Including your employment history on your resume is a must, but the presentation of that information gets a little trickier when you have employment gaps or periods of job hopping. To start with, make sure you are reading as many job postings as possible, and apply for the ones that you feel you are qualified for and can develop a list of skills and accomplishments that relate to the position.
While you cannot change your work history or magically erase employment gaps or periods of job hopping, you can give more attention to the positive aspects of your employment history. Using a functional resume, for example, is great if you have a spotty work history and related references or periods of job hopping. Similarly, a chronological resume or combination resume that starts with a Summary of Qualifications draws more attention to your strengths rather than the timeline of your jobs.
The best way to address both employment gaps and job hopping is through strategic thinking on how to present your information. Some strategies you might employ to account for these two things include the following:
If you have employment gaps throughout your work history, presenting your experienceS in the best light depends on your personal situation.
Whatever the reason for employment gaps in your work history – raising a family, caring for a sick family member, recovering from an illness or injury or attending school – you should never get defensive or apologetic. When you have a negative attitude, the quality of your resume can suffer, so focus on highlighting your strengths.
If your employment history shows job hopping, you can put your experiences in the best light to account for it. Some industries have shorter terms of employment by nature, so if you work in a field where short job periods are common, do not concern yourself over a history of job hopping. However, if job hopping is not a byproduct of the field in which you work, consider employing a few of the following practices to mitigate the effects job hopping has on a prospective employer’s perception of you.
While the nature of a resume does not provide space for you to address employment gaps or job hopping in your employment history, a well-written cover letter does. Consider putting a positive spin on either situation in your cover letter. However, avoid simply saying “I hopped between so many jobs because…” Instead, talk about what you have done in your life to stay ready to work, and how your experiences have prepared you for the position to which you are applying.