Have you had Multiple Jobs in a Short Time Horizon? Here’s How to Address the “Job Hopper” Characterization
In the following article, Lewis Daidone discusses how you can not only overcome the potentially negative perception associated with job hopping, but how you can use it to your advantage.
The past ten years have been tough—a crushing recession, dramatic company downsizings, and job scarcity. As a result, long stretches of unemployment weren’t unusual. However, what about too many jobs? While a person who’s had more than five jobs in the previous decade may seem perfectly capable of finding employment, what does it say about that person’s commitment? Employers have a term for this: “Job Hopper.”
Unfortunately, employers can be a bit skittish about hiring job hoppers. Why should they take a chance on someone who’ll just move on after one or two years? If you’ve had numerous jobs in the past few years, here’s what you can do to make yourself appealing to potential employers.
Emphasize the positive reasons for your moves.
Did you move into a more senior role with expanded responsibilities? Was your current company experiencing financial difficulties, or was there a limited career path? Did you move to a more prestigious firm? These are all very valid reasons for moving on and should not only be stressed in your cover letter but during the interview as well.
Stress your adaptability.
Job hoppers can adapt to different company cultures with relative ease, and they can also learn quickly. You’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge about best practices, new technologies, and the competition. Demonstrate to your prospective employer how you can leverage your diverse skill set – and contacts – to their benefit.
Be honest about what you’re looking for.
If you’ve job-hopped strategically, let your prospective employer know what you had hoped to achieve, and if you succeeded. Many top-performers find that it’s actually easier to move to a different company for more money or better opportunities, than it is to do so within the same organization. If the company offers the kind of opportunities you’re seeking, don’t hesitate to let them know it.
Job hoppers used to get a bad rap, but they can be immensely valuable to companies. You have to have tremendous skill, ambition, and initiative to successfully adapt to different organizations and cultures, and an increasing number of companies are recognizing that fact.
Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to tech companies and financial services firms.