Resume Tips for Job Hoppers

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Years ago, hiring managers avoided a very specific type of job seeker —candidates they called “job-hoppers.” These people were always moving from position to position, maybe staying for a year or two (or less), then left for bigger and better contracts. Hiring managers hated it, because they had to constantly fill and re-fill positions, which is an expensive process.

Today, job hopping has become a reality of the marketplace. Employees are showing this pattern more often, and employers are simply accepting that this is one of the costs of doing business in a modern age. Maybe it’s because today’s youth are restless and have high expectations of their employers. Perhaps it’s because company loyalty to employees is on the downswing, and worker loyalty has taken a corresponding dive. But whatever the cause, the results are the same: modern adults tend to step in and out of many different positions throughout the course of their working lives.

If you rarely feel content to stay in one place for more than two years at a time, here are few resume tips that can help you stay on the move.

1. Organize your work history section by relevance, not chronology. If you’ve held five positions in the last ten years, you don’t have to include every one of these jobs on your resume. List only the ones most relevant to the job you’re currently looking for.

2. Be honest with your reviewers if you expect them to be honest with you. Don’t announce that you plan to leave in two years if you’re hired, but make it clear that you’re ambitious, and you don’t intend to settle into a long-term career plateau. 

3. Target your job search toward employers with expectations that match yours. Find employers who aren’t looking for people who settle. You need the kinds of positions and companies that want to drive you forward and upward as much as you’d like to drive yourself. If your potential employer wants a junior staffer or an assistant, but will lose respect for you if you’re still holding this position five years down the road, that’s a good sign.

4. Use your cover letter to frame yourself as a restless striver, not an unreliable self-server. These may be exactly the same thing, but presentation is everything.

5. Rely on recruiters, but don’t alienate them. Recruiters are in business to impress their employer clients, not the candidates they’re presenting. Reaching out to recruiters can help you move forward, but don’t embarrass your recruiter by showing interest in salary alone and asking only what the company can do for you, not what you can do for them.

Your Resume Tells Your Story

Your resume should let employers know that you intend to step into the workplace and make valuable contributions to the company—even if you won’t keep the position for the rest of your career. Make these contributions clear, and let potential managers know that they’ll be glad they brought you on board, no matter how long you stay. Use LiveCareer for formatting tips and tools that can help you send this message

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