You’ve had five jobs in as many years, and now fear that your kangaroo act has caught up with you. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Be it corporate trends such as downsizing or career growth opportunities that kept you hopping, jumping no longer carries the stigma it once did. Companies are aware that the volatile job market has displaced many people and that workers have found more creative forms of employment. “Contract employment is becoming more prevalent, and the rise of mergers and acquisitions and downsizing has actually made job jumping commonplace,” says Julia Hartman, author of Strategic Job Jumping: Fifty Very Smart Tactics for Building Your Career (Prima Publishing, $13). Nonetheless, some employers are on the defensive. Here’s how to counter their skepticism:
Bring up references.
Offer references who can vouch for your performance in spite of your short tenure. If you were a productive, results-oriented employee, they’ll be able to give tangible examples of your work.
Show your portfolio.
Seeing is believing. Compile awards, sales performance records and other pertinent documents in a professional-looking binder and present them during your interview.
Prove your worth.
“If you were hired by all those companies, then you must have had the skills to do the job,” says Hartman. In addition, you bring with you a broader industry perspective and numerous contacts that can benefit the organization.
“The companies most accepting of this are those that embrace change and are not very traditional,” says Hartman. “If the firm frowns on this type of strategy, you might not be happy there in the first place.”