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3 resume queries that I get on repeat

How to explain job hopping in your CV? Worried about job hopping? Or maybe you are wondering how to explain career gaps in your resume? Or maybe you are wondering what the ideal resume length is. If this is you, read on because these are the three questions that I get asked on repeat when working with clients on their resumes and interview preparations.

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How to explain job hopping in your resume or interview?

If you are worried about job hopping, and you think that you have switched jobs too many times, what you can do is drop the month and just put yours on your CV. For example, if you have worked in Deloitte from July 2016, to January 2017, you could just mention 2016 to 2017. However, this is not really necessary if you have spent 2-3 years in each job. I love people who are candid about their job changes. And if there's a good reason, most hiring managers do not care. Of course it raises an eye-brow when it becomes 5 job changes in 2 years, and if this is the case, I highly recommend sticking out in your next job and doing the research before you land there rather than quit in 6 months. If you need help to think through, you can find my free Career Change Blueprint here.

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How to explain career gaps or career breaks?

If you are wondering about holes in your resume because of career breaks, or sabbaticals, know that most modern employers do not care. Some might ask you, because they want to be sure that you have not killed or robbed, but frankly they don't care- it’s just a good talking point. In fact, when people take some time out for self development, it's refreshing.

In fact, I had a six months break in my career. And that's not stopped me from being a good enough candidate for McKinsey or Microsoft, Google or Bain, Facebook or BCG. So what I'd say is, as long as you have a story, it doesn't really matter. For me, I talk about it a lot because that's the time when I went traveling, I learned how to paint, I directed a couple of short films, and that always opens up interesting conversations. Being memorable is all about these sorts of things- so own your career break and do not worry about it. I have a whole article to give you more ideas on navigating career breaks here.

What is the ideal resume length?

Moment of truth- I do not like long resumes. In fact, I know quite a lot of people seem to think that if you have 15 years, 20 years, 25 years of work experience, you can have more pages on your resume. I do not agree, unless you are an academic. Because the more the number of pages on your resume, the more you are perceived as a lazy communicator. And in fact, I'd argue that if you have multiple years of work experience in the corporate world, you need to be showing crisp, top notch communication skills, which is probably why you are being hired in the first place. If you are not coming across as a precise communicator through your resume, forget about the rest because you will very likely be dinged right away. Don't be that boring person with a 10 page CV. Check out all of the resume best practices here.

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1 Comment

Sherifat Akintunde-Shitu
Sherifat Akintunde-Shitu
Jun 14, 2021

For question one, I don't get asked this even though I hopped for the first few years of my career. That's largely because I have a story that clearly shows the hopping was necessary without calling it hopping. I start interviews with sharing what my career goal an plan was leaving university, how the different jobs contributed to that goal and what decision points were necessary along the line.

For 2. Totally agree with you. You need to have a story for the gaps. Were you planning a career change, did you take time off to learn something new? If it was as a result of a redundancy, what did you do with that gap? How could that gap hav…

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