How should I format my resume so I don’t come across as a “job hopper”?

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James from Indiana State University asked:

I am currently completing a Master’s in Human Resource Development.  I completed my Bachelor’s in 2000 and have been working full time since then.   First, I worked as a benefits administrator for three years, and then I left that job to pursue a career with the YMCA.  In my four years with the YMCA,I had three jobs that lasted less than one year and on that lasted for nearly two years.  I don’t want to appear as a “job hopper”, but I don’t want to misrepresent anything either.  What is the best way to format this experience on a resume?  Can you provide me with some examples?

Hi James

Thanks for writing!

First – don’t worry! Your career path – as you have described it in your question – is not that of a job hopper!

You have enjoyed two relatively long periods of employment (three years and four years) with two different organizations.  That screams “stability”.  The fact that you have held multiple  positions with the YMCA only says that you have had the opportunity to benefit your employer in a variety of ways!  As long as they weren’t moving you from position to position for negative reasons, you have a great story to tell.

Now, your question also shows me that you recognize the importance of telling your story effectively; that is, the importance of putting your qualifications into the proper context for the employers you are targeting.

Congratulations! You understand that potential employers don’t just “get” who you are, what you offer and what you want. You have to make yourself understandable and attractive to potential employers.

In your resume, emails and other correspondence, LinkedIn profile, and professional networking, you need to tell the story of your career path effectively so that prospective employers will get the story you want to tell.

With regard to your resume format, I recommend that you lead with your employer and list  the positions you held and related accomplishments under each employer.  Here is an example you might consider:

Experience Sample

For additional ideas, I recommend you check out the examples in my Resume Gallery.

Good Luck!


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