You’ve got a strong transcript, a solid GPA, and you aced the GMAT. You know you’re a strong candidate for pretty much any top MBA program. There’s just one thing standing in your way…your resume.
You’ve had some good jobs—that’s not the problem. The problem is that you’ve had too many of them, very close to each other. You’re afraid that your job switching past may make the adcoms write you off as a commitment-phobe. Of course, you know that’s not the case. But how do you convince the adcoms that each time you left a position, you had good reason for doing so? Even if you choose to use a functional resume format, there’s no way adcoms won’t notice your frequent job switching habit.
Defenses such as, “I got bored,” “It just wasn’t for me,” or “I hated my boss,” won’t help your case. You’ll need to explain your job-hopping with a bit more detail.
Valid reasons for switching jobs:
- You moved.
While picking up and moving every few months may require an explanation on its own, it certainly does provide a valid explanation for frequent job changes. Let’s say you had one job during your senior year in Boston, then graduated and moved to D.C. where you landed a second job, and then one of your parents fell ill and you decided to move back home to San Diego to help out, where you got yet another job. While three jobs in the span of a year (or less) is generally frowned upon, your explanation makes sense and doesn’t cast any shadow on your abilities to hold down a job.
- Your schedule changed.
You had been working part-time while you were in school and then, upon graduation switched to a full-time job.
Read: How an Admissions Committee Views Your MBA Work Experience >>
- You were laid off.
You had a job you liked and where you were liked, but were laid off during a recession, as a result of your company being sold to another firm, or other reasons beyond your control, but then found another job that put you back on your desired career path.
- You had trouble finding a good job match.
This explanation could make you appear a bit wishy-washy or unrealistic about your employment prospects. Present your case carefully and honestly, explaining that while searching for “the one,” you tried some positions, but found the vibe wasn’t right; the job wasn’t challenging enough; or you realized the growth potential discussed during your interview really wasn’t in the cards. As you explain your choices, make sure to convey that you welcome job commitment, but that you didn’t want to waste time in a role that was destined to be short-term.
Make sure to show growth and increased responsibility either as a motivator for some of the job changes or simply as a constant in your employment journeys.
If everything else on your application suggests that you should be accepted to the b-school of your choice, then it’s unlikely that a “busy” resume will get you dinged…just so long as you explain the multiple positions and convince the adcoms that you are, in fact, an extremely committed person who plans to find a job post-graduation that you’ll accept and keep for the long haul.
Our expert Accepted consultants can help you convey your job history and write about it in the most compelling way possible. Work one-on-one with your personal advisor to create an MBA application that will get you ACCEPTED…despite a job-hopping past.
By Judy Gruen, former Accepted admissions consultant. Judy holds a Master’s in Journalism from Northwestern University. She is the co-author of Accepted’s first full-length book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Want an admissions expert help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!