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I'm a contract software developer, and as such I've hopped from job to job as I do project work. Some projects have been three months long, and some have been up to three years long.

Also, due to family circumstances -- nursing my wife through cancer, then looking after the children after she re-started her own career (as well as a few well deserved long holidays) -- I've had some long career gaps, plus I'm in my mid-forties.

I have portrayed this honestly on my CV, but I am concerned that this may have an effect on making me a hire-able candidate. One of my concerns is that I would appear not to have "commitment" to any particular employer, but the vast bulk of my work over the last 15 years has been project based.

My skills are exemplary and very much up to date and bleeding edge in some circumstances.

What is the best way to display this on my resume and mitigate any negativity toward my "career breaks"?

Additional information.

How should I represent career gaps on a CV/Resume like from actual list below?

08/2011 - 07/2012 Tech Lead Contract

03/2011 - 08/2011 Nurse wife in remission Looked after children

01/2011 - 03/2011 Senior Developer Contract

07/2010 - 01/2011 Nursed Wife with stage 3c Cancer (Surgery,Chemo,Radiation) looked after children

06/2007 - 07/2010 Senior Lead Developer Contract

03/2007 - 06/2007 Software Developer Contract

12/2006 - 03/2007 Software Developer Contract

and so on and so forth.

I would prefer not to put any spin on the gaps or dress it up as something it's not.

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    Related/possible duplicate? workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/1263/… – Rarity May 13 '12 at 18:44
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    Hi @user793 - your question is pretty close to a duplicate of the one linked above. If you can edit your question so that it is different than the other -- perhaps focusing on how to positively present a lot of contract work rather than work in which you were a full-time employee of a particular company -- that would be great! Please feel free to ask in Meta or Chat about ways to edit. – jcmeloni May 13 '12 at 18:55
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    Being a contractor is a special case, and most employers will treat a contractor with lots of short contracts very differently than a salaried employee with lots of jobs. My advice is to put your contracting work under one heading, with either the contracting house or "self employed" and list the contracts as bullets. This also helps deal with gaps in the period you were a contractor. – Gort the Robot May 14 '12 at 2:40
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    I do not agree that this is close to the quoted question. Nursing his wife can emphasizes his social skills. These reasons are totally different; therefore an answer will be different. – Markus May 14 '12 at 8:45
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    @Markus It is true that the other question emphasized the "negative" reasons for hops while this question includes "positive" reasons. However, and unfortunately, the fact is that none of that really matters when a resume is being reviewed -- only the representation of blocks of time. Therefore, the question of "looking like I'm job hopping" isn't materially different than the other. – jcmeloni May 14 '12 at 12:12
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This kind of resume picture is NORMAL for contract engineers, not just software contract engineers.

As long as your resume indicates that these were contract jobs, you're fine. Hiring managers and recruiters understand that contract work lasts only until the job is done, and contractors tend to have holes like this. (If the recruiter or manager doesn't understand this, you don't want anything to do with him/her, anyway.) My late father had a LOT of short-term jobs on his resume, as well as several long gigs.

As long as you have a pattern of success, of getting the job done to everyone's satisfaction, the fact that you have a pattern like this demonstrates adaptability and the ability to hit the ground running. These are Good Things.

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    +1 For stating contract jobs as such. A simple "Software Engineer (contract)" in the line item entry typically alleviates the short-term work issues. – jcmeloni May 14 '12 at 12:13
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    But is it necessary to state family matters in the resume? In the OP's instance he nursed his wife. – Spoike Jun 20 '12 at 10:48
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    @Spoike it is also a 6-month time period where he was not working. i feel like it should be mentioned, if not in the resume at least at the interview. – acolyte Jun 20 '12 at 13:20
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    Would this be OK for people who don't work on contract or as a freelancer? – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jul 16 '12 at 15:46
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As a contractor, you're expected to have gaps in your resume where you were finding new jobs or taking vacations. If your concerned you could create a contracting company, and list activities such as acquiring new clients and presenting at meetups to fill the gaps.

If you're really concerned, there are usually several recruiters at every meetup I've ever attended (they are the ones not wearing jeans). Talk with them, and they should be able to point you to companies that will not be bothered by the resume gaps since you were a contractor.

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