Job Hopper or Dedicated Worker?
by Michael Mayher

In the current jobs market I meet many people who face a dilemma and they are conflicted. Should they wait for the right job or should they take a job, until the right one comes along? The next consideration that may be influencing their decision is how the job change may be perceived on the resume. Traditionally, hiring managers at first glance look upon frequent job changes negatively, especially when a pattern emerges. On the other hand, gaps in employment are also detrimental and attract scrutiny, although times have changed during the last 10+ years.

If I had to pick and choose, in my own personal as well as professional opinion, I’d prefer to see job changes that can be explained, rather than to see wide gaps of more than a few months in an employment history (incidentally, employment lasting less than a month I would not even put on your resume, unless you are applying for a job with a high security vetting requirement).

Increasingly, reasonable hiring managers recognize that many people are improvising in the current, more competitive and less plentiful jobs market. Many people prefer (or need) to work than not, adapting to market shifts as best they can. This is a commendable trait and should not be viewed as a negative.

On the other hand there are those who, after losing their job, are waiting for something to present itself as good as or better than their last job. Situations differ so I am not judging their rationale as being realistic or not. But there is one thing you can be sure of: the longer a person goes without working and at the very least interviewing, the harder it is to get back into the jobs market. Self-confidence wanes and once someone falls into it, it’s a difficult rut to get out of. For example: they might have said they’d take a little time off but weeks turn into months and months can turn into years, until they just give up.

So -- two things to take away from this blog post. First, don’t automatically freak out because you might have a series of jobs that have been of shorter duration, just be prepared to confidently and realistically explain your decisions. And above all don’t let it become an excuse not to find another job; if you’ve been knocked down in life, you get back up, eh? Remember, many others are also having to adapt to unpredictable shifts in the markets, you’re not the only one. You might also make it easier for anyone who reviews your resume by putting a short statement (in italics perhaps) explaining the circumstance, i.e., “company downsized, division eliminated, company merged, result of lay-offs …”

Second, if you are someone who’s been knocked down or haven’t worked in more than six months, let this be a wake-up call; if you don’t have a real and legitimate reason not to do so, you must get back into the game - even if only for your own self-respect and dignity.

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.)
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