Many of us, including myself, have been in the position where we’ve changed jobs more quickly than intended, maybe even more than once, and it can leave us vulnerable to being overlooked as a ‘job hopper’.
That means recruiters, and hiring managers, might be inclined to be wary of our CVs and not give us a chance. Obviously, they are looking for someone that will stay in the role for the long term. They will be suspicious of someone whose history suggests they have trouble staying in a job!
These tips are for job seekers that feel they are getting overlooked because of a lack of longevity in their recent employment.
Be truthful on your CV
Don’t try to cover up a patchy period on your CV by manipulating dates – all the employer has to do is take up a reference and they’ll find out that you’re not being truthful. Make sure your CV has the correct dates on and that if the employer cross references with your LinkedIn profile, it stands up to scrutiny. Bear in mind that you may have moved from job to job but ultimately if you were working, that’s better than not working.
Explain any short term roles on your CV in a positive way
So imagine you’ve been in a role for six months that wasn’t a good fit – don’t fall into the trap of omitting it from your CV. You can provide a brief explanation of what you achieved in the role, and what you learned from it. Even if what you learned from it was that it wasn’t the right environment for you. Its better to be self-aware and admit a mistake, particularly if you can put a positive spin on it.
Job applications – If you feel you are in danger of being overlooked, provide an application letter
Remember that most candidates won’t bother – its easier just to click ‘send’ these days than to make a little effort on your job application. A short letter introducing yourself, summarising why you are a good candidate, and emphasising that you are looking for a long-term opportunity, will help you stand out from the crowd.
Don’t be defensive
If you have moved from job to job, the recruiter will want to find out why. The hiring manager will want to delve even deeper to make sure you are a serious long term prospect. If you are defensive, it will seem like you have something to hide. So prepare well, and be as honest as you can. Its much more attractive to say ‘you know what? I made a mistake. Here’s what I learned’.
If you feel a role was mis-sold to you, which happens a lot, again, think about what you learned from the experience. ‘The role wasn’t what I was expecting, but I picked up some great skills and tried something different, ultimately I learned that I need to ask more questions at interviews to be confident the role is the right fit for me so there won’t be any surprises!’
Ask questions at the interview
It’s a two-way process. Use the interview to make sure the role is right for you, so you don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. Don’t make the same mistake – if your last role wasn’t a good fit, use the interview to make sure this one will be.
The final 2 tips are for those that are worried about moving into job hopper territory…
If you are ok in your role, by this I mean things could be better, but you can stick it out for now, don’t panic and leap into another role that isn’t right for you. Put the feelers out and wait for the right role. Focus on quality applications and don’t waste your annual leave attending interviews for jobs that you’ll be looking to leave in 6 months.
Be prepared to take a sideways step
A sideways step to a role that perhaps doesn’t represent a massive leap forward, but which presents an opportunity for better progression in the long term, can be a great strategic move. That might mean you move for the same salary as you’re on, for a role that is a better fit for you, and that will set your career back on the right track.