Although more acceptable today than in recent decades, job hopping can still be a point of concern of hiring managers skimming your resume. It can make you stand out for all the wrong reasons, particularly here in Japan.
However, it is not inherently a disadvantage. With the right framing, a profile with many different professional experiences can be a strong application.
It’s all about how you frame it
Regardless of the reasons why you’ve taken short-term roles, you’ve got a breadth of experience that many other applications won’t, and that can be a very advantageous thing.
In order to set the tone for this narrative, a strong professional objective statement at the beginning of your resume can help tie all your experiences together. You may have a certain number of years experience in a particular industry, and that’s good to emphasise; how you obtained them doesn’t need to be the focus. Including a short sentence indicating your desire for a long-term position can also help to reassure recruiters.
Is there something that these roles have in common? Perhaps you were freelancing or acting as a consultant. Perhaps they were all roles that were in one specific field - marketing, hospitality, or tourism. If so, group them together in order to present a more cohesive narrative of your work history.
You don’t need to include everything
Your resume should be customised for each application. If you’ve had jobs that aren’t relevant, you don’t need to list it.
Similarly, if you’re worried about how it will look if you’ve had different roles within a single year, you don’t need to include the months unless it’s been otherwise indicated.
But you should include your skills and achievements
Instead of focusing on your short term tenures, you should emphasise the skills you’ve learned and the achievements you’ve worked for while on the job. This can be done in a number of different ways.
In a chronological format resume, listing each position with a short paragraph or a few bullet points outlining your results is a good way to downplay the time you were in the position, though sometimes a short stint can make your achievements even more impressive.
But you can also use a different format resume that will downplay the roles you’ve had in order to favour the skills you’ve picked up. The functional or skill-based resume might be a better way to frame your work history.
In this format, a section titled ‘Qualifications Summary’ is used to outline 3-4 examples of relevant work experience or personal achievements, followed by a longer ‘Skills’ section that outlines several key skills you’ve learned and examples of how you’ve demonstrated them in the past. And while work history isn’t entirely left out, in this format, it is acceptable to leave out the dates you were employed in each role.
While job hopping may be of concern to recruiters, it certainly doesn’t need to be disadvantageous to your application. By framing it in a positive light, only including relevant details, and emphasising your skills over the time in which you worked in particular roles, this seeming weakness could actually be what makes you stand out from the competition.