When scanning a candidate’s resume, employers examine the job history and look at the length of time that the individual spent at each position. The average job tenure is four years, and positions that have lasted for this amount of time or more indicate dedication.
Employers will regard you as an uncommitted job hopper if your resume lists a series of jobs that lasted less than a year. This problem will make it difficult to qualify for a job you really want, but you can make a negative job history positive with careful preparation and thoughtful explanations.
Explain Reasons for Leaving
Interviewers appreciate a candidate who can voluntarily provide reasonable explanations for short-term jobs. Be sincere and speak honestly. Some acceptable reasons for leaving a job abruptly include personal health conditions, having to care for a child or parent, company relocation or downsizing, or a need for more job satisfaction. If you were terminated, provide the reason and explain how you have overcome the problem.
Speak of former employers in positive terms, even if you had disagreements or left on bad terms. Negative statements about previous employers show a lack of loyalty and can make you ineligible for the new position. Focus on the positive aspects of the jobs and companies you have worked for.
Focus on Benefits
Keep your explanations succinct and move on to discuss what you consider to be benefits of having had a short-term job. The benefits could include the experience you acquired from the position. Also talk about what you were able to accomplish before your departure. This could include projects you were able to complete and any innovative suggestions you made that the company implemented to improve a work process.
Highlight Relevant Skills
You can help the interviewer focus on more positive aspects. Point to the skills and knowledge you’ve gained from your short-term employment that are relevant to the position for which you are interviewing. Explain how you can apply them in the new job. You could also discuss other benefits of having obtained these skills and knowledge. For instance, this could shorten the initial training and orientation necessary for the position, and save the company some time and money.
Reassure the interviewer of your desire to work for the company for a long time. Explain how the various aspects of the new position match your needs and affirm your belief that the job offers the challenge for which you have been searching. You could also state what you expect to have contributed to the company after a considerable length of time, like five or 10 years.
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