Job Hoppers Need to Write Compelling, Relevant Resumes

Photo of an unemployed job hopper.

Are you a job hopper? If you are, you apparently are not alone. According to a new report by the research group Millennial Branding, more 18- to 30-year olds are leaving their places of employment after only 2 years.

The report found that employees on the younger end of the so-called "millennial" spectrum are more likely to skip around from job to job because they are looking for better, higher-paying  positions.

While job hopping is becoming more common, it is still important that you as a job seeker write a comprehensive, relevant resume and cover letter that will still convey you are a loyal employee.


List only relevant jobs

You should make sure that you tailor your resume to include information and skills only relevant to the job you are applying to. You do not need to list every single position you have held over your career.

If you muddy up your resume with too much experience, show several jobs that were for short periods of time or include roles that are not in synch with your target job, this is a red flag for prospective employers, Evelyn Salvador, a certified career coach, noted. "It can lead them to look at you as a job hopper or one who isn't in touch with what you're seeking - and your resume might get screened out." 
Use a functional resume format

When it comes to format, your best bet is to write a functional resume rather than a chronological one. A functional resume will not necessarily draw attention to how many jobs you have had, but to the skills you have acquired. You should also eliminate any unrelated short-term jobs you have had and focus instead on your longer tenures and what your main accomplishments with those companies were.

If you have had a number of freelance or contract jobs that you think are still relevant to the position, you can lump them together under one heading. You can also outline the collective number of years of experience in a specific field, such as "Eight-plus years marketing experience with expertise in database, planning and writing."

The eight years feels cohesive even though it might have been with five different companies, Karen Schaffer, a career consultant in and author of "The Complete Book of Resumes: Simple Steps for Writing a Powerful Resume," noted.

You can use an online resume builder or look at  sample resumes  to help you create a compelling, relevant resume geared toward your career field.

Write a dynamic cover letter

Make sure to send your resume along with a dynamite cover letter that will highlight the specific value you can bring to your potential employer and demonstrates your knowledge of the company and position. Your cover letter should include 3 accomplishments in your career that you believe are your strongest to date, and should also indicate your interest in establishing yourself as long-term employee.

Tell the truth

You should not be afraid of telling a potential employee why you left a job. If you were laid off due to a merger or downsizing, be sure to say so during an interview.

Using a positive tone, your cover letter should explain your job hopping in 1 comprehensive sentence that includes an unifying element and your attraction to those specific positions such as "My passion for working directly with customers has drawn me to a variety of experiences, from selling homes to providing technical support to companies."

By drawing a hiring manager's attention to your passion and skills, rather than listing your work experience and prior jobs, you can downplay your job hopping history while showing why you are a good fit for the company.

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