10 Tips for Communicating Job Changes!

Platinum Unplugged #12:

These days…nobody stays in the same job their entire career. We all know that.

(In fact, staying too long can stunt your career growth & earning potential. Here are 5 signs it’s time to consider a job change.)

With job changes happening more often, explaining them is actually more important.

10 Tips to Explaining Job Changes:

  1. Clear & concise: You don’t want this topic to eat up the entire interview. Rambling on and stumbling over your words makes it seem like you’re hiding something. Prepare for your explanation like you do standard interview questions.
  2. Be positive: Quickly highlight what you enjoyed, learned & skills you gained.
  3. Make it “make sense”: Communicate your explanation…your story…in a way that “makes sense”. Did a job change round out your experience? Did it get you closer to career goals? Perhaps you gained industry experience you wanted? Most people get more money when changing jobs. That’s great. But, hopefully there were other reasons as well.
  4. Communicate value you added: It’s OK to make moves to better yourself, but you need to be adding value along the way. 2 years at a company with significant contributions and accomplishments is better than 3 years of someone simply doing what had always been done. Coming across as only interested in an opportunity b/c of what you’ll gain + not being able to communicate value you’ve added in previous jobs = bad combination.
  5. Don’t badmouth previous employers: You might have had a bad experience. Don’t go there. Focus on the positives. Nobody wants to hire a complainer.
  6. Don’t be defensive or arrogant: It’s fair that a potential employer wants to understand your job changes. They should, right?
  7. Body language counts: Lack of eye contact and you seem dishonest. Crossing arms can come across as defensive or arrogant. Just like the rest of your interview, body language when explaining your job changes can make a difference.
  8. Highlight why your job changes can bring more value than someone that’s been with one company for a long time: I’ve written before about comparing yourself to the competition: What Is Your Competitive Advantage? How can your job changes be an advantage? The different experiences you’ve gained have likely given you exposure to different management styles, technologies, systems, process and cultures. You’ve likely encountered a variety of challenges and problems. As a result, maybe you’re more flexible and adaptable? Maybe you can quickly identify obstacles and work to a solution? Your exposure to different management styles might allow you to get along with a variety of managers. If your job changes might be a concern, communicate why they could be an advantage.
  9. Be sincere: This is more of an intangible, often the result of how well you do with the other tips. Also, if one of your moves was a mistake, admit it. Owning up to one mistake can add credibility to everything else you’re sharing. If a lot of your moves were mistakes? Good chance that’s an issue. Where there’s smoke, there is almost always fire.
  10. Forward-looking conclusion: Wrap up your concise explanation…story rather… with a forward-looking, positive statement highlighting why you’re interested in their opportunity. Goal here is to encourage a transition from the job change conversation.

What you say is important. How you say it is as well. Keep that in mind as you prepare to communicate your “story”.

Hope that helps! What would you add?

P.S. It’s not politics or “fake news”. But, if you think others would benefit from reading this, please consider sharing. Thank you for reading!

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