Potential employers can become concerned if they see numerous short-term jobs on your resume. They might think you're a job hopper or that you have an inability to connect with an employer for any length of time. If you have a rational explanation for why you have a history of multiple short-term contract jobs, describe them on your resume and in a cover letter to let employers know you're not an irresponsible employee.
Self-employed individuals often operate via short-term contract jobs. If you've been self-employed for any amount of time, describe this in your cover letter and create a self-employment category on your resume that includes all of your short-term contract positions. Using this approach, you look less like a scattered short-termer and more like a savvy businessperson who was able to attract multiple clients. One caveat -- be prepared for a potential employer to ask if you plan to continue being self-employed if you accept a full-time position. There may be conflict of interest issues to discuss.
Many students take part-time, flexible or contract jobs when they’re completing their education. If your short-term contract positions were related to a continually changing academic schedule, note this in your cover letter and resume. Create a part-time contract work category with a subheading that notes, “Following are several short-term contract positions I worked at while pursuing my master’s degree.” This establishes you as an outgoing multitasker who found innovative ways to support yourself while pursuing a higher education.
Filling Job Gaps
In a slow economy, employers understand that people are sometimes unemployed through no fault of their own. If you used short-term contract jobs to support yourself when you were between full-time positions, make note of that to a potential boss. You can list these gap jobs on your resume chronologically with your other employment, noting beside each one, in parentheses, “short-term work while between full-time positions.” An employer will see you as a responsible individual intent on maintaining your skills and staying in the workforce between full-time jobs.
Contract Temp Work
People take temporary positions for a variety of reasons. Maybe you were in the process of relocating, taking time off to care for a sick family member or even trying different occupations to pinpoint a profession that's right for you. If you worked with a temporary employment agency, create a category on your resume related specifically to temp contract work. This compartmentalizes all of your temporary jobs in one location and allows you to better explain the circumstances to a potential employer.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images