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5 Great Resume Tips for Job Hoppers

Published: Sep 14, 2023

 Career Readiness       Changing Jobs       Resumes & Cover Letters       
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Job hopping is becoming more common these days, and many employers are starting to accept the fact that good candidates could also have a somewhat chaotic work history. Still, frequent job hopping can make creating an effective resume more difficult, but there are ways around it. Today, we’re going to go over some strategies that job hoppers can use when crafting their resume. Let’s begin.

Alternative Resume Formats

The reverse-chronological resume format lists a candidate’s job experience in order starting from the most recent, which can present some issues for job hoppers. For starters, you might have so many entries that your resume goes well beyond the recommended length of one page, which can be a turn-off for potential employers. Additionally, a reverse-chronological resume relies heavily upon dates, and will unintentionally highlight frequent job hopping, which can be unattractive to certain employers.

In order to get around these issues, job hoppers might want to try alternative formats such as a functional resume or a hybrid resume. A functional resume places emphasis on skills rather than work history, which can help to mask frequent changes in your employment history. A hybrid resume is essentially a combination of the reverse-chronological and functional formats, and works well for job seekers who have worked for many employers. For those who job hop more frequently, the functional resume format is recommended. If you’d like to learn more about different resume formats, check out our previous blog on the subject.

Omit Job Experience

Another tactic that can be used to distract from frequent job hopping is to simply leave out job experience entries that were short-lived. When listing work experience on your resume, prioritize jobs where you achieved your best accomplishments or held your best titles, and consider omitting jobs where nothing or note occurred or in the event of a negative experience. You might have to make some tough choices if you decide to go this route, as accomplishments and title changes can still be achieved during short stints with employers.

Let’s say you worked at a company for four years, left to go work at another company, and only stayed with the second company for a few months before leaving to start with your current or most recent employer. In this case, you may leave out the job in the middle so you don’t have to explain it during an interview. Keep in mind that certain hiring managers might ask about gaps in your work history, so you should always be prepared to explain them if you decide to omit any jobs from your resume.

Recommendations

It’s always good to have a bunch of recommendations on your resume, especially if you find yourself changing jobs frequently. The key to getting great recommendations is putting your best foot forward at each company you work for so that the people around you are more than happy to advocate for you in the future.

The best kinds of recommendations are ones from your immediate supervisors, and depending on your field, professors that were particularly impressed with your work. In the event you forgot to request recommendations from your boss before leaving a job, you can always reach out to them via email or on LinkedIn and politely ask if they’d vouch for you moving forward. The benefit here is that having multiple recommendations will lessen the impact of your job hopping in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Combining Work History

This strategy works most effectively for those who have taken on contract and freelance work in addition to their full-time jobs. For example, if you previously worked full-time at one company, then left to take on a number of freelance positions over the course of the next year or so before jumping back into another full-time role, you could group your freelance jobs together on your resume.

In order to do this, create a second “freelance” header on your resume directly under your work history, then list your contract or freelance work accordingly. Again, this may lead to gaps in your full-time work history, but the interviewer might be less inclined to ask you about it when they see an entire section of your resume that’s devoted to freelance work. In other words, you’ll look really busy, and that’s a good thing.

Diversion Tactics

A particularly well-written summary statement will catch the eye of the hiring manager before they even see your work history, and it also gives you an opportunity to make some strong points. For example, you could make statements such as “5 years of experience in [your field]” or “seeking a long-term position in [your field]” in order to highlight your experience and loyalty. Statements such as these may lessen the impact of a resume with frequent job changes.

When it comes to listing your work history, you could also perform some trickery with the dates. Of course, you want to be honest, so you could try moving the dates of employment to the end of each entry while leading with the company name and your title. Another way to divert attention away from job hopping is to leave the months out entirely. Including only the years of employment might make your work history look more solid.

It’s important to remember that using any of these strategies might bring up questions during a job interview. Honesty is the best policy, so take the time to come up with good explanations for gaps in your work history, the use of alternative resume formats, or why you decided to move onto contract work. With a little effort and some trial and error, you should be able to create an attractive resume despite all that job hopping.

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