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About one year ago I started working at a software development consulting company. Since then I have had many engagements and my resume is growing (length-wise) at a rapid rate. I have just quit my job at the consulting company and have started taking on engagements independently. Due to this, I expect my resume to continue to grow at a similiar rate. I am concerned that at first glance it looks like I am a fickle "job hopper".

My question is what is the most efficient way to list these experiences without creating the impression that I am "job hopping". Should I list just the consulting companies name? Should I list just engagement opportunities? What I am looking for is some points of view of the various options.

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The ones for the consulting company are easy: you were their employee, so you can treat it as one job, and in the description you describe the most-significant assignments. You don't have to list all of them, just like you don't list every duty you performed for a regular job. In addition to being more compact, this is also clearer -- you don't represent yourself as having been employed by people who may not have chosen you (they just took the person your company sent).

For independent consulting I've seen two approaches on resumes: grouping them under "independent consulting" (or something similar) and proceeding as above, listing all the significant or long ones. (You can skip short boring ones if that doesn't create a gap.) Which approach you take depends on the number and length of the individual jobs; if you have a dozen one-week gigs then it'll look way better to group them, but if you've had two or three multi-month gigs you could go either way.

Think of it this way: for each entry you're going to want to have a reasonably-sized description. Which approach sells you better? Are the jobs varied and individually interesting (so you have something to say about each), or are they all "same old, same old" (and then I built a similar web site for these guys, and then those guys...)?

  • Thanks for your input, this very helpful! The reason I am asking is most consultants I know list (including myself) list all of the engagements being that they generally last 3-12 months so they are all fairly significant and can differ greatly. What I am taking away from your answer is if in the future I find my resume cluttered I can remove the individual contracts from the consulting company I worked for and highlight the independent contracts. – marteljn Apr 2 '14 at 18:14
  • Whether the projects are through the consulting company or your own freelancing, you should be guided by how long and significant the work was. If you did a few 6-months projects that's different from doing a bunch of 2-week ones. Was the company sending you on a bunch of shorter assignments? (I'm getting that impression from your comment.) – Monica Cellio Apr 2 '14 at 18:17
  • No not at all, all assigments were 3 months or greater. What I am trying to determine is a balance between the value of each individual assignment versus the appearance that I am purposely leaving jobs every 3 months. This is not necessarily a problem, I am just interested in the opinions of others with whom I do not normally converse. – marteljn Apr 2 '14 at 18:24
  • It's not wrong to group them, so if you're uncomfortable with the number/duration of entries I would do that. I've never seen that raise alarms. – Monica Cellio Apr 2 '14 at 18:27
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I would list the consulting company, and 3 or 4 bullet points representing the work you did there. Then I would list Independent Consultant for the time period that you were not working with the consulting company, and then bullet points for some of the projects you worked on while independent.

That layout wouldn't raise any eyebrows from me if I saw it on a resume.

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