Does you career history that involves a series of job changes every two or less years? Was there a timeframe that involved multiple jobs in a short amount of time in your career? Be cautious that you made get labeled a “Job Hopper” which can be career suicide and cost you new job opportunities. It is a natural bias for potential employers to look less favorably on a potential candidate with a series of job changes versus a candidate that demonstrates longevity in his or her positions.
Given the instability of the economy in the last decade and the reality of job eliminations and layoffs, it has become more common to see frequent job changes than in the past. However, you should be prepared to discuss your job changes with a clear and consistent story. Avoid ambiguity, which creates red flags in the interview process in general. You want to avoid the perception that you are under-performer or unreliable as a potential employee.
Here are some practical recommendations for you to consider:
Address the "Elephant in the Room" – If you have a series of short-term job stints, than consider a summary statement.
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Remain positive – Pardon my choice of language here, but “Shit Happens!” Potential employers get that, so what did you learn from your experience and job changes? That is what matters. Keep it positive and show how that gained knowledge makes you a desirable candidate today.
Here are a couple of examples:
“During the 2009-2010 economy, I suffered the fate of many employees in a string of lay-offs and job eliminations which pervaded the employment market. It gave me the opportunity in between full-time employment to consult with a variety of companies in different industries that really broadened my skill set. That experience was invaluable to me being able to execute cross-channel marketing campaigns.”
“With the explosion of digital marketing technology and related start-ups early in my career, I took the risk of being entrepreneurial with mixed results, so I moved around a bit. Each of the start-ups I worked for suffered different fates. One was successfully acquired and the other two lost funding after two years. It was invaluable experience in learning how all facets of a business operate.”
Break the Pattern - State your appreciation for lessons learned in the past, and your interest in finding a long-term position that will allow you to grow within the potential employer’s organization.
“While, I appreciate what I learned from my past job changes, I am looking to join a company where I can grow my career along with the business."
As with the entire interview process, being prepared and being clear in telling your story is critical. This applies to job changes as well. Don’t underestimate the importance of addressing job changes with a potential employer. It could be the difference between getting the job or not.