Borrowman Baker, LLC
Maybe your resume shows that you have worked for many employers over the past five to ten years, and none for any great length of time. No matter the reasons, you know employers are wary of job hopping. They may reject you outright – without even an initial interview. Understandably, they’ll have concerns about your stability, resilience, and reliability. Are you doomed to a career of bouncing from one job to another? Or can you find that ideal job and settle in for a prosperous long haul?
To be fair, the definition of job hopping is changing. Only 13% of millennials and 41% of baby boomers believe that workers should stay in a job for at least five years. At the same time, HR professionals and hiring managers do look at job hoppers with added scrutiny. The majority see anyone who changes jobs every 1-2 years as a job hopper. Two jobs in the past five years, you’re probably fine. Five jobs in the past five years, not so great.
The goal of a great, long-term job with a solid company is within your reach IF you take the time to evaluate the choices that led you down this path and determine where you want to go next.
Examine why you left each job and what drew you to the next one. Sometimes, there are unavoidable circumstances like company bankruptcy or layoffs. There are extenuating circumstances like moving to accommodate a spouse, or other family needs. Employers don’t usually evaluate those situations harshly.
But, what about the job that you left because “it wasn’t a fit”, you “didn’t like the boss” or “the company”, or you “saw greener grass elsewhere”. Evaluate why you made those choices. Be honest about mistakes in judgment: choosing a job that wasn’t right for you, or starting out on the wrong foot with a new boss. If you can assess these things candidly, you will have a better chance of avoiding the same errors in the future.
In interviews, present the right mix of candor and positive spin. Employers appreciate the self-awareness it takes to admit what went wrong – as long as you follow it with your plan for making better choices in the future. Equally important, highlight the positive effect your diverse work experience has given you! Working for different employers has let you see how different practices operate and, ideally, increased your skillset. Good records of successful projects will help you make that argument.
Assuming you haven’t burned bridges, your job diversity may have given you a more powerful professional network. This can be a huge benefit in looking for your next position. Don’t be shy about keeping up with people in your network. They are in the best position to alert you to a job opening.
One of the best pieces of advice for a job hopper with an “iffy” resume? Enlist the help of a recruiter. A good recruiter can be your consultant, friend, and advocate. At Borrowman Baker, we have an extensive network of relationships with BV professionals around the country. We can be a sounding board about your career and salary potential. If we can find a great position for you, we will do our best to get your resume in front of the right person.
The important thing is to keep moving forward. Your shaky past doesn’t have to hold you back from the career you want.