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How to write a resume if you’re a serial job hopper in Asian banking

resume job hopper

You’ve been searching in Singapore or Hong Kong for a new banking job and you’ve finally found what you think is a perfect fit. You face one big problem, however: your CV is what recruiters like to call ‘too choppy’, because you’ve changed banks too often in the recent past.

While you can never completely cover up your job hopping, you can tweak your resume to make it more palatable to recruiters and banks. Here’s how:

Highlight your rank at the bank

Unusually in a hierarchical industry like banking, too many candidates highlight their job descriptions on their CVs at the expense of their official rank. “Make your ranks – associate, AVP etc – obvious on your CV, so the person looking at it can immediately see if you moved companies for a step up,” says Natasha Madhavan, a principal consultant at recruitment agency Selby Jennings in Singapore.

Relate your reasons

“People will naturally make their own assumptions as to why candidates leave roles, so it’s important to write an explanation at the end of each job. This need not be long, just a one-liner,” says Madhavan.

Make it clear if it’s a contract

If your short stint at a bank was in fact a contract role, make this abundantly clear. Contract positions are getting more popular in Asia, but don’t expect recruiters in the region to automatically realise the terms of your employment, says Madhavan.

Love your layoffs

Unless you were laid off for underperformance, you are strongly advised to mention redundancies on your resume. “Hiring managers are more understanding about frequent job changes resulting from company reorganisations. Ensure you indicate on your CV if your move was the result of circumstances beyond your control,” says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director of recruiters Robert Half in Singapore.

Point out the positives

“If you haven’t been laid off, always make your career-move reasons positive ones,” says Vince Natteri, director of recruitment firm Pinpoint Asia in Hong Kong. “This could include career development in a specific sector to gain more experience to reach a career goal.”

Accentuate your achievements

It’s bulk-standard advice, but if you’re a job hopper it matters more than ever: focus your resume on your achievements. For those with a particularly choppy history, you could remove some of your mundane job duties to ensure the reader sees only achievements. “Hiring managers do pay attention to candidates who made a positive difference, even if they had a short tenure,” says Imbert-Bouchard.

Pool them all

“Another option is to pool together several related experiences on your CV,” says Imbert-Bouchard. “You could use a particular skill as a heading and under it describe your specific achievements in the different banks you’ve worked for.”

Add an ‘early career’

If most of your job hopping took place soon after you graduated, you have another alternative: “I recommend consolidating a series of two or three moves under the heading ‘early career’ and writing a sentence or two about each company and role undertaken,” says Paul Lyons, Hong Kong managing director of recruitment firm Ambition.

Don’t dodge dates

Providing a year and leaving out the month that the job started and ended is a common enough tactic to partly disguise a short tenure. But missing months always raise alarm bells in recruiters’ minds – you’re actually better off being precise about dates.


Image credit:  gruizza, Getty

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