How To Explain A Short Employment Stint

What happens when you are applying for a new role, but you’ve not long been in your current role, or your CV has a number of short job stints. What should you do? Here are some tips:

Change the formatting of your resume: The first trick is to focus on your skills and achievements in your resume. The plan is to grab the employer’s attention with your great skills and play down the fact that there were some short stints in your work history. Also try grouping shorter stints together, leaving off some of the very short roles altogether and indicate when it was a contract or short-term role on the resume.

Be ready to tell the truth, but in a polished way: There are ways and means of telling the truth in an interview in a way that reflects positively on you. Even if you are leaving a job you dislike, it is best to say something positive about yourself without being directly negative about the company. Take responsibility for your career decision or circumstances and explain how the experience helped you grow.

Be proud, it’s the modern way: We are currently working in what is known as the ‘gig economy’ where people are trying their hands at multiple roles across shorter term contracts. This can be viewed in a positive light- where employees are seen as staying nimble and versatile, working across various roles and adapting to an ever-changing working environment.

Have an answer up your sleeve should you be asked about your job hopping: If you’re going to be asked about your tenure at the interview, then think of a plausible answer or two to use at the interview.

Some examples you could use include:

  • I want to deliver high quality work, but don’t have the opportunity where I am currently.
  • The company is in a state of change and that means that I can’t deliver on the projects as quickly as I would like to.
  • I prefer an environment that is focussed and committed where I can get behind the organisation I work for.
  • The job role wasn’t well defined and my skills weren’t being used. I’ve learned (explain what) from the role.
  • I’m looking for a position that is a better fit with my experience. The type of culture I thrive in is…
  • I was one of 150 employees made redundant as a result of a merger.
  • This job was short, but I learned A, B and C from it and accomplished X, Y and Z.
  • There’s not much to tell. The job had challenges and I accomplished a lot in my short time, but the fit wasn’t right.

Prepare for the interview: The more time you spend preparing your explanation the better. If possible, practice a mock interview situation where you’re asked these tricky questions.

Remember, look after yourself: Career Coaching expert Andy Agouridis explains, ‘Don’t let the fear of staying in a role for a short time force you to stay in a horrible role. Employers should understand that anyone may find themselves in a job that isn’t the best fit. If this is the case, feel free to move whenever you need to. If a minority of recruiters don’t like this, it’s their issue, not yours.’

Finally, you’re not the only person out there who has had short term jobs. Many employers understand that even great employees sometimes get made redundant or have taken a job that turned out not to be a perfect fit.

For anyone that is needing help with addressing short stints on their resume, then please get in touch to see how we can help you stand out from the crowd. We also offer career coaching and can work with you to help guide your career journey.


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