Job-hoppers – Waste of Time or Secret Ideal Candidates?

I usually dislike labels in general, but Job-hopper… rarely have a I met a label quite so lethal as that.

I believed I was doing the right thing, taking chances, seeing the world, learning about myself and other countries, cultures, ways of life.  I gained so much.  And now I am afraid I have lost just as much.  These last couple of months I have heard a new word, far too many times – Job-hopper.  Job-hoppers are despised by employers, feared, looked down on, sneered at, whispered about behind their backs, plotted against at morning meetings…  Okay okay, so that may be a bit extreme, but carrying the label, as I now know I do, is making my job search miserable.  The part I hate the worst is that I am NOT a Job-hopper, I just look like one on paper.

Remember those dreaded resumes I ranted about?  They are the only way to get yourself in front of hiring teams these days it seems (yet another post), and as I mentioned, I look terrible on paper.  I look like a job-hopper.  I am a traveler, I believe in unconventional education and the value of knowing oneself and how to work with people of various ages, backgrounds, personalities, etc.  I know for a fact that employers value those things as well (hello cultural sensitivity in diverse communities!).  However, when writing a resume and following advice on including measurable results, not only is it very difficult to format travel and life experience in measurable results, but including the successes from previous jobs means my frequency of altering my geographical location is all too obvious.  Thus the dreaded J-H label.

Once a Job-hopper, always a Job-hopper seems to be the assumption. Though I understand that concern, having been in a hiring capacity myself,  I also wonder how one is expected to stop the hopping when one is not given a chance at a great position because of the quick assumptions made by glancing at an online application.  Having been a hiring manager, I am also well aware that online job apps tell one Very little about the applicant’s actual ability to perform, let alone his or her personality and how he or she will fit with the team.  Quite a conundrum – how to sort through hundreds of applicants weeding out the potentials from the unsuitables.  And a conundrum for us applicants as well – how to get through the weeding process when you KNOW you would be awesome for THAT job.

I am ready for a career, to find a company I admire and feel good about being a part of, a place and team to which I can give my loyalty and utilize all the skills I have learned.  I work hard, I learn fast, and I am finally in a place (geographically) that I want to call home for a good long time.  But how How How HOW do I convince an employer of that when I can’t even get in the door to discuss it?????

How do we, those of us trying desperately to find success, to find a good job, a job worthy of the time and effort we have put into learning how to be successful assets in the workplace, how do we avoid that Job-hopper label?  How do we avoid it when we must work in cafes and restaurants and retail and front offices just to pay the bills while we search for our careers? How do we avoid it when we are supposed to be multi-cultural, immensely skilled in a variety of functions, and know we are in the right place where we can grow and be happy, giving all that a satisfied employee can give to her team?  I think maybe job-hoppers are the secret ideal candidates.  Now how do I convince employers to ask hoppers why they hop? I wish they would ask me.


2 thoughts on “Job-hoppers – Waste of Time or Secret Ideal Candidates?

  1. You make some very valid points – many people do some exploring in life, and they are much more well-rounded in the end because of it. Interestingly, I’m in a similar spot, although later in life, as I’m re-entering the job market after some years in which I was mainly a stay-at-home parent. So my recent job experience is a weird mish-mash of part-time jobs that have nothing to do with what I’m now looking to do. In recent interviews, some employers seem to see an eclectic background as a plus, others are concerned. Which jobs do you think are going to be be most interesting? Those looking for a peg to fit their hole, or those looking for a smart person who can rise to the challenge? I’m guessing the latter.

    FYI, I’ve been blogging about my job search, too:

    • I absolutely think the jobs that are open minded and looking for a great person, not just a great resume to fit their needs will be the most interesting jobs. I understand the difficult role of a hiring manager, but someone who can look “outside the box” will most likely value an employee that can bring not only experience but a fresh perspective to a position.

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