How to profile yourself after job hopping
There’s no shame in having a period of sporadic or spotty employment. Maybe you’ve been travelling, focusing your attentions outside of your career, or you just hadn’t decided exactly what it is you wanted to do.
However, a period of job hopping can cause problems for your CV and future job applications and may give the employer a bad impression. Here’s how to profile yourself after job hopping.
Decide whether to address it
If you’re fairly young (under thirty is a general benchmark) you may not need to worry too much about your job hopping past. What could seem slightly weird and even potentially embarrassing to you may be a lot more normal than you think.
Unless you have especially long gaps between jobs, or are a little older, you may not need to address your job hopping. Instead, think of it as a typical period of finding your feet in your career.
If it is something you decide to address on your application or in interviews, emphasise that you are looking for a role with the chance to progress.
Make your past employment relevant
Even if your career history consists mainly of more menial or service-related jobs, there will be aspects of this work which can apply to your chosen career. You can always find at least something which connects an odd job from your past to something you want to do with the future.
This can be skills and qualities, such as thinking on your feet or providing customer service, or using an actual, solid example of an accomplishment to connect your experience to your goals.
Find a positive spin
Make sure you are able to frame your job hopping positively. For example, having a wider range of past jobs gives you a wider range of experiences. It shows you’re adaptable, hardworking and possess a variety of skills. Make sure you point out what job hopping has taught you, and how it has better prepared you for starting a more conventional career.
Also try to focus on what each of your past positions has taught you. If you can demonstrate how you’ve had repeated successes in all your jobs (no matter how scattered they seem at first) then it will paint a picture of you as someone just generally valuable to have around.
Use years, rather than months
Generally speaking, CVs don’t require you to be too precise on starting and leaving dates from past jobs. If you want to minimise your job hopping, you can use start dates of just years, rather than months. Make sure you only do this if it’s reflective of your true job history, as it should go without saying that lying on a CV is always a recipe for disaster.
Remember you don’t need to share everything
A CV has limited space available. If you have a position which is shorter and is truly irrelevant to the positions you’re applying for, feel free to omit it from your CV. Be prepared that you may still be asked about it at interview, so make sure you prepare a valid reason. For example, you can say that of your array of past job experiences you felt it that one which added the least value to your CV.
Make an effort not to appear cagey
If you seem suspicious or like you’re trying to hide something, that can end up making you appear more unattractive than your job hopping past. While minimising your job hopping past is possible, you also need to embrace it. Never, ever lie during a job application process, and try to be open about your perhaps unconventional past. If it appears that you have a big problem with your job history, you can hardly expect employers to not have a problem with it, after all.
Utilise unconventional routes
There is always a chance that job hopping in your past can hold you back in your future career. This is particularly true in the traditional job application process. However, using things like networking to create personal connections with potential employers are still open to you. There is always a way to overcome a spotty job history, it’s just about finding it.