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How to camouflage having had too many jobs

be strategic in your job search, strategic job search,
Does it look like you have had too many jobs on your resume? Camouflage the problem. Here’s how:

1) Leave off early or irrelevant work experience from 15 or more years ago, particularly if more recent jobs replicate many of the same job duties and accomplishments. Doing so will help you have fewer overall job listings.

2) Combine multiple jobs from the same company into one entry under the most recent job title and include your overall years of employment to the far right. Use brief bulleted points at the bottom of the entry to explain earlier titles at the same organization and put the years that you held the earlier position(s) in parentheses immediately after the text (not to the far right).

Pendulum University, Pendulum, CA (A liberal arts university)                                                
Director of Admissions ............................................................ 2001-2013                                                                                                                       

  • Directed blah, blah, blah (2006-2013)
  • Handled blah, blah, blah
  • Served as the University’s Manager of Admissions (2004-2006)
  • Served as the University’s Coordinator of Admissions (2001-2004)

3) Lump multiple short-term jobs under one job listing (particularly contract, temporary and regrettably short permanent hire jobs). Mention skills that helped you perform the duties.

Marketing Communications Specialist (for various)
Contract/Temporary/Hired positions ........................................... 

  • Directed such and such for XYZ Corp. (contract - 2012-2013)
  • Led blah, blah, blah for ABC Inc. (temporary – 2011-2012)
  • Managed such and such for LMNOP.com (2009-2011)
  • Abilities employed in the pursuit of these duties include project management, excellent written and verbal communications, database management, and public speaking.

4) Leave off the months of employment on your resume (and just include the years) if it can help you cover a multi-month gap. 

For example, if you left a position in January 2011, put “2011” as your end date. By doing so, hiring companies may assume you worked there through December. (Note: You may need to include the more complete date on online forms).

BONUS TIP! Remove the months from your LinkedIn Experience (work history) section listings by leaving the month drop down menu on "Choose" rather than selecting a month for beginning and ending employment dates. This image shows you what I mean:

LinkedIn work experience, leave months blank in LinkedIn experience section, camouflage having had too many jobs,
To fill a time gap in your LinkedIn experience section, keep the month box set on Choose.

5) Remove a job listing where you worked less than a year if you also worked elsewhere during that same year. Why? If you’ve modified your resume to just list the year for each entry, there is no need to list the other too-short position.

6) Explain briefly and positively the reason you left a company right on your resume. This can help recruiters see that you are not a compulsive job hopper or serial failure.

Examples to explain job loss: 
“Part of a 25% staff reduction.” 
“Company closed.” 
"Company was acquired and the entire staff was let go.” 
“New director elected to hire his own person.” 
"Company sold three times. Left for a more stable opportunity.” 
“Entire division was disbanded.” 
“Product line was discontinued and staff dismissed.”

7) Make your gap-filling volunteer work look more like a real job by moving the word “volunteer” from the job title and adding it into a bullet point listing within the job duties where it will be less noticeable. 

Likewise, make sporadic consulting work you’ve performed look more like a continous job by using the job title that you want (and performed) instead of an overstated title like “Owner, “Founder,”  or “Principal”. (Companies are leery of hiring owners fearing that their loyalties will be divided between their own company and the new position and because they wonder why a supposedly successful business owner wants a job).

8) If you worked someplace for a very short time and its inclusion on your resume could hurt more than help you, leave it off. Better to explain the gap than why you washed out of a job very quickly.

Don’t let the appearance of too many jobs keep you from the jobs that you want! Camouflage the problem! -- Kathy

What tips or comments do you have about camouflaging problematic portions of you work history? Share them! 


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