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Currently I'm in somewhat of a conundrum.

I'm a British software engineer who performs fairly decently in his job. I've got some interesting accomplishments on my CV and the like. I say that because I want to highlight off the bat that my short job stints aren't to do with poor performance or anything like that.

My first software engineering role was in a company in the travel industry which lost about half its staff in April 2020 because of the crisis. I was included in that. I finished that job with about 1 year 5 months of experience.

After that I had a two month break and picked up a job abroad. It's a country fairly close to the UK. The thinking at the time was that Corona would be a fairly short term thing, and that within 6 months or so I'd be able to fly to and from my home on the weekends, where I'd be able to see friends, family and girlfriend.

Obviously living over here is difficult. My home country is still locked down, so I'm maintaining my relationship and friendships via the internet, but I think the UK is going to start to open up again soon.

The UK is going to start opening to flights in May, but where I'm currently living may require a vaccine passport to enter, and given my age bracket I may not get a vaccine until maybe November or December. Of course in order to go frequently between countries, it takes two to tango.

So, I would like to come home! That is the simple part. I feel like I could quite confidently explain all of that in an interview. It's Corona after all, everyone has had difficulty with it. I would have about 9 months of experience if I left my job today. Not a disaster imo.

However, my girlfriend is a nanny, and the family she is working for are considering moving for a year to New York in around Jan/Feb 2022. I would like to join them out there for a bit. Maybe for a year or so. I would have a job in the UK for 10 months or so before joining them.

How difficult would it be to explain this in an interview? My CV would look something like:

Job 1: 1 year 5 months

Job 2: 9-11 months

Job 3: 9-12 months

Are the exceptional times and the circumstances above a good legitimate reason for the shorter job stints? How would this look in a resume, and how would this play in an interview? Any cultural differences to consider between London and New York? Cheers.

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  • Welcome new user. Your cv is completely normal / uninteresting! It would look completely normal to any US programmer. By the way, are you aware it is incredibly hard to get a visa to work in the US? (It's basically impossible independently, and on US company will bother getting you a visa unless you're baiscally an elite/world-famous leader in some niche) .. ??
    – Fattie
    Mar 1 '21 at 18:45
  • Thanks that's good to hear that my CV would look normal :) I have heard it's very difficult but I had hoped that it was at least possible. I haven't looked into it with a close enough eye I think. Mar 1 '21 at 19:18
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    I'm really sorry to bring you the bad news, but it's essentially impossible. (I am sorry, I assumed "everyone knew this!") It's the most difficult working visa to get on Earth.
    – Fattie
    Mar 1 '21 at 19:31
  • Is there a possibility where you move back to the UK and work 'remotely' for your current company? That way Job 3 doesn't need to exist, if you see what I mean, and you'd have almost 2 years in Job 2. Mar 1 '21 at 19:33
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    just going back to the notion of "living in NY" for a year. the only possible routes I can see are (A) you mention your current company is a big successful semidtr company. maybe miraculously if you plain asked them, they would have you work in NY for a year?! (and organize the visa etc). (B) is your girlfriend in fact a US citizen, if so marry her and (with a huge effort and considerable expense) you may be able to live there; {if she is UK citizen, I'm not certain but it's incredibly unlikely her US visa for being a nanny, will, allow a spouse to live there}
    – Fattie
    Mar 1 '21 at 19:35
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Are the exceptional times and the circumstances above a good legitimate reason for the shorter job stints? How would this look in a resume, and how > would this play in an interview?

In normal circumstance I would say your resume reads like a job hopper, but these are not normal times.

If the company reviewing your credentials have any brains at all they will clearly see you had some experience working in a heavily impacted segment (travel) so most companies will overlook this all together or will not weigh the factor so heavily.

Any cultural differences to consider between London and New York?

This part of your question is very subjective, but in general I would say no. Companies on both sides of the pond want a good fit cultural and talent wise.

On another note, I might suggest you look at contracting opportunities as most companies who hire direct aren't going to want to invest in the ramp up time for an employee who may leave in around a year or so. Being a contractor will help remedy this concern.

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  • Thanks, that's good to hear. To clarify, my current company isn't in travel, it's in semiconductors, which are doing incredibly well. I was unfortunately forced to leave my last company due to market circumstances affected by corona, and I would leave this company due to social circumstances, since I am unable to see family and girlfriend. That may sound a little weak, but my dad previously had corona and was in a serious condition. He is fine now, but I want to be near family during these times, and I will want to be near my girlfriend next year. Hopefully that's reasonable Mar 1 '21 at 18:21
  • I feel it's strange to describe this as job-hopping, remember this is in software engineering. Essentially, one year is the "normal job length". Particularly for newer programmers.
    – Fattie
    Mar 1 '21 at 18:46
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    @Fattie Let's agree to disagree. In my experience, pre covid, this would indeed be job hopping.
    – Neo
    Mar 1 '21 at 18:53
  • just regarding contracting, it's completely impossible for a (say) UK citizen to get a visa to "contract" in the US.
    – Fattie
    Mar 1 '21 at 19:32
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    @JoshViggiani I want to be near family during these times, and I will want to be near my girlfriend next year. Is it already a done deal that she is going to New York with them? Another option, that you didn't mention but I am just mentioning for completeness, is that she resigns (?) and finds another family to work for (either for the year, or ongoing)? (If you are at a point where you make decisions together as a couple like that.) From her perspective "my old family moved to NYC" must be a valid reason for leaving if asked. Mar 1 '21 at 19:42
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As far as presenting this on a CV, could you just list the years?

For example:

  • 2017-2019 ... Job.1
  • 2019-2020 ... Job.2
  • 2020-2021 ... Job.3

In terms of the short duration, be prepared to be asked whether you intend to continue this pattern. The answer they would be looking for is "I am looking for something more long term now". Try to be honest with yourself about this tho.

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    Yeah it's possible to do that of course. That would probably at least get me past the CV sorting algorithms and in front of a human where I can explain it. Thanks! Mar 1 '21 at 18:26

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