What To Do If You Feel Like a Job Hopper

Recognize this scenario?

You are applying for a new opportunity, but you're kind of worried.

The bulk of your CV is a flurry of scattered experiences from different jobs.

You held down one job for 6 months over here - and barely one year over there. And you don't even know how to start explaining that four month gaping hole of nothingness in it.

Insecurity sets in and you question all the choices you have previously made.

You realize that you are job hopper and you are about to pay for it...

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Why Job Hopping Isn't Real

I remember being told as a student - by a recruiter at a large Telecom company - that unless I stayed 3 years in a role and seamlessly transferred into a new role, my CV would never be taken seriously...

My only thought was that he was out of touch with our world today.

The world is changing.

In all of the conversations that I have, I am still surprised of how many identify as hoppers. They get focused on the structure and dates of a piece of paper and look for external proof to compare, justify and tweak.

But How Can I Explain Myself?

You take yourself out of the job hopper role.

Because, honestly:

If you believe that you are a job hopper, you are a job hopper. If you don’t believe in your own journey, why would someone else?

There is an inherent problem with 'job hopping', it oozes negativity. What if we named it what it actually is?

Work experience.

Connecting the dots

Steve Jobs says you can only connect the dots when you look back. Maybe all your choices didn’t make perfect sense to you at the time.

Well, now is the time to connect the dots and create your life story.

Take yourself out of the job hopper role

If one company decides to pass on you for the reason you have not carried long-term gigs. Maybe that is not the place for you.

There are other opportunities out there, and there are definitely people who will find you interesting. If you have made interesting choices, you will attract interesting employers.

But you need to own it.

Guide yourself through these steps when considering your hoppy career:

#1: What are your main themes?

This is key.

These can be strengths, areas of expertise or a specific industry.

It can be that you excel in forming (or disbanding) groups.

When I learned about my strengths, I started looking at my career in a very different way.

Instead of climbing a career ladder, I saw the broader trends of my career.

What are main themes?

  • You can explore teaching and education in customer service, management consulting or in a leadership role.
  •  Good at working with groups that function well but make them even better no matter which industry you are in. Or they function terribly and you have a role in contributing to their healing.

Look to find your patterns, your strengths and your themes.

#2: What did you learn?

Maybe you hated your job and quit, maybe you never intended to stay that long. Perhaps you were made redundant?

Interesting experiences create great stories. Explain how you grew from it, and what your takeaways are from that experience.

# 3: Create your story.

Don’t tell the story of a job hopper. Tell the story of YOU in your career growth. How did you choose paths, what drove you to different experiences.

Most importantly, believe your story! Don't make stuff up. Craft the real story, and understand its implications on who you are now and what value you can bring to the table today.

Consciously create your past experience.

You decide what it means.