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A good portion of my work history in software development thus far has been mostly short term contracts.

I saw a good post on how to present that on a resume and I am currently working on it.

How should I present that in an interview. For example, questions that say things like, "oh I see you only did three months here?" You know, with that tone of like, what is that all about are you an inconsistent employee?

Would tweaking my resume according to this post: Two approaches to adding freelance/contract work to resume be enough? We humans are so unique and usually candidates are looked at as guilty of misrepresenting themselves until they prove otherwise, so my thoughts are just the tweaking of the resume would not be enough.

How do I dis-spell those concerns I guess is the real question.

  • Why can't you say you've been doing freelance/contractor work for most of your career and looking into a stable job? – Dan Dec 20 '18 at 20:25
  • @Dan - in my experience, an answer that simple isn't always well received because it sounds like you're just saying what they want to hear. If instead you go a little deeper and show that you have some thoughtful (real) reasons for wanting to make the change, it is often more believable.You don't have to pour your heart out but giving at least a sentence or two more seems effective. – dwizum Dec 20 '18 at 20:51
  • You don't tell us that you are now applying for a permanent position, but I assume so, as this would be a non-issue if applying for another contract. Could you please update the question to clarify? Thanks – Mawg says reinstate Monica Dec 21 '18 at 8:02
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    @dwizum I agree. Unfortunately I can't add anything else to my comment since I know nothing about the personal experiences of the OP nor is it confirmed he's looking for a stable job. – Dan Dec 21 '18 at 13:35
  • @Dan, keep reading the rest of the comments below. – Daniel Dec 21 '18 at 13:43
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You address their concerns by addressing the (hopefully incorrect) root of their concerns.

People see a work history and they draw conclusions. A work history of mostly short gigs can present itself as if you're a job hopper. Employers looking for long term employees don't like that, since it makes them think they may lose you quickly. When in reality, there may be a good reason for your job hopping, and you may be at a turning point in your career where you're looking to stop doing short consulting gigs and settle down with a longer-term role.

So - you need to prepare for the inevitable interview questions by asking yourself: Why are you switching career styles? Why do you want to go from short term gigs to a long term role? If you're able to give an honest answer for that, you'll diffuse their concerns.

I can relate, as the first 10-15 years of my career were mostly short consulting gigs. I had reached a point then where I wanted to settle down. Short term engagements can be exciting - consultants are usually brought in because of change, or big projects, or other high-energy situations. However, you don't get to see the long-term rewards of strategy, when you're only ever engaged for a short, specific deliverable. That's why I wanted to switch - I wanted the opportunity to embed myself in a company's culture and strategy and help them in the long term.

When asked in interviews, I simply explained that. I've hired ex-consultants a few times since, and often received similar answers. Other times, people explained that the constant moving or traveling of consulting was wearing them out. Other people said they'd always been looking for long term employment, and were using consulting as a way to pay the bills while they took the opportunity to be choosy about the employer they ultimately settled with.

Regardless of the answer you give, it will be received based on it's honesty, and it's alignment with what the company is looking for. If they're looking for a long term employee, you need an answer that shows that you recognize that and you're both prepared and interested in doing that type of role with them.

You can take this a step further and show to your potential employer why consulting has put you in a good position to evaluate and select a long term employment role compared to other candidates. Consulting exposes you to a wide range of companies - and their policies, behaviors, standards, processes, industries, and cultures - in a short period of time. Consultants have to be good at learning and adapting quickly which are qualities any employer would like. Consultants have seen enough of the employment landscape that they're well suited for evaluating their fitness into a specific environment compared with someone who's worked at the same place, in the same style, for a long time. You don't want to ramble on, but it's good to have thoughts like this ready to go for when the conversation does come up.

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    How what an outstanding answer! I actually fit the latter category of I just needed to pay bills and short term gigs seem to be there for that. Or more specifically, the short term roles were usually remote roles which is my preferred working environment. Thank you so much. – Daniel Dec 20 '18 at 20:24
  • I totally concur. After a few decades of contracting, I wavered last year and applied for a permanent poising. When asked, I just said that it's time to settle down, which they accepted and offered me the position at 50% over their offer price. Fortunately, I came to my senses and went back to contracting. After doing it for so long, I am not temperamentally suited for permanent employment :-) – Mawg says reinstate Monica Dec 21 '18 at 8:05
  • I bounced in and out of a "permanent" role at one point too, realizing it wasn't quite right for me to switch at that point. The good thing about consulting is, it exposes you to a lot of different environments, processes, industries, and cultures in a short period of time. This leaves you able to quickly navigate a new environment, and it leaves you with a good understanding of the kind of environment you're a good fit for. @Daniel, thoughts along those lines are worth explaining in an interview, too - I'm going to edit that sentence back into the answer now. – dwizum Dec 21 '18 at 11:30
  • @dwizum, I am wondering if you have an answer for this new question of mine: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/125177/… – Daniel Dec 22 '18 at 6:24

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