By Kathleen Furore
From Tribune Content Agency
Over the past year or so, I’ve heard people talking about how they’ve changed jobs several times. Some kept job hopping because they didn’t like what they were doing, some wanted more money, and one was let go of two jobs within a year—yet none of them had any trouble landing new positions. Is there a minimum amount of time someone should stay at a job? And how should they handle short-term stays on a resume?
According to a recent Resume Builder survey, the old rule of thumb that said two years will ensure your resume remains attractive to recruiters has been thrown out the window. As the survey notes, “The ongoing labor shortage has provided unprecedented new opportunities for job seekers unhappy in their current roles.”
Based on input from 1,000 full-time workers who have switched jobs one or more times so far in 2022, opportunities abound for job switchers today.
Results from the survey stated: “More than one in four job switchers have changed jobs three or more times this year; 67 percent say they make more at their new job, with an average increase in salary of 8 percent (much higher than the average annual raise of 4.6%); and four in 10 are strongly considering switching jobs again this year.”
“No longer are savvy hiring managers looking for at least two years at a position in order to consider them for hire,” explains Stacie Haller, a career counselor, job search coach and executive recruiter at Resume Builder. “In this changing environment, it’s more about the reasons for leaving than in the duration for the most part. This has been evolving over time, starting with technology and the gig worker, and now it is a pretty broad standard that hiring managers want to understand the job changes and with explanations that make sense, it is no longer a block in the hiring process.”
While Haller acknowledges that habitually changing jobs every few weeks “will surely diminish the chances of getting hired,” a few short-term stints likely won’t deep-six an application.
“Someone can take a new position and the job changes within the first few weeks, or management may change and affect the new employee, or the company may be sold or go out of business,” continues Haller. “There are reasons that can be easy to explain, and most of these reasons can and should be noted on a resume. Listing the easy-to-explain ones will help to get to an interview and you’ll have the opportunity to explain other (reasons) in person if needed.”
Nan Parrish, a sales and marketing analyst at IT consulting firm Surety Systems, Inc., says focusing on the quality of what you’ve done instead of the quantity of time you’ve done it also is key. Here, Haller and Parrish offer tips on how to handle job hopping in ways that won’t hurt your chances of being hired.
Make it clear when a job entry is a temporary/consulting position. Haller often sees candidates list those kinds of jobs on their resumes without noting they are positions that may only last a few weeks. “Without noting that they are working temp positions, hiring managers may just assume they are job hopping way too often and pass on interviewing them,” she notes.
Emphasize the importance of your work and the difference you made. “Whether you were at the company for one week or six months, your work made a difference,” Parrish stresses. “By providing a short description of the work you did, readers of your resume are more likely to understand your job at hand, gain insight into your impact on the organization, and have a better idea of how that experience taught and prepared you for the next job.”
Quantify the work you did. “Did you have a minimum number of calls to make per day? Include how many calls you made on average per day. Maybe you cleaned the data in 100 accounts per week? Include that too,” Parrish says. “By including specific numbers and metrics in your job description, resume readers will gain better insight into your productivity, engagement, and work ethic for the job at hand, no matter how long you were employed at any given company.”
(Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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