Times are a’ changing
The average person under 30 changes jobs once a year, while the average American changes jobs once every three years. Gone are the days when we put in a good 20 years at a company and got a pension. The younger the person, the more likely they are to have a changing work history.
Some employers are bothered by short stints (it works the other way – some employers worry if you have worked at the same company for too long!). You may encounter some prejudice if you’re labeled as a job hopper, but it’s up to you to turn the situation around.
How to Spin a Changing Work History
If you’re worried your long list of jobs will impede your ability to get your next job, find a way to show the silver lining. Focus on the benefits you’ve received from working in many positions.
You’ve likely gotten exposure to many different types of companies, which makes you well-equipped to handle a variety of work environments. You’ve learned more skills and have become highly adaptable by proxy of different employers’ requirements.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Don’t play down the fact that you’ve worked at many companies (especially if some of them are well-respected in your field; employers should know you’ve worked at these places and will probably find out by asking and searching around). You can ease some of the initial questioning by not listing the exact months of employment on your resume (employers know this trick). Keep the places of employment that best relate to the current role you’re applying for, and toss the rest, as in your university or immediate post-university jobs that are no longer relevant.
Sometimes it’s not your fault; many people have fallen victim to layoffs and cutbacks, so explain that if it’s the cause of your job hopping.
Employers major concern with job hopping is you’ll get bored and leave their firm after a long, grueling search and significant investment in hiring and training you. They may also question your decision-making process, especially if you have weak responses for your reasons for moving on or you seem to follow typical pattern.
Consider Your Own Reasons
If you feel you’ve been labeled a “job hopper”, have you considered why are you changing jobs so often? Is there an underlying issue you can prevent?
Do you like what you do? If it’s an issue with your profession, there isn’t an employer in the world who will make you happy if you continue down a career path that makes you miserable. If that’s the case, it’s time to consider a big career shift.
Does it seem like everywhere you go you have personal issues with your boss or colleagues? As hard as it is to admit, it might be time to look at your interpersonal communication in the workplace.
If you constantly seek change or get bored, look to take on new roles and responsibilities at the same company. Even if you move from one position to another, staying with one company shows you’ve taken initiative to be promoted or moved to other areas.