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No interviews because "job hopping"?

cxhy0

These past 2 years have been a series of strange things and so I've had 3 jobs in this time and am now looking for my 4th.

I graduated in 2015 and ended up working at a firm that, at the time, had a lot of problems. I ended up leaving for another opportunity after 8 months to learn Revit (4 other employees have left around the time I did). The next place was temp to hire/contract and I was let go/contract ended after 3 months when the person I was meant to replace ended up having his Visa renewed (and other issues). I took this as a sign and moved to another state and got another job. Tried my best to work out problems I had at previous jobs and it still didn't work out. This last job ended up letting me go after 8 months because it was such a small firm and they needed someone with more experience. These 3 firms have been around 5-7 employees for reference. 

This time last year I was applying and had about 10 interviews. I'm now struggling to get even 1. I've reworked my portfolio and cover letter since then and I don't know if it's because of my job history that no one's wanting to interview me. I really did want to do architecture but I'm a bit discouraged now. I never intended to have this many jobs as a fresh grad. 

Should I leave the 3 month job off my resume? I'd appreciate any advice anyone has. 

 
Jul 5, 17 3:17 pm

Just put it down (what you did), and don't sweat it too much. If interviews are dropping off it could mean the economy is going to tank. So yes, then sweat it.


Jul 5, 17 4:21 pm
randomised

I'm at my 6th job since graduation in '10 and have never left any job off my resumé, shortest being 3 months, longest 2 being 2 years. I also never intended to have that many jobs but sometimes that's just the way it goes, Rem never got back to me so there's that :) 

First job I worked myself up from intern to junior architect but when it came time for my permanent contract (after working somewhere for 2 years in NL you have to be given a permanent contract) they said they couldn't give any permanent contracts because of the economy. Same happened at my 3rd job after I made sure the last building I worked on had all necessary permits and everything...my official last day was when they had the groundbreaking ceremony. No. 4 was horrible, they used only Acad (they promised Revit in my interview), they lost a major project when I was there and the two micromanaging partners split so when the one remaining asked me to change my contract into a freelance agreement for less money after 3 months I just had to go. I beat them at my current freelance job in a competition, that felt really great. Sometimes in between regular jobs I'm freelancing or doing competitions on my own.

I would advice to be open and honest about it all and the reasons why things didn't work out because you never know how your potential new employer is connected and might find out about the jobs you left off your resumé and why. And also because you don't want to have a bad fit with your new job by letting them assume something different about you, your work history or capabilities.

If I were you I would simply state in the cover letter that you never intended to have that many jobs in such a short time but that you are simply great in getting hired :)

I don't know, maybe it is more informal over here so it might not play that well in the US but I would simply not like to work for someone based on lies, which goes both ways obviously. Hope my venting was any useful. Good luck!

Jul 5, 17 4:27 pm
cxhy0

thank you for sharing your experiences. it's uplifting to hear that having many jobs isn't uncommon

s=r*(theta)

  sorry to hear of the rough start to your career path, you are definitely in the phase of your career were employers struggle with getting "bang for their buck", sucks and we've all been there! or atleast I have.

  my question to you is, what kind of ads/ jobs are you going after? what is your expectation of the employer? what value do you anticipate on adding to the company? im only asking because maybe in your interview you should get a better understanding of what will be expected of you day to day.

imho & experience, I would leave the 3 month job off my resume; even a licensed person w/ 20yrs experience would barely have learned the companies standards, workflows, who's who, protocols, etc and where the restrooms are in 3 months and the person interviewing you will most likely be aware of this. you can bring it up by putting  "eye candy" work sample from that job in your portfolio and if hiring manger comments on it you say" I did this wile I wasa at blah blah blah for roughly 3months. the risk then is them asking why were you let go

Jul 5, 17 7:22 pm
cxhy0

i appreciate the advice. i'm mainly going for ads for junior architect at firms that are 5+ employees. not aiming for the big name ones. i'm mainly looking for somewhere i can learn a lot and with a more structured workflow. i've been told i'm better suited for a larger firm from past jobs? but haven't been getting many responses from those. i'm not sure what value i'd add to the company because of my lack of experience tbh. i really want to learn more but i feel like i have a bad foundation career-wise... 

as for leaving the 3 month job off my resume-- it would leave a 6 month gap between jobs...is that worse than leaving it on? i'm not sure what would look better. 

s=r*(theta)

imho, & please dont take offense to this but, from your op, im not sure you're a good fit the jr. architect job description right now. in my mind, thats typically a person w/ 3-5yrs experience, basic code info, may have passed 1-2 a.r.e., can basically bring a somewhat complex project from prelim to 70-80% cd's w/o alot of supervision, some project coordination, limited client interaction, some CA (submittals mostly), is this were you are at this point in your career?

cxhy0

i've seen "junior" be used for 1-3 years exp. i have been generally applying for positions that are 1-2 years exp... mostly entry-level. i have put together drawing sets, have worked on CA, and done some project coordination but still need supervision in gen.

s=r*(theta)

for me how im interpret those ads is that they are looking for someone w/ 1-2yrs jr. level experience, not 1-2 career experience. its like ads that say PA w/ 5yrs experience min., i dont think they mean someone with 5yrs career experience, I believe they mean someone with 2-3yrs actually doing nothing but managing projects

I agree, less than 3 months never happened...it's called a trial period and the firm didn't pass it...

Jul 5, 17 7:42 pm
cxhy0

a trial period i didn't pass... leaving the job off my resume would be a 6 month gap... do you think that's even more alarming to employers?

If they bring it up, prepare a response.

you were job hunting/trial period-ing

in twenty years it wont matter

archinine
It's perfectly normal and quite common to work at several places the first 3-5 years after school. It's particularly common in this field where many smaller firms will hire and lay off for one big project. Personally I don't think you need to highlight the 'hopping' in a cover letter. You can succinctly explain this by writing 'contract' where applicable on the resume - google examples - and save space in the cover letter to talk about why you'd like to join this place you're applying to. Keep the cover letter short and emphasize you're looking to stay long term, grow, all that jazz. For the truly good places it can take time, sometimes months, for the full process. If they're desperate and want you to start the next day you may well find yourself in the same situation 3 months later. If you left on good terms, which it sounds as though you did, reach out to former employers for a reference, usually the person who laid you off will be empathetic/helpful as a layoff is not fun for anyone.
Jul 5, 17 10:18 pm
cxhy0

thanks for the advice. you do bring up a very good point i never thought about...firms that want you to start the next day-- that was pretty much the situation i was in previously. do you advise to leave the shorter job off my resume with a 6 month gap? unsure if saying 'contract' is accurate since the situation was more like a trial period/tempt to hire

randomised

Some solid tips here, will try them out myself when the next job hunt comes along ;-)

Jul 6, 17 2:17 am
cxhy0

thanks for all the replies. advice is much appreciated 

Jul 6, 17 11:57 am
eeayeeayo

The way I dealt with a couple very short-term jobs early on was to leave them off entirely, and only list years for start and end dates of all jobs I did list, instead of month + year.  That way, unless you have a gap that lasts an entire year, it doesn't draw attention to there being any gap at all.  For instance lets say you had a job that ended sometime in 2015, and a short-termer in early 2016, and another job that started in late 2016:  the prospective employer just sees the end date "2015" and the next start date "2016", and it doesn't usually raise any questions.  I guess people's minds just see consecutive numbers and don't calculate a gap, even though between a job that ends in 2015 and one that ends in 2016 there could conceivably have been an almost 2-year gap.

I'm more concerned with your comment that you tried to address problems that you'd had in your previous location and still wasn't able to.  What are those problems?  What is the feedback you're getting that's led to being laid off so many times?

Jul 6, 17 1:12 pm
cxhy0

job #2 ended for a number of reasons- as mentioned before, coworker's visa ended up working out and i wasn't need anymore. but they brought up some problems with my work ethic that i have worked on since such as looking distracted/spacey, not focused enough, and some expectations not being met. it was a trial period/temp to hire situation so when the time came, they decided not to extend my time there. i admit i wasn't the best employee at this position and worked on addressing these issues. 

job #3 had actually praised me for being excited when new samples came around and said that they liked that i cared more than the last person in my position but i was laid off because i lacked experience and there were too many mistakes in drawings. both places have said i am more suited for a larger firm with more structure but so far i've only worked at small firms.

Xenakis

it's a problem after 7 years - I've been in my present position for 2 years - but it took a lot of tall talking to convince the architects here I wasn't  some dofus - 

Jul 6, 17 2:03 pm

yes the non-dofus is key

Mike-LBI-NY

At my firm most guys just right out of school almost never stay longer then a year. I noticed that only 1 out of 7 stay with us and they are very happy with the environment with i think is great but very fast past. So there is a spot for every one some where as i am a example of that too.

Jul 6, 17 2:58 pm
sameolddoctor
Why don't your try a larger office OP? Seems like the smaller shops aren't working out for you. A larger firm might let you get your bearings...
Jul 7, 17 3:23 am
Chuck71

Let's see...

First job, was only to be 2 weeks but became 2 months, and the work ran out.

Next job, around 2 years 5 months. Got qualified, and was feeling stifled so left.

After that, 22 months, and a local recession (Asian economic crisis of 98-99) did for that one, and they knew I wanted to go on a UK working holiday anyway. Tried being seconded to somewhere else in that time, it lasted 3 days before I decided to leave, instead of beating an extremely arrogant colleague senseless. I didn't want to end up in front of a Magistrate, unemployment was preferable.

Came to England, had some short jobs, one for 2 weeks, another 6 weeks, before landing one that I was at from Sep 99 to May 2006. Left as was being typecast as the CAD guy, when I wanted to run projects.

Next place I was at, 9 months. Wife pregnant with No.1, and couldn't afford a place, so moved to where she was from, Ireland. Work was drying up there anyway, and the Partners who had been working together for 20+ years were splitting over a dispute (one had his daughter come work for the firm as an Architect, the other couldn't accept it).

Got a job there in Cork, and after 1 month left, as I figured my boss was not only unprofessional, but slightly unhinged. I've seen complaints online about her since. That one stays off the CV.

Found work elsewhere that lasted another 17 months, until the recession of 2008 knocked that on its head, and with the Mrs not getting enough work either, we moved back to England.

Found a job working in the NHS in an Estates department, and lasted only 2 months. Arrogant bully of a boss, I was losing 1kg a week from the stress. She not only got rid of my predecessor, once she found I wasn't what she had assumed I was (I never claimed to be) and I wasn't going to slot into her plans, she did her best to belittle me until I couldn't take it anymore, and chose unemployment. Even with No.2 child on the way was actually preferable. That one stays off the CV too. I was told since that my replacement was also apparently incompetent as well.

Got my next job after that (and a significant increase in pay compared to the last job), and was there from Aug 2009 to Feb 2014. Was again in the end getting typecast as the CAD guy, when I wanted to run projects, and was being paid the same as I was in 2006. The firm also appointed a new Partner to replace one who retired, but I had little respect for the new one that I was also supposed be working for. It didn't help I was contract all that time, and being belittled as 'freelance' whenever it suited the management.

After many months of applying, attending a few interviews, and even passing a job up (it was going to pay exactly what I earned before), got then my current job, which I've been at since. Not perfect, no job is, but it is also in a developing country, which makes it rather more so, though it's probably one of the better ones to be in.

The main difficulty (OK a few difficulties) is the design is by a Designer, not an architectural firm, whose failings are massive, not least they are lead by someone who is a 'big picture designer' , not an experienced project architect. This design was then in its incomplete, far from resolved state subcontracted out to consultants who weren't properly appointed in any way you can think of (fees, scope, deliverables, management), and who didn't do any further design development. 3 years + into work on site and we still don't have a fire strategy, among other things. This poor design documentation is then being provided to a Contractor who is desperate to keep costs down, so is not in a position to develop the design the way the documentation teams envisaged when they did half what was needed. The client is only lately getting to grips with what this will mean.

To compensate though, I'm earning in cash terms about twice what my old job paid, and I'm now in a position to save what in my last job I was earning after tax. Housing costs are paid for, and the kids (3 now) are attending a private school.

I've also been one of the forces trying to turn around the mess of a project, as it seems I'm the only Architect in the project capable of coherently stating and being on the record as to design problems. As I don't work directly for the Big Boss I'm somewhat free to do that. The rest either keep it to themselves, or pretend it isn't their problem.

I never envisaged working at this many firms or switching this often, and am now 22+ years post-grad experience. Some of the people I graduated with are still at the first firm they worked for, and may well end up being directors one day.

No idea if that helps, but it is an example of how we don't all work for the one firm all our lives, and jobs come and go.



Jul 8, 17 2:41 am
archinine
@OP it's really up to you. Try it both ways maybe? See if anyone bites. You could write temp next to the temp job. Your resume is to get you into the interview chair where you can explain these things more eloquently while being a whole person and not a digital sheet of paper in a giant stack. Personally, I've always felt anything is better than a big gap. My first few jobs were all temp/contract etc. I kept the most recent on there even if it was 3 months until I had enough full time positions to fill the page. I've also tried the only write the year thing - it seemed to just confuse people and looks like you're trying to hide something. They will find out. And again gaps and short term positions are very normal when starting out. The process taking a lot of time is also normal. Getting your first real full time position is the one of it not the hardest thing you will have to do in any career. Be persistent and if at all possible be picky/take your time about where you work because ideally you're going to stay put a while. Keep in mind it's unlikely that prospective employers are scrutinizing your resume as deeply as you are - try not to overthink it. Landing a job is mostly a random crapshoot in a swirl of resumes and want ads - for you and the employer.
Jul 8, 17 1:03 pm

Architecture is sooo funny.

Jul 10, 17 3:33 am
randomised

Congrats on your first comment and your 5 year Archinect anniversary! That's some next level lurking.

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