If you’re sending out resumes or trying to find a new company to work for, you’ll want to present yourself in the best light. One of the ways you can do that is through a strong job history. But some people don’t have a history they’re particularly proud of. That can happen if they’ve job-hopped a lot, or if they’ve worked their way up or across an industry fairly quickly. That’s not always a bad thing, but it may look that way to a potential employer. Here’s how to explain your job history, so it doesn’t hurt your chances.
Look for Common Threads
When there are common threads between jobs, it’s important to make sure those are reflected on your resume. Usually, there are different skills and different roles if someone has been through a number of different jobs. But there could be a thread that connects all of those jobs, such as IT work, customer service, a love of animals, or something else. It’s those threads that you want to emphasize and talk about, so the interviewer or potential employer understands the connection between the jobs you’ve had.
Identify What You Learned
At each and every job you’ve had, there’s a potential for growth, learning, and development. What you learned at one job could have easily been what you took to the next job. Then you built on that learning and took all of it to the next job. If you can show how learning took you from position to position, the idea that you changed jobs a lot looks less like a problem and more like an opportunity you were building for your future and your career. Having many jobs doesn’t have to be a problem.
Show Your Growth
Your variety of experiences can be helpful in determining why the job you’re currently applying for is a good one. If you have a lot to base your career path on due to the jobs you’ve worked in the past, you’ll be more likely to find the right fit going forward. You can show your growth in your field and as a person by discussing the fit of past jobs, what you learned from them, and how that brought you to your current application. The more you have to say about your understanding of your job history, the more a potential employer may appreciate the level of growth and development you’ve experienced.
There’s no reason to advertise that you’ve had a lot of different jobs, or treat it like a “big deal.” The more you play up your large number of jobs the more an employer may think you don’t take your duties seriously or struggle to fit in. But there’s not necessarily anything wrong with having a lot of different jobs in your history if there was a purpose for it and a common thread running through it. By looking for the threads, the growth, and the learning, you can discuss those specifics with an interviewer and reduce the chances you’ll be judged harshly for a string of jobs on your resume.
About the Author: Michelle Dakota Beck has worked as a professional freelance writer since the 1990s. During that time she has written everything from product descriptions to full-length books. Her areas of specialization include real estate, home services, legal topics, relationships, family life, and mental health issues. You can find her on WriterAccess.