Resume Tips For “Job Hoppers”

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Are layoffs, freelance jobs, or a few hasty decisions painting an inaccurate portrait of your character to hiring managers?  A slew of one-year (or less) stints at various companies can make a candidate look unreliable. Don’t worry – not all hope is lost! With Career Group Companies’ resume tips for “job hoppers” and some pre-interview preparation, you can still be a competitive candidate to hiring managers.


The first step is formatting your resume in a way that takes the focus off of your scattered work history:


  • First section – Awards and Certifications: List your skills, awards, and certifications at the beginning of your resume, right after your name and contact information.


  • Second section – Education: Underneath the “Awards and Certifications” section, you can share your education, including any trade schools, universities or colleges you attended.


  • Third section – Transferrable Skills: What would normally contain your previous companies, positions, dates, and duties can be broken down into two sections – skills and employment. For instance, if you’ve driven for Uber, worked as a receptionist, and had a contract job as a Production Assistant, list the similar responsibilities you’ve had at each job under the same title, like the below:


Customer Service/Hospitality


  • Managing incoming calls and correspondence
  • Greeting and acting as an information resource to clients
  • Setting up for meetings, managing conference room calendars


Administrative Support


  • Coordinate travel plans and file expense reports; ensure all travel itineraries adhere to company travel policy
  • Create presentations, client documents, and research reports
  • Conduct research and gather information from public sources across multiple industries


Event Management


  • Plan the execution of all corporate, social and private events
  • Manage guest booking, green room traffic, and guest suites
  • Work as event staff at press events where the agency is represented


In the next section you can list the companies you’ve worked for with only the years included.  No need to add duties as this was listed in the previous section.


Uber, Los Angeles                                                                                                                             2017 – 2018



Career Group Companies, Los Angeles, CA                                                                      2016 – 2017

Contract Employee


ABC Production Company, Los Angeles, CA                                                                     2015 – 2016

Production Assistant


Formatting your resume is the easy part. After you’ve gotten your foot in the door, you’ll still need to impress your interviewer.  If your quick departure was due to anything other than poor health, you’ll need to convince your employer that the reason was justified.  However there are a number of reasons why someone might leave their job quickly. Below are the most common reasons and how to deal with them.



If a layoff is the reason for your scattered work history, then you are off the hook. Be upfront about this with your future employer. Your first round of interviews will likely be with a Human Resources representative who knows firsthand how devastating layoffs can be for employees.


Temp Agency/Freelance

Employment agencies can be helpful for finding full-time employment or freelance work.  For instance, it gives you a chance to test out different companies and careers before committing.  Listing multiple assignments that only lasted a few months or weeks under the actual company name can make you seem like a flight risk.  But grouping these assignments under the agency name on your resume or using the format we offered above will help solve this problem.


Hasty decisions

Not everyone knows exactly what they want to pursue career wise upon graduating.  If uncertainty caused you to job hop early on in your career, owning up to your mistakes will work in your favor.  Consider sharing with the interviewer that when you were unsure of your career path, you made decisions that you regret.  Moreover, assure them that with the knowledge you have now, you greatly value stability and are looking for a company where you can stay and grow.


These tips will most definitely help you win over the interviewer as you combat questions about why your job history entails short stints. Above all, take a moment before accepting any new offers. Make sure your job-hopping days are over before committing to any long-term positions.  If it continues, it may indicate a greater issue that you need to address within yourself. For example, maybe you’re better suited for the freelance or consultant life, in which case, there are a plethora of opportunities out there that will fit your needs and lifestyle.


For more help finding your path, check out the rest of our career advice and tips on our blog.

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