How to Explain Short-Term Jobs and Job Hopping on Your Resume – with Resume Examples

It’s becoming more and more common for working professionals to have a series of short-term jobs in their careers.

While loyalty is a quality that loses out to results, hiring managers don’t love to see short-term jobs on resumes.

A series of short-term jobs does raise red flags.

But since time travel hasn’t been invented yet and you can’t go back and change your career, I’m here to show you a resume strategy that will minimize those red flags, and bring the readers’ focus to your results.

There are a number of reasons that you might find yourself with a series of short-term gigs.

For example, you may have had to take on temp work as you continued to search for your dream job.

Or perhaps you’re a consultant or contractor who does project-based or assignment-based work and short-term roles the natural state of the work you do.

Or maybe due to no fault of your own, you’ve found yourself in bad-fitting roles with bad companies or toxic workplaces.

These are just a few of the possibilities.

No matter the reason, the perception could possibly be a negative one when your resume is read.

There’s no point in worry about the perception. Instead, focus on what you want the reader to focus on.

And that’s the value and results you can create for their company.

So how do we bring the focus to value and results?

First, I’m assuming that you’ve already identified your target job. 

If you haven’t done that, come back to this after you’ve nailed your target job down. No resume writing should happen until you’re crystal clear on what you’re going after. After all, you don’t drive your car without a destination in mind unless you love wasting time and energy.

So since you’re clear on what job you want to target, you will have a good idea of what the ideal candidate for your target job needs in terms of strengths and skills.

With that in mind, spend 5 minutes for each of your short-term roles thinking about your greatest accomplishments and write these down in a document or a notebook. Wherever. We just need to revisit it.

When writing these accomplishments down, think about instances of how you:

  • Made money for the company
  • Saved money for the company
  • Saved yourself, your team, or the company time
  • Saved your team or company from a major headache or problem
  • Made your client money
  • Made your clients lives easier
  • Enabled success for your team or clients

…or anything else you can think of where you changed something for the better or created a new, positive outcome.

Watch the video “How to Track Your Work Accomplishments” for more tips on what to write down.

All done? Great. Now make sure you watch the video to see resume examples dealing with short-term gigs, in action.

We cover:

  • Series of similar, short-term roles
  • Series of unrelated short-term roles
  • A short term role in the middle of longer term roles that we aren’t proud of
  • A short term role in the middle of longer term roles that we are proud of

So in summary, we want to bring the reader’s focus to value and away from the brevity of our short term roles. We do this by keeping the amount of real estate we use tight, and showcasing the absolute best stuff, not all the stuff.

Kamara Toffolo

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