Do I Look Like a Job Hopper?

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter answers a question as to whether someone looks like a job hopper.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

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The premise is that the person is concerned that the resume makes them look like a job hopper. The question goes like this, “I’m a software developer with a job that I’ve had since college. 1.5 years. 4 years. 2 years. 3.5 years. 2.5 years. I’m a year into my latest gig and started to think about switching industries like from going from finance to tech. How bad does this look?”

Great question. I think there is a more complicated answer to this. Let me start with the premise that I have the idea that some of these might be consulting assignments. Where that is the case, you can aggregate dates into one combined area that shows that you are a consultant during that period. Let’s say the 2 years and the 3 1/2 years were as consultants, aggregate the dates there. The reason I have the idea is your choice of the word “gigs”or, “gig” for that last position . I have the idea from not that you might be a person who is been a consultant. If that’s the case, aggregate some of those dates to demonstrate clearly.

More important than a tactic, is the bigger picture. You are not talking about career progression. You’re talking about how over 10 years as a developer. If my math is right, for 14 1/2 years, you are talking about yourself being purely a developer; do not talking about being a lead. You not talk about being an architect and you’re not talking about being a manager. You talking about being a developer.

That may have been a conscious choice of yours but some employers of the start looking down on you because you haven’t progressed in your career. That may be a bigger issue for you. Why are you still a developer? Why are people not give you the opportunity to get ahead?

If you’ve always wanted to be a developer, that’s going to be a real easy question to deflect. You’re going to have to address in the cover letter.
Again, I don’t see these dates as being intrinsically wrong. I just think the bigger issue is that at some organizations, and organizations that like fast-track individuals, they’re not going to see you as being fast-track. There going to see you on the slow road.