How to address a history of short-term jobs

Three short-term jobs might qualify someone as a “job-hopper”, and – unfortunately – 76 per cent of employers decide not to interview a candidate they consider to be a job-hopper, according to research conducted on behalf of Indeed.

So, if you have more than three short-term jobs on your resume, you may have some explaining to do to turn an employer’s perceptions around.


Fortunately, there are many positive reasons for moving around in your career, such as exposure to
different projects, industries, and learning new ways of working. It’s possible to gain a broad
base of core skills including adaptability, strong communication and the ability to learn quickly as a result of multiple jobs in a short time-frame.

It’s important to address your short-term jobs in a positive light as this will be key to helping you
secure a new role. It’s also worth identifying which jobs, if any, were contract roles. The popularity
of contract positions in today’s workplace means your recruiter might be more aware of the benefits
of these short-term roles compared to ones you’ve left by choice.

When applying for a new job, include a cover letter that explains your motivations for having multiple short-term roles and how these experiences have equipped you for the position advertised.

Being proactive at the beginning of the search will help you overcome the challenges you may
face getting an interview. Call the employer a day or two after submitting your application to positively explain your history of short tenures while addressing any concerns they might have.

If you secure an interview, go the extra mile by following up the next day to thank them for their
time and summarise all the key attributes you could bring to their organisation. If you’ve come this
far, you’ve probably done enough to address your history of short-term jobs, so switch the focus to
your unique skills and suitability for the role.

While it’s important to address your history of short-term jobs, don’t dwell on it too much. Instead,
throughout the application process, use your past experiences to demonstrate what you’ve gained
from those roles and how you’ll apply your learnings in the new role.

This column was produced in commercial partnership with Indeed.


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