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In the past, I was unfortunate enough to end up working with recruiters who sold my CV to people who were looking for a full stack developer, even though my CV shows that I only have front end experience. So, I ended up in a job I was unfit for, since I had very little experience with back end development. The result was, I was hired only to be fired in few months' time.

I also must admit that I have not updated or sharpened my skills in a while, and I have lost some jobs because of it. But now, I am getting questions about why those jobs were so short. I was told by people laying me off that reason for my leaving could be explained as "It was contract related," but some people might not buy it and it is technically not the truth.

I have some concerns about my approach to this problem:

  1. If I say I wasn't a good fit, then the question would be "Were all 3 roles in the year not a good fit for you?"
  2. How good are you really? Given my 10 years I haven't been very fast and up to date, so why hire me and take a risk?
  3. What if my next role is short too, that add another painfully short entry to my CV?

How can I justify my short roles?

13
  1. Be honest. You took bad advice from recruiters, acknowledge this but also demonstrate that you've learned and that you know better.
  2. Be honest. Speak only to your strengths. "Knowledge of" means just that. If asked about it on an interview, say that you have some familiarity, but are not skilled
  3. Be honest. Be ready to speak plainly and in a matter of fact about your difficulties, but put them in the context of what you have learned from them.
  4. Anticipate questions and be ready for them

    Well, it's fairly obvious that you've made some bad descisions, why should I hire you? I've learned from my mistakes and know what my strengths are, where I'm weak, and when to ask for help If I find myself out of my area of expertise

  5. FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS You hit a rough patch, but you have a work history before these bumps. Focus on what you did on the older jobs and how you were good there. Downplay the quick changes as a brief period where you tried to expand, but went too far.

  6. Use the short gaps to your advantage

    Yes, I had a short string of companies that were bad fits. What I've learned from that is exactly what a bad fit is, and why I am a good fit for your company and how I can be of benefit to you.

  7. Get off the subject quickly, and focus on the opportunity

    Yeah, that was a rough patch, but I'm through it, and that's why I'm excited by this opportunity with your company.

  8. The "That's exactly why" approach.

    Yes, I did have some jobs that were bad fits, which is exactly why I'm a good fit for this job. I have carefully researched your company, and the role, and made sure, before applying that I knew I would be a perfect fit for this role.

Anyone can have a run of bad luck. Just don't let it hold you back.

GOOD LUCK!

  • additionally, be frank about the fact that it wasn't a good fit. Most hiring managers look at less than a 6 month stint as being caused by one of two things: a bad match (which is fine) or a bad candidate (which is bad for you). Make sure they see it as the former, and that you did everything within reason to make it work. – Marshall Tigerus Jun 8 '18 at 20:49
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I don't condone lying during the interview process. Stop that. You're only hurting yourself.

If your previous positions weren't contract, you shouldn't say they were. Since you are more of a front-end developer skills wise, you should pursue front-end developer positions. You could say the other positions weren't a good fit, because they were looking for more full stack and you are specialized to front-end. I recommend focusing on the skills you have now and how it relates to the role rather than explaining the gaps in your resume.

  • 1
    This - particularly as about the one thing that any company will be prepared to confirm if asked for a reference is whether you were hired as a permanent employee or a contractor. – Philip Kendall Jun 5 '18 at 19:53
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+100

I wouldn't worry too much about gaps or short term jobs. I've had a similar year where early in the year my contract came to its natural end, so I was out of work, I then took 3 months off to refresh myself. After that I was hired to a new company and 2 months later our project budget was cut and I was out. Finally, to fill the gap at the end of the year, I took a contract that I knew only had a 6 week duration (they were burning money at the end of the year). So on paper that year looked really spotty, but I went into interviews with confidence and explained anything they asked (most didn't even ask) and had a new position pretty quickly. Don't apologize for the short term jobs or act like you've done something wrong, just be honest with as few words as possible and act like its normal.

Do NOT lie and if possible do not blame it on the recruiters other than a possible miscommunication between them and the client about the requirements for the job.

I have to ask though, why are you boxing yourself in as a "front end" developer. Yes, you might not be experienced with the tools used on other parts of a project, but you should use that as an opportunity to increase your skill set and make yourself more marketable. I hate the term "Full stack", I prefer "versatile", but whatever you call it, the more skills you have the better off you are.

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First, I really liked Crossed the river styx answer which directly answers your question. But I'm going to take a different approach.

Are you passionate about what you do?

You need to figure out why you are not keeping your skills up to date. The further you slip behind, the harder it is going to be to be to keep your job. So maybe you need to seriously consider, do I really want to spend roughly 260 days a year doing this for the rest of my life?

I generally like what I do, but I feel stuck and I'm not challenged

Do your best at the job you have. In the mean time start seriously looking for positions that offer challenges to keep you interested and operating at peek level.

I hate what I do and I want to do something else

This may also be a valid response. Figure out what you're passionate about and go do that. If you're having a hard time doing that I recommend you really start evaluating yourself. Figure out who you are, what you love, what kinds of things motivate you. Start there and work your way up until you find the kind of work that matches. There are many self-help tools and books like specialized personality tests that can help match you to the right kinds of work.

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