The Job-Hopper Resume

Sometimes life throws us a curve ball, and we end up holding three non-career related, part-time jobs for a year until we finally get traction with a full time position back in our field. Sometimes we hold different positions with one employer, but don't know how to lessen the appearance of the resume as a game of hop-scotch.

(I like hop-scotch and still do as this fellow when I find a "board" on the sidewalk. Fun! You may also see me click my heels if you follow me on a walk. I do like the element of surprise!)

Two clients' resumes - the before versions - had the appearance of short jobs and many jobs. And yet in neither case did it reflect the facts. One had held a series of project-related electrical/general foreman positions with one employer - in different locations and slight title variations (I think that's what stopped him from seeing his role as one), and the other was the  part-time job example I mentioned earlier.

I fixed both so that the resume reflected less activity, less change. (Too much change may signal the inability to stay put or to hold onto employment.)

With the foreman, simply using the projects to outline his work under the one employ reduced not only the appearance of flitting about, but also eliminated a lot of redundancy in repeated duties (allowing me to also cut the resume from three to two pages). I named one project per bullet and added - in two or three lines - each project's  highlights.

With the more entry level candidate, I chose to lump the three part-times together as they were not related to her career, and offered an explanation, as follows:

Variety of short-term contract positions, GTA                                                         2012

Freelance photographer, venue set up with La Cucina Banquet Hall, and sales and reception at Warm Skies Yoga.     

This tactic accomplished what was needed: covers off the year, demonstrates flexibility, and speaks to tenacity, character, and taking responsibility to pay the bills even with "less-than optimum" jobs.  And yes, this approach did lead to her landing a great full-time job in the field she aspired to. 

Resumes are not subject to arbitrary rules that dictate exactly how they must be structured, precisely what info must be shared. Rather, they are strategic documents, self-marketing documents, and get greater results if they heed marketing guidelines.

On a related note, just today a senior management client asked me whether the three page resume I composed for him is okay as he keeps reading on the internet that it must be no more than two pages. Although most of the resumes I compose are two pages, when I need three I use three. What is the point of adhering to an arbitrary "one-size-fits-all" point of view to his job hunt's detriment? I have lots of senior level clients who hold a three page resume and this does not prevent them from landing interviews and great job offers.

I love applying strategy and sound reasoning to creating effective resumes. If you need help, check out my Services page.