Did you know that the average American stays at one job for 4 years? A 2018 federal study also revealed that the typical American switches jobs anywhere between 10 to 15 times within their lifetime. 

And even that estimate may increase now. Over 4 million Americans abruptly quit their jobs in April 2021 to pursue personal career ambitions. Still, taking professional and frequent career leaps into the unknown can leave behind a gap-ridden resume. So, how to explain job hopping in an interview?

Suppose you are lucky enough to get an interview with a job hopping past. Congratulations! That means that your interviewer sees potential in your skills. 

However, don’t take it for granted that they won’t have multiple questions about your job hopping past.

Why You Must Explain Job Hopping in an Interview

You should explain job hopping in an interview to banish any second thoughts about your qualifications.

Whatever the reasons, a job hopping past could reflect negatively on you. The potential employer may have concerns about your patience, time management skills, or work ethic.

A job hopping past could also indicate anti-social behavior and an inability to get along with others.

Job hopping could also be an indication that you possess suspect career skills. Or that you are a jack of all trades but master of none.

A potential employer may not know what to think if they see job hopping in your work history. 

So, remove all doubt and show them who you really are in an interview. Start with strategic preparation. 

Make the Most of Prep Time

Are you a comic book fan? In the world of comics, Batman is just a regular human being with no powers. However, there is a faction of fans who believe that if you give Batman an advantage of a week, month, or year to prepare for a fight with a super-powered being strategically, Batman will win.

Many comic book fans believe that “prep time” is a superpower that enables Batman always to win.

It’s a silly concept. But you can use prep time to your advantage to explain job hopping in an interview.

Get your life career story straight. Don’t respond to a question with an elongated “uh,” or a panicked, baffled, and silent expression. 

Whatever you do, don’t lie. Be completely honest.

Being unable to explain job hopping in an interview will make you and the interviewer awkwardly uncomfortable.

And that won’t benefit anyone.

Over-analyze your resume and cover letter and study your history. Make a list of potential questions you may be asked about your job hopping. Develop contingency answers. Conduct several mock interviews with a friend.

You should be able to predict potential questions about your job hopping. Prepare as many contingency answers as possible.

Don’t Criticize Former Employers

You have to own your job hopping past. So, don’t bad-mouth former employers. And don’t try to blame them to explain job hopping in an interview.

It won’t reflect well on you and will only create more doubt for your interviewer about your suitability for the position.

Career Advancement

You could say that you previously job-hopped to advance your career, learn new skills, or gain new certifications. 

Portray your former job history as a professional journey to expand your working skills. And you could also say that experience has made you more adaptable to challenges.

Better Work Opportunities

You could explain job hopping in an interview by saying that you took advantage of a better employment opportunity that presented itself.

Your interviewer should understand and relate to that answer. But now you must assure them that you aren’t just going to leave in six months if they offer you a position.

Explain that you are looking for a long-term position to make the most of all the career skills you have attained. Also, explain what specific career skills you can now transfer in this position to benefit your potential employer.

Explain job hopping in an interview as a personal life theme of career self-improvement.

Sick Family Member

Taking care of a seriously ill family member is a highly personal and stressful thing to deal with. 

It’s also an intensely private matter for many people. Caring for a family member who is seriously or terminally ill may not be something that you want to discuss with strangers. 

However, you should be completely honest about it to explain job hopping in an interview. It will evoke professional sympathy for your plight. Additionally, it will show that you are able to work professionally and look for work under stressful circumstances.

You could explain that you had to change jobs often, stay at home for extended periods, care for a loved one, or shuttle them between medical treatments.

Again, remember to be honest. Such information can be easily vetted.

Spouse’s Career Advancement

Job hopping in a resume can sometimes be explained by your spouse’s career advancements.

You may job hopped as per the professional demands of a spouse with a high-power and high-paying job. If this is the case, thoroughly explain the circumstances to your interviewer.

The Pandemic

Tens of millions of Americans were involuntarily unemployed after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to some experts, up to 70 million Americans were involuntarily unemployed in 2021. And that estimate is probably comparable to unemployment statistics during the Great Depression, relatively speaking.

If you have been out of work for the past 16 months due to being designated a “nonessential” employee, tell your interviewer. But don’t lie – such information can be easily verified.

Explain Job Hopping in an Interview

A job hopping past could create a lot of potential doubt and questions for an interviewer.

Prepare for the interview. Study every aspect of your resume and prepare contingency answers. Be honest. 

And develop a theme to explain away your job hopping as a way to gain more skills, find better work, or expand professional horizons.

Your job hopping past can be portrayed in a positive and enlightening manner. Strategize how to do so before your interview.

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