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Serial Job-Hopper? Read This Before Your Next Interview

At Talentfoot, our rule is no more than two jobs in four years. But life happens. So how can you spin your experience and interview answers in your favor if you’ve bounced around a lot, while still being 100% honest?

In the current startup culture, people are changing jobs more than ever. To be honest, it’s a bumpy economic climate, and although we promote loyalty and stability, we understand the many reasons frequent transitions happen.

The average tenure of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of a major brand these days is 3.6 years, because companies are always wanting to get a fresh new perspective. In addition, marketing pros feel they need to gain experience marketing all different types of products to become better at their craft. Gaining that breadth of experience typically involves quite a bit of job movement.

How much is too much? And how many jobs should you have by the end of your marketing career? How could your frequent moves be hurting your career and job search? Often, it’s the elephant in the room that’s not addressed. Today we’re going to talk about it.

If you’re in the boat of having had more than two jobs in the past four years, you need to have really solid reasons to back it up.Here’s what works, straight from hiring managers – we’ve worked with thousands of them…

  • Be honest.If you’re direct about why you’ve made so many transitions, managers respond well to that. No one wants someone who’s going to stumble through excuses for switching jobs.If it was because of a terrible environment, voice that in a respectful way. If you dealt with workplace abuse, discretely share that. You don’t need to go into detail.Managers are often very intuitive people who can sense when you’re not telling the full truth, so the biggest tip I can give you is to be honest, even if it’s not pretty. You can’t get a job based on half-truths – it will set you up for failure.

  • Highlight your ambition.A positive reason to leave a job is because you’re not being challenged enough. If this is true for you, highlight that in your cover letter and interview. Give specific, tangible reasons why you weren’t feeling inspired at the job anymore, and exactly why you chose your next company and how it filled that desire to do and be more.

  • Emphasize your longer-term jobs.If you’ve worked for six companies and were at two of them for 4+ years each and the other four for less than a year, you may want to focus on providing more detail around the positions you held for a longer period of time.

  • Highlight the most positive and applicable aspects of your career based on the role you’re applying for. Determine what accomplishments the hiring manager would be most interested in based on what the company and specific team is looking to achieve. Highlight your relevant wins using metrics – numbers translate well, especially when you’ve worked many jobs and need to illustrate your track record.

    Although there are solid reasons to make frequent career changes, there are some hard limits. If you’ve had six jobsin six years, for example, it’s time to do some self-reflecting.Ask yourself these questions…

  • Are you choosing the wrong organizations?

  • The wrong positions? Why or why not?

  • Are you consistently underperforming?

  • Have you joined three startups consecutively that have all run out of funding?

  • What’s your approach to evaluating company stability?

  • When you work for three consecutive companies who close their doors, it starts to become a reflection of your decision making, and potentially, of your inability to impact growth. Yes, that might come across as tough love, but it’s simply an opportunity for you to evaluate your strengths and decision making skills.Find a role that allows you to grow over time, and a company where you won’t get bored after one year. Choose a place where you can evolve, share your gifts, and consistently be challenged.One of the primary reasons top performers leave a job is because they don’t feel challenged, so pinpoint organizations where you see a tremendous amount of opportunity for long-term professional growth, and pursue them whole-heartedly.You can probe on this in interviews by asking hiring managers where they see you in 1-3 years, if you were hired. What trajectory do they have in mind for you? What’s their vision? You can share yours too, of course, but it’s very valuable to know whether they see you simply filling a role, or becoming an integral part of the team long-term.

    Have you made a lot of career transitions in your life? Are you currently making a transition? If so, how are you positioning your resume to highlight the great work you’ve done? Email us at info@talentfoot.com aswe would love to hear from you.