Have you changed the job several times a year? You might know that this information in your resume, cover letter or on an interview may discourage a potential employer from hiring you. You clearly understand that there were certain reasons for these changes, but it is necessary to learn how to explain job hopping in the best way to prevent misinterpretation of this experience.
Look: this article will focus on what job hopping is, reasons for companies to avoid such employees and how frequent changes of jobs can be explained in oral communication and on the paper.
How to explain job hopping during an interview
Many experts say that job hopping is a standard trend in modern society since times when people used to spend dozens of years on one position have already passed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average tenure within one employer is about 4.2 years today, while younger people under 34 spend about 2.8 years on one position on average. Today, people tend to look not only for well-paid but also comfortable and convenient job responsibilities that do not put them in any frames. Therefore they might change jobs quite often trying to find the best alternative. At the same time, modern employees still treat this behavior as inconsistent since not only these reasons make people hunt for new jobs each month. Who wants to hire a person who will quit the job in a month or two and all the recruiting price must be repeated? It means that even if you used to change jobs quite often, you should explain that correctly being on interview and this article will help job seekers to achieve that in the best manner.
Definition of job hopping
The term ‘job hopping’ is usually referred to frequent and multiple changes in job positions. However, what exactly is meant using the word ‘frequent’ in this case? When a person has 30 years of employment experience and has changed 5 jobs within this period, it can be hardly considered too often. At the same time, if a college graduate with 3-5 years of experience does that the same number of times, it is time to ask ‘why does it happen?’.
In general, many employment experts agree that job hopping is a process when a person leaves a job in less than a year and it happens not once in the history of employment. Even if the period of time spent working is a bit longer than one year but there were several changes of the job during the career, it is also considered to be job hopping. One more definition of job hopping is holding several short-term positions which are generally not referred to as short-term ones. It means that job changes were made not because of internship, seasonal jobs or contracts limited in time, so a more accurate explanation is a necessity in this case.
Why companies avoid hiring job hoppers
It is not a secret that multiple changes of jobs within quite a short period of time often make recruiters send such resumes to the ‘Refused’ pile even without a desire to understand the reasons for this behavior. What exactly scares employers off? There are several reasons to avoid hiring job hoppers:
- Flightiness and no patience
It goes without saying that there are no perfect positions, but fleeing each time when a person faces any difficulty makes it the worst fit for a vacancy. An employer might think that if a person is not patient enough to overcome certain obstacles, he would probably leave his company as soon as he used to leave previous positions.
- No desire to make a long-term commitment
What is the sense to hire a person who may leave your company as soon as any other job pops up? Frequent job changes create the impression that a person hunts for salary only without putting any effort to perform the responsibilities set well. This absence of commitment prevents many recruiters from inviting such job hoppers to interview at all.
- No desire to develop deep expertise
One of the causes for many people to leave jobs quite often is no wish to learn anything new. There are people with certain baggage of knowledge which is considered enough for them and they are not ready to rack their brains learning new software installed or acquiring new skills. They simply do not wish to put any effort to stay on the position received and such underappreciation is a great drawback for an employer.
- Difficulties with getting along with other people
There are individuals who have troubles building relationships in the new circle of new employees. Therefore, they have to change their jobs often as it is impossible to work in the constant tension felt in the air. Moreover, some vacancies require such skills as sociability, ease of getting along with new people, communication, and job hopping can be evidence that this job-seeker lacks them greatly.
- Inability to adapt to new conditions
Every job requires adaptation to new conditions. An employee meets new people, begins working in a new office, receives new responsibilities, has to cope with challenges arising, but if he or she is unable to do that, there is no sense in hiring this person. Job hopping can be a feature of such a person and it discourages to hire him immediately.
These are only some of the causes why job hoppers are not the best choice for an open vacancy. However, employers should not make the only negative conclusion about every person who has changed several jobs. Of course, it is important to understand what made a person leave jobs and look for new positions so often. In most cases, only an interview will provide an accurate and detailed answer to the following question. If you one of those whose job list is quite long but you really want to be invited to the vacancy you apply for, you need to know the basics of how to explain job hopping during an interview. Here are several examples of how to achieve this goal.
Don’t complain about previous employers
One of the worst things you can do is to present your former employers in the negative light. Your complaints would rather add you bad points than convince the potential employer that the fault of your job hopping is not you. Moreover, it will make the impression that each time you will search for a job, you will open the company secrets or say some unpleasant words about your former employers, so who wants to hire such an employee in the end? The situation will look much worse if your complaints are accompanied by good references from this employer, as in this case, it is also evidence of your ingratitude.
If you a recruiter asks about your previous job and what made you leave it, you should be transparent, but be cautious in your expressions. Even if your previous job was not the one you liked, you can admit that and explain the reasons, but they should be neutral: the company moved, was downsized, restructured or changed the direction in business. Any reproach in your words must be absent. You can also say that your skills were not utilized to the full extent or your position was not the best suit regarding the skills and knowledge you possess.
You should keep in mind the importance of contemplation and tact in your speech. Even if the main reason for your termination was an inability to cooperate with your boss, it is important to present it to your benefit rather than make it a complaint. You can say that you had different visions about the directions in company development or your efforts to make positive changes were ignored. However, always try to present even some negative features in the positive light and sound convincing.
Turn it into your advantage
Though many people consider job hopping as a drawback, you can not only try how to explain job hopping in an interview by also turn it into your greatest benefit. Not everyone knows that your experience of work in multiple companies is more than just precious. They have unique insights into every situation, can offer the best practices and solutions, as well as bear a variety of fresh ideas lacked by inexperienced applicants. Multi-job hopping has helped them to learn new information and skills faster as well as build friendly relationships with absolutely different people. They can adapt to different situations and working conditions and even become indispensable for a company. Consequently, all those things which make recruiters doubt if job hoppers are worth hiring can be turned into your hidden benefit if presented right. Don’t be shy to tell everything you have learned or acquired in every company you worked in and how it can help you in the position you want to get now. It is necessary to focus on the meta skills you have today and how they will contribute to the development of the company you plan to work for.
Focus on your skills
If you know the drawbacks of job hopping, how to explain its benefits? Of course, these are numerous transferable skills obtained thanks to frequent job changes in different industries and on various positions. Such people are capable of understanding different perspectives and it can speak about the value of such employees.
Job hopping helps to develop several more important skills such as quick learning and problem-solving. Share your ability to notice risks and prevent failures as well as many other skills critical for this vacancy. As it was mentioned above, your set of skills should bring value to an employer so think how you can achieve that in advance and present your ideas during the interview.
Now you are looking for long-term job
One more important point to underline being interviewed is the fact that you hope to find a job to work for a long time. You should assure the recruiter or potential employer that you are omitted to stay on this position and desire to get this job. If there is still a hint of doubt in their eyes, it is important to prove your serious intentions with references from your previous employers. It may encourage them to hire you for a trial period for the very beginning and you will be able to show off your best talents and skills to convince them fully.
How to explain job hopping in cover letter
It is clear that before a job applicant is invited to an interview, the first thing he should do is not to get to the ‘Refused’ pile when he or she sends a resume. A long list of jobs with short periods of employment are proof of a person’s inconsistency, so you need to start convincing the HR department about your intentions to work for a long term sending not only a resume but also a cover letter. In fact, there are several ways how to explain job hopping in a cover letter:
- Consider which jobs may cause the highest level of concern for the potential employer.
- Address each of them and explain your reasons to leave them.
- Avoid complaints or saying unpleasant things about your former employers. Mention about references from them if there are any.
- Express your mind in the way to convince that you were in search of something better each time you changed your job.
- Use formal and clear language without ambiguity.
- Make a conclusion by showing your serious intentions on getting a long-term job position in the company you send your application to. Provide proof to be the best candidate who fits all the requirements.
Remember that you should be brief and clear in your statements and your main goal is to explain the reasons and show that you are the best fit.
How to explain job hopping on Resume
Despite the fact that job seekers should provide their past employment experience on their resumes, there are still several ways how to explain job hopping on a resume too. The document should be optimized in the following way.
As you know, every resume consists of several parts including education, experience, skills, and others. If you do not want to kill recruiter’s desire to invite you to an interview, you should find a template of a functional resume where all the focus is made on skills and achievements, while the experience is put for later. Moreover, you can list not all your jobs, but the most recent ones or ones connected with the vacancy you apply for. Avoid skipping any jobs leaving gaps in your experience since it makes a negative impression too. If you plan to include all the positions you had, provide each of them with a career summary. This is a short description consisting of 4-5 sentences where you focus on the areas of expertise, skills acquired, achievements, etc.
Remember that the text to attract the attention of an employer should be formatted in the bulleted list or table like skills on the resume, while your career summaries should look like a typed text.
Job hopping has always been treated as a negative feature but due to the modern employment tendencies, it is more a benefit rather than a drawback. The unique experience received by people who worked on different positions is invaluable since they experience multiple work environments and get more connections and networking, let alone new skills and knowledge. The only thing left to every job hopper is to prove that his or her unstable employment experience is a benefit and in this case, a job-seeker is planning to work for a long period of time. Such explanations should be provided not only during the interview but also in the resume and cover letter, so plan your documents and answers carefully keeping this information in mind.