Some job hopping basics
Job hopping and “job hopper” are used in describing someone who moves from short-term job to short-term job. Often with gaps in time between jobs that make it look like you weren’t doing anything.
Of course, there are some types of jobs (consulting, temp work, freelance) where short-term assignments are expected. But this particular pattern (of not staying in jobs for long) raises concerns when resume screeners see your resume.
Hops and gaps are easy to spot with a quick scan of your resume. So they’re also an easy way for resumes to be disqualified when trying to narrow down the field. Even without knowing anything else about the person. Or if they could actually be a great fit for this precise job.
Does job hopping really matter?
Let me start by saying I have had a career filled with hops, skips, and jumps. And I always found a way to get myself to that next good job. Even if it took an interim step or two to get myself there.
So if your recent resume shows less than steady work, please don’t give up hope.And especially in these challenging times, more and more hiring managers will be willing to overlook a spotty resume if a good match feels possible.
But some hiring managers and recruiters will take a pass. That’s just reality. Your job is to ignore the ones who do, and focus on getting yourself to the more open, flexible ones. Odds are those are employers you’d probably prefer to work for anyway.
How to get past job hopping label
Luckily there are some things that can help you get yourself to a job — despite having job hopping resume “red flags.”
- Number one thing you can do is get recommended. This is where a strong professional network pays off.
- Find ways to fill some of those resume gaps.
- Volunteer work.
- Courses you took (are taking) to build relevant skills.
- Freelance work. (You can hustle to find some NOW.)
- Family obligation that you can comfortably explain in cover letter / interview.)
- A strong cover letter that highlights your directly relevant strengths and clearly addresses what you’ve done in the meantime (see above), if you can.
- An informational interview source who says it’s ok to mention them in your cover letter / inquiry email. And might even help warm up the contact.
- Not always possible, but worth trying for.
- Your enthusiasm and commitment can go far to impress.
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