jobs — so they worry that you will hop from them in just a few months.

Replacing employees is a drain on the employer’s time and budget. Someone quitting means they are down a person, which can hurt the productivity of their departments. As a result, they don’t want either replacing an employee or an employee quitting to impact them going forward.

So what do you do if you have the job-hopper pattern on a resume? You want to do your utmost to attract employers with a resume, so you get called for an interview. Here are some tips.

Place a summary statement on the top

The first strategy is to attract them with your background and skills. Develop a short summary statement for the top of your resume.

The summary statement should be from two to four brief sentences on your skills, strengths, and experience, highlighting what you will bring to the company. You can also briefly cover what you are looking for. It can say “4 years of experience as a warehouse supervisor, with increasing levels of responsibility” or “looking for an innovative company with opportunity.”

Emphasize your contributions

The second strategy is to emphasize your contributions to past jobs. Employers are increasingly looking for resumes that highlight specific contributions that employees made in past positions. They prefer resumes that focus on how an employee contributed to the bottom line, either in bringing in more money or reducing costs. Be sure to target, then, contributions that do this.

Your resume may thus read “part of a team that grew productivity 15%” or “streamlined databases and saved 8% of report costs.” Both are impressive to employers.

Combine similar short-term jobs under one head

If you’ve had a series of short-term positions that are very similar, it’s acceptable to combine them under one general head in a resume. This is especially true if you’ve been a contractor or temporary employee.

In other words, if you were a warehouse assistant in several jobs, the head would read “Warehouse Assistant,” under which you’d specify the name of each individual company, when you worked there, and the duties.

Use years for dates, not months

Develop your resume to use just years for dates you were employed, not months. Using months can emphasize that you worked at Company X from January to March 2017 only.

In using years, you are giving accurate dates, but not drawing attention to the shortness of the span.

Set up a functional resume

A functional resume can help a job hopper. Most resumes are set up chronologically, with past positions listed by year you held them. In functional resumes, they are organized by function rather than year.

Be aware, though, that human resources departments are sometimes skeptical of functional resumes. They are aware that job-seekers sometimes use them to draw attention away from employment gaps or short-term stints. They tend to be more comfortable with chronological resumes.

Let a Staffing Agency Work for You

Are you looking for a job? A staffing agency can help present you in the best light. We offer job postings and advice on how to look. We’re happy to help. Contact us today.