Over the next several weeks, I’ll be responding to frequently asked questions that have not been addressed here on the blog recently. Q: I am 27 and have already had 4 jobs since graduating from college. With the economy being so sour, I’m afraid that my “job hopping” is really going to hurt me. How can I downplay this on a resume?
A: I get a lot of questions expressing concern over the appearance of job-hopping on a resume. First off, I want to acknowledge that, yes, several jobs within a short span of time can present a tricky dilemma on a resume. At the very least, it can be problematic in terms of flow and overall appearance. I have some good (possibly even surprising) news though.
Here’s the reality… Switching jobs with some frequency is becoming increasingly common – and acceptable – as time goes on. If you take a look at statistics through time, from a workforce of Baby Boomers followed by Gen X and Gen Y, you see that longevity in the workplace has become less and less the norm. Pension Plans are disappearing, as are mind-blowing awards for 30 years of service. Say good-buy to the era of gold watches.
This is the way that the world of work is evolving. As I’ve said before, it’s most important that you can show that you are on top of your career – not the other way around. So, whether you’ve been with an employer for 18 months or 18 years, future employers are mainly concerned with your command of your career. Are some employers impressed with long employment stints? Absolutely. However, as we move towards increasingly agile workplaces, longevity can work against you. Many employers want proof that you have a strong bias for action and change. Many see a candidate’s experience in many roles as confirmation of this.
Let go of outmoded ideas of what an ideal career progression looks like. Get comfortable embracing your work history – no matter how scattered you think it may be.