How many jobs is too many jobs?

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Today’s blog post is all about “job hopping”. We’ve all heard this phrase over the course of our career but what effect does this have on how future employers and recruiters see our commitment to a role?

Job longevity is becoming more and more of a rare sight on a CV, however, moving jobs too often can indeed be seen in a negative light by companies. If you’re frequently changing employment every 6-12 months it sparks a whole host of questions such as:

  • Are you constantly not passing your probationary periods or meeting targets?
  • Are you worth the investment of training?
  • Are you going to leave if you are not promoted fast enough/get a pay rise immediately?
  • Are you an employee that is always on the lookout for the next best thing?

Now obviously these concerns are not ones you want your future employer to be having as soon as they see your CV! But in today’s fluid market, demonstrating a clear career path with only a handful of companies isn’t how things are happening for most people. Opportunities to move to different cities, take on short term projects or temporary work, go travelling or just to simply try something new are ever more present and shouldn’t be discounted as important learning curves in your career.

If you’ve managed to accumulate an extensive array of jobs and are worrying you are appearing unreliable, here are some helpful tips to show an employer that you’re keen to commit to a company.

De-clutter: Your CV doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list of every single thing you’ve ever done in your life. It’s your own personal sales tool, used to help you demonstrate immediately to an employer why you are the best person for the job. So think about grouping together periods of temporary employment and offering an explanation:

Jun 2012- July 2014, London: Various temporary roles as a Business Travel Consultant whilst actively completing an Open University course”

Don’t consider listing your responsibilities in jobs from 20 years ago – It will take up room and is largely irrelevant. Just stick to the job title and dates if you feel it’s still important but if it’s nothing to do with the role you’re going for now, it’s perfectly fine to leave it off and advise “Further work history available on request”

Explain yourself: Adding reasons for leaving on to jobs can be useful in allowing an employer to see why you’ve made certain decisions. Relocation, left to go travelling or raise a family, redundancy etc shouldn’t be left to the recruiters imagination or you can risk your genuine reasons sounding alarm bells.

Focus on what each job has taught you: If you’ve tried out several different industries and appear to be flitting around on a whim, why not focus on the fact you’re clearly capable of learning new things? Highlight the transferrable skills learnt and how each venture has helped you clearly identify the direction you now want to go in.

When you’re looking for a new, permanent role, remember to choose carefully and look for one you think you’ll commit to, even if just for a couple of years. It can happen that despite your best intentions, a position you take just doesn’t work out for whatever reason but that should be the exception to the rule on your CV and not the norm. It’s not a case of staying in a job you don’t like for the sake of it but be mindful that you don’t want future employers to make assumptions about your commitment before they’ve even met you.

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