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IT career tips to avoid the job hopper label

Rich Hein | April 3, 2013
Is being considered a job hopper the kiss of death for job seekers or is it the new norm? It all depends on the underlying reasons and how it's presented.

Resume Adjustments

Adjusting your resume is a great way to draw attention somewhere else--for example, to your skills or accomplishments. Below are two tips Mattson offers to do just that:

Refocus your resume: For example, highlight your achievements. "It's really about your work history and so sometimes you need to refocus your resume, you may need to provide a little explanation, like 'start-up company acquired,' something that tells a little bit more about the story," notes Mattson. Create a strong social presence that highlights achievements: For example: Build out your LinkedIn and Google+ pages making sure to highlight all your relevant achievements. "Honestly, if we are looking at someone who has a history of job hopping we definitely look more closely at all angles. We go so far as to look for recommendations on their LinkedIn profile," says Jalali. Having a strong social presence is more important than ever, get out there and start and start building your brand.

Tell Your Story

"Job hopping used to be the kiss of death on your resume and the candidate who only stayed at his or her companies for one or two years was considered to be potentially unstable," says Cashman.

However, with the economic instability and more workers coming to the realization that the days of working for one company for your career are essentially over, there seems to be a new norm where companies and recruiters are beginning to have a different view of the job hopper--seeing them [job hoppers] "as someone who is young but wants to gain experience rapidly, someone who is also flexible, resourceful and learns fast," says Mattson.

"Your resume should tell the reader why you were important to the success of some project or company and should show that you have grown over time gaining increased responsibility, scope and success. Probably the most important thing is to be able to demonstrate that no matter where you worked, or for how long, that you were someone who was critical to the success of a project or the company as a whole," says Steve Kasmouski, President of the Search Divisions at WinterWyman.

The bottom-line is you have to know what value you bring to the table, keep a record of your accomplishments and be prepared to explain your logic. Employees who know how to handle the situation and have prepared can turn that red flag into an offer letter.

Hiring Managers Take Heed

"As a hiring manager, your radar goes off when you notice this [job hopping] and you have to poke around a little more. If it's something that was out of their hands, it's always good to really spend more time on their references. Try to get references that validate or support their statement. Validate the fact of why someone was job hopping," says Jalali. Here are some additional tips for IT employers:

 

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