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.
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Securing a candidate takes time and money for employers, so a candidate that 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.
If your resume contains several short employment stints, here are ways to avoid looking like a job hopper – especially if your situations involved layoffs, company mergers and temporary assignments.
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. Also, for company mergers, rather than relisting each company name and your position, simplify matters by listing the company’s current name and indicating in parenthesis, “formerly [previous name(s)].” An employer reviewing your resume will immediately understand and not assume the worst – that you’ve been job hopping.
Consulting and Temporary Assignments: It is not a surprise to see more of today’s candidates resorting to consulting and temporary assignments. The market for jobs is not where it once used to be. Many in consulting and temporary assignments are offered short-term projects. 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. If that doesn’t fit your situation, just make sure to indicate that it was a contract position next to the dates so people will see right away that the short tenure was planned.
Reformat 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.
Demonstrate Contribution 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 that are 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.