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.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.