Here are 5 tips to attack the “job hopper” challenge.
#1 – Lemonade from Lemons. Don’t show your cards that a certain job was or felt like a dead end. Own it. Be confident. Be positive. Make lemonade out of this job lemon. And was it really a lemon? Maybe this was where you cut your teeth as a manager or learned how to juggle multiple projects. How were you tested, and how did you grow? What new skills did you acquire? As you reflect, you may see this job was in fact a learning opportunity. Sell this job lemon as contributing value to your professional development.
#2 – Relevant Positions Only. Should you list that five-month gig as a bartender? The summer job mowing lawns while you were earning your MBA? Unless you are wanting to open a bar, or start a lawn maintenance business, consider leaving these short-term and random jobs off. Try a heading such as Relevant Experience or Sales Experience, a heading to help the hiring manager know you are listing selected but not all positions. Leave off cat sitting and cleaning the garage for your neighbor. However, if slicing these jobs will leave gaps of one year or more in your recent work history, reconsider this strategy and see tips #1, #3, #4, and #5.
#3 – Recent & Prior Work. Before you write an eight page resume; listing 20 jobs, consider dividing your career into Recent Experience and Prior Experience headings. This way you control how many positions you will detail. The early stuff can be summarized by a quick listing of company, title, dates, and a one bullet description. If there are home runs within your Prior Experience, a good idea is to showcase these gems in a Summary or Key Accomplishments section.
#4 – Be Transparent & Forthcoming. Recruiters and hiring managers are hound dogs. They can smell a resume; that is hiding something. Your jujitsu move is to disarm their suspicion by complete and confident; honesty. Few people have “perfect” career records. Come clean but do not over explain or over justify. Here’s an example: “Took one-year position as a prep cook while researching graduate programs in biology.” Here’s another: “While transitioning to a career in nursing, worked for two-year period in several short-term.” How about this one: “Traveled throughout the world for three years exploring the cultures of 15 different countries.” Wow – suddenly you’ll have the reader jealous and wanting to meet such an interesting person!
#5 – Lumping. Lumping is a good solution for freelance or contract workers. Your resume; might visually “lump” projects under ONE heading, which will be your role, such as consultant, project manager, contractor, freelance writer, etc. Just like Strategy #4, the goal is not to hide anything. You want to provide dates for each assignment, or list total length of time. However, these multiple “jobs” will visually be represented by indenting, as a single entry, ONE role that may contain multiple projects, clients, or engagements. Pretty cool, huh?
Now, get ready to attack that resumee; with these powerful tips and tools!