5 Resume Tips for Job Hoppers

Some advice for those who have had lots of jobs for short amounts of time.

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Karen Burns
Here’s a depressing truth: When hiring managers first scan incoming resumes, they're looking for reasons to eliminate them. One major eliminator is job hopping. Yes, employers do still want to see signs of “loyalty,” even if they don’t show much of that in return.

So, if you’ve had multiple shorter-than-a-year jobs, your resume may be going straight to the trash can. Try these tips:

1. Only list experience relevant to the job you’ve applying for. There’s no law that says you have to list every single job you’ve ever had on your resume.

2. Don’t call attention to your dates of employment by using them as headers or setting them off in the left hand margin. Put dates at the end of job descriptions. Also, use years only, not months and years.

3. If you left a job because it was eliminated (merger, mass layoff, etc.), be sure to say so.

4. If you’ve had numerous freelance or contract jobs, lump them together. The purpose of your resume is to show you have the skills and experience for a particular job. It’s not an autobiography.

5. Write a dynamite cover letter where you demonstrate (a) your knowledge of the company you’re seeking to join, and (b) the specific value you bring to your prospective employer.

And here’s a bonus tip: Are you depending on your resume to get interviews? Don’t! You should be out in the real world, meeting and talking with people. If you’ve already impressed a potential new boss with your intelligence and great attitude, a job hopping history won’t matter.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. She blogs at karenburnsworkinggirl.com.