Addressing a Jumpy Background

Make sure you are prepared to address questions about your jumpy background during a job interview.

When it comes to addressing your work experience during an interview, it can be difficult or uncomfortable to explain why you left your previous positions. Maybe you’ve had several jobs over the past 2-3 years? Maybe you just got fired, downsized or your company closed? Whatever the reason, most employers are understanding about jobs that don’t work out. In fact, in today’s gig-economy, having short-term jobs is not an uncommon situation.

There are situations and industries where job-hopping is easy to overcome, and sometimes is even expected. In the worlds of biotechnology and startups, moving around from job to job is quite common, as people are always looking for the next big and exciting thing. This is also the case for consultants and people working on contract positions. For these individuals, it’s often the type of experience, not the length of time spent at any one position that is important. It also can be easier for someone under 30 to overcome a jumpy career background, as the Millennial generation has the stereotype of not staying in jobs for very long, as many are still looking to find what exactly it is they want to do.

However, regardless of your situation, during an interview you will be asked about your previous positions. The trick to answering questions about why you left those jobs is to be prepared and handle it with grace. Don’t say anything negative about the employer, even if your overall experience at the company was a bad one. But, don’t focus too much on your past employer, after all the interview is about you and what you can accomplish. So try and focus your answers on where you would like to go rather than where you’ve been.

Some more great advice on addressing a jumpy background can be found on The New York Times and Careernook websites.