I am an Application Developer applying to jobs. Would you throw my resume out if you saw that I had 5 jobs in the last 4.5 years with the longest being 1.5 yrs?

The back story on this is that I moved a lot because these jobs were while I was in college. I was able to move up very quickly by changing jobs. However, I do not want a recruiter to be thinking about this because these were all full-time jobs (back to back) and perfectly legitimate experience. However, by listing them, I'm afraid my resume will get tossed because they will think I just hop jobs every year.

My only saving grace is that I am not looking to leave my current job because I don't like it. I am trying to move out of state. I stated in my summary that I am looking to relocate. My hope is that most people are not too shocked by this because it seems fairly common in IT.

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    "My only saving grace is that I am not looking to leave my current job because I don't like it. I am trying to move out of state." - I think the issue hiring managers are probably thinking about is risk of their employees leaving. The motivation of why you leave is not as important. Suppose you start, get trained and have months-1 year experience and then suddenly say "Hey, I love the job here and everything, but it's time for me to move on to another place!" That's just no good for them. – Brandin Sep 22 '15 at 7:51
  • 5 jobs in 4.5 years, plus you're not mentioning you just got out of college (I'd find that out in the interview).... I might not throw away the resume... but once I found out about the rest, there's zero chance I'd give you a job – Kilisi Sep 22 '15 at 10:47

Would you throw my resume out if you saw that I had 5 jobs in the last 4.5 years with the longest being 1.5 yrs?

Quote possibly.

As a hiring manager, I always want to hire folks who will be around for a while. This is important, since I invest a lot of time and money in people on my team - in salary, in benefits, and (particularly for new folks) in training. I'd like to think that these people will be around long enough that they come up to speed and thus pay back the investment.

If these were professional jobs (rather than just part-time or summer jobs while you were in college full-time) your background unfortunately shows a pattern that would make such an investment a waste of my time and money.

Given that, I might well throw out your resume, unless your positives far outweighed this negative.

That said, there are always exceptional circumstances. And certainly the specific needs of the hiring manager may outweigh the job-hooping your resume shows. Often, you can address just this point in a really good cover letter.

Show the hiring manager how great a fit you are, and indicate how you want your next job to be one that is a keeper.

Be prepared to address this issue during the interview process and explain how this time it will be different. And make sure you find a great fit before you accept a job, so that it will truly be different this time.

It only takes one manager who gives you a great job, to get you off the the many-jobs-in-a-few-years path.

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  • Based on what you said, it sounds like you think I would be better off, leaving the year I graduated on my resume and adding a great cover letter explaining my situation a bit, like I would normally do in an interview. Again, I'll note that I am only leaving this job because I would like to move my family to Denver. I do not typically submit a cover letter. So question is, do you think I'm shooting myself in the foot by leaving off a cover letter and the date of graduation? – Sam Sep 21 '15 at 19:47
  • I messaged you through your blog. I'd love if I could give you a couple more details about the situation. It's probably more than needs to be put on this question. – Sam Sep 21 '15 at 20:03
  • @Sam I feel like you could definitely address this in your cover letter, sell it as jobs you took to gain experience whilst studying part-time, and how now that you've graduated, you're looking to settle into a long-term role. – Carson63000 Sep 22 '15 at 1:32

I would say that if these jobs overlap your education you certainly have nothing to worry about.

Additionally given the way startups ramp up and then flame out, having this many jobs in a short period of time is not an issue.

The places you will have the most difficulty getting in the door are older stodgier places looking for people that don't want to ever leave. You don't really want to work in one of these places anyway.

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  • Great, thanks. I left the dates off of my education because I'm only 21 and don't want them to knock me when they see I only graduated last year but am applying to positions requiring 4 years exp. I'm not trying to lie or anything, but I think it increases my chances of getting an interview. I'm happy to explain the situation in person where I can give greater detail. – Sam Sep 21 '15 at 14:47
  • @sam leaving anything public (like education) off your resume or CV is a really bad idea. Most potential employers are going to do background checks and it's going to be a big red flag when they find out you just graduated and didn't even put your education on your resume. It may hurt you a bit, but IT is such a hot field i'm not sure it will hurt you heavily as long as your work was 'full time'. You might want to just clarify that briefly in your resume CV that these jobs were full time and student work was part time. Like: Twitter: Software Engineer (full time) – Bill Leeper Sep 21 '15 at 14:51
  • I do have my education on there. I just left the date which I graduated off. Do you think that is an issue? – Sam Sep 21 '15 at 14:57
  • @Sam generally speaking any time you try and game the interviewer or employer you are looking at, you are going to have a bad time. At some point this is going to come up, and you don't want it to happen at the wrong time. IMO it's best to not dance around things like this. Not having dates on education, especially recent education, is kind of a flag to me and would be more likely that I would pass over the resume, than the jobs thing. I would be asking myself, what is this person trying to hide? – Bill Leeper Sep 21 '15 at 21:15

At your age, and with being a college student, nobody expects you to have much of a job history. Don't worry about it. Some people work while in college, and some people don't. If you work, and you work in your chosen industry, that should give you a big advantage in a job search. So I would consider your situation to be mostly positive.

Frankly, I would consider that you have had any full-time jobs in the last 5 years to be the most shocking thing. You say you're 21, so you've been working full-time jobs since you were 16? There is an interesting story there, and I would definitely ask you about it.

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Yes. Some people will throw your resume out based on that. But you know what? Some people will ignore your resume because of the wrong font, if you have too many pages, too few pages, and where you went to school.

That's why it's important to gain perspective. You're not going to a prospective employer like Oliver Twist asking for "more". The employment relationship is two way and too many people forget that. Regardless of who initiates the prospective relationship, they're being evaluated for suitability as much as you are and that can't be stressed enough.

The point I'm making is that you don't want to work for someone who dismisses candidates on such a superficial criteria. When prospects do that, thank them in your mind and move on because they've just saved you from interviewing at a place that's too disinterested in the actual candidate to be of interest to you.

Acquiring employment is often a game of numbers. You have to keep trying until you find something. Just remember that the employer needs to suit you as well, not just the other way around and their hiring and talent acquisition practices can be a clue as to whether you would even want to work there.

Bottom Line: I don't want to work for someone who doesn't really want me and I'd rather know as soon as possible, including having my resume filed away permanently.

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