Explain frequent job changes and time offs: How to do it right

Frequent job changes could be a disadvantage for your career: Employees read this well-intentioned warning in career guides again and again. The same applies to gaps in the résumé, i.e. to periods in which one has no job.

Frequent job changes could be detrimental to your career be: Employees read this well-intentioned warning in career guides again and again. The same applies to gaps in the résumé, i.e. to periods in which one has no job.

Job changes are more frequent in good times

Fast job changes are particularly common among younger employees. The statistics also confirm that older workers have a higher fluctuation. This is because in this generation many people are retiring and their positions have to be filled again.

Satisfied and yet ready to change jobs

The willingness to change jobs is often driven by the desire to get an attractive salary. This is followed by other places:

  • good team spirit (81 percent)
  • good managerial behavior (74 percent)

Other reasons differ depending on age. Younger people are more interested in opportunities for further training and advancement, parents a short commute to work and flexible working hours.

All reasons that are understandable – and interesting, also for the HR manager with whom you are talking in the interview. It is not unlikely that you will be confronted with the popular question:

“Why do you want to change jobs?”

It is important that you can answer this question authentically and convincingly. All of the reasons listed above can of course play a role here. Many HR managers and decision-makers will understand that very personal motives play a role. But there are also professional reasons that you can name here:

  • Your job changes have helped you gain experience in different companies, specialist areas or industries.
  • Yours Job changes have contributed to your professional development.
  • You wanted to take on more responsibility.

Anyone who explains his frequent job changes in this way does not seem erratic, but emphasizes it your own soft skills.

Frequent job changes can also be beneficial

Don’t worry: the fact that you have changed jobs several times within a decade does not have to be a disadvantage in the application process. On the contrary. Put yourself in the shoes of your dream employer. With the necessary empathy you can work out:

“What positive motivation that my future employer will appreciate has contributed to the fact that I have changed jobs several times?”

Take a piece of paper, write down the answer to this question, and study it a little. This takes away the surprise effect of the popular HR question. (And surprisingly, the question is not really – it is part of the standard repertoire.)

Don’t be afraid of gaps in your CV

The same applies to the question about time-outs, the notorious gaps in the resume. Your application will not simply be sorted out because you cannot list an absolutely complete sequence of permanent positions on your resume. People are individual – and so are their resumes.

  • Did you take care of the family? That is understandable.
  • Have you received further training? That’s positive. Lifelong learning is becoming more and more important.
  • Have you broadened your horizons, for example as part of a longer trip? Well conveyed, it comes across as strong-willed and open.
  • Was there a need to get involved, to take care of something, to support someone to cope with an illness? Unless that’s too personal, say it. But first think about how open you want to be – that is your decision. Nobody expects you to reveal anything too private.

Occasionally you will come across tips on the web that include omitting monthly information in the résumé or summarizing several positions in a period. As a rule, this will lead to critical questions and in the worst case it can be a cover-up.

Stand by your own résumé

It is better to stand by your own résumé and say the positive to bring personal strengths, motivation and experience to the fore.

Job hopping: The cliché

The term job hopping has haunted the media for several years Career blogs – a specter that is given too much importance. The irony is that while the media and blogs like to report on the supposed phenomenon of job hopping in large numbers, a short study with Google Trends shows that people aren’t even interested in the term. So few people have googled it that Google Trends does not show any results.

If you listen to and read the statements of the HR managers who have commented on them, it becomes clear: HR managers take a differentiated look at frequent job changes. However, you want to be able to classify the changes correctly.

Frequent job changes show flexibility

If one and the same person does the same job again and again within a very short time, only at different companies, then it can seem erratic. But on the other hand: If applicants name constructive, conclusive reasons in their personal interview that frequent job changes or even a time-out without a job appear in their résumé, then deliberative HR managers will not immediately pull out the stamp “Jobhopper”

On the contrary: Depending on the corporate culture, the willingness to change jobs frequently can even be interpreted as motivation, flexibility and willingness to change – these are all qualities that companies value extremely in employees.

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