Rejected because of too many contract positions

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Kim in Chicago, Illinois

54 months ago

Well I am sure that many people are jumping around in the past few years. If one is lucky to get a temp assignment is it not long term or temp to hire like many of the staffing firms tell you. What is a person to do? They are just using anything just to reject people. When the job market gets better, and I am hearing later this year, then they will not be soo picky. Right now it is an employers market, hoping it will change if not this year next year.

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ResumeGuy in Boise, Idaho

54 months ago

Nick L in Medford, Massachusetts said: I got laid off in 2009 and worked on 2 temp (contract) assignments since then. One for 15 months, one for 4 months which just ended. Several perm positions came up along with another 'temp to perm' position. The feedback the recruiters received was that the hiring managers felt I 'jumped around' too much and would not consider me. Prior to 2009, I worked at 3 perm positions since 2000 each at least 2 years.

This is making me very scared. I have been hearing from recruiters and others that there is no way to 'dress up' an unstable work history or being unemployed for an extended period which would be over three months.

Nick L,

Having several temp jobs on your resume doesn't have to be a negative on your resume, especially in this market where people are doing what they need to do to stay employed. For example, you might want try putting "ABC Widget Company through a Temporary Employment Agency" as the title of the employer in your work history. As an interviewer, I understand that people work for temp agencies while they are working on getting to the next step in their career. The most important part of any resume, in my opinion, is not necessarily the tasks you did, but the results you generated, even if the job is a temp one. I hope this is helpful.

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Michael Brit in Eldersburg, Maryland

54 months ago


I deal with this all the time as I write a fair amount of resumes and cover letters for engineers that work as contract workers. Lots of job changes.

The key in your situation is to highlight your skills. The fact you moved from job to job is a function of being a contractor. The advantage you have is that you probably worked in similar type jobs and have developed great strength in key areas.

So can you do? Customize the resume for the job posting and open strongly with a summary and a rich list of skills that meet the employer's needs. You can remove the emphasis on the job history and make your resume about what you can do more than about where you have been and how long. It works.

Good luck to you.

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Sauntee Franklin in Inglewood, California

45 months ago

I too have been unemployed for the past three years due to my past work history reflecting a multitude of temporary contract positions rather than "Stable Positions". I've been told from five interviewers that they did not believe I was looking for stability. I've given up because I don't know what to tell them other than, I never looked at contracting for two different temporary agencies as a lack of job stability.

What do you do in an employers market, where the economy can put you in a position to be locked out of employment, like a person that has served prison time. It seems as though I've committed a crime for desiring to consistently work, although the work I sought was through a temporary means.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

45 months ago

Recruiters are liars. Don't believe anything they tell you.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

45 months ago

I too have been questioned about my job history, but I tell them the truth. Most of the jobs that I've held since 1983 have been in these telemarketing service agencies and market research firms who are hired by other companies to do their various sales, marketing, and research projects. And you only work when the work is there. If they don't have any projects, we don't work; and that's the bottom line.

It's not your fault Nick. You're doing everything you possibly can to get a job. Hey! Temporary is better than nothing.

These recruiters and hiring managers are living in a dream world. They are out of touch with reality. People get laid off for various reasons. The company reorganizes. They shut down. They ship their jobs overseas. They decide to go in a different direction. They decide to cut labor costs.

In this day and age, nobody stays employed forever.

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

45 months ago

I have a lot of job lay offs, temp jobs and gaps in my employment since 2002. It was solid before that since the '80s. At least 2 of the job lay offs aren't on my resume and I'm working on getting another off of there. Probably by the next time I update my resume. At least for most of the gaps I was a student. I can't say that about the last gap, but like you all are saying, you do what you have to do to survive. Employers need to stop making such harsh judgements on those that are truly trying. We can only control so much on our end.

What an employer will get from me is hard work and doing the best that I can. I will do extra things if I can. My work is neat and pretty accurate. I'm reliable as they get. I'm on time. I get along with co-workers. What more do they want??

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Bitter at home

38 months ago

I don't have a steady work experience history either, mainly because I was in school, I interview for professional jobs before too but didn't have luck. I think alot of hiring managers choose candidates that they like the most, not candidate who can do the best job.

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Nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

38 months ago

They can't expect a stable work history, anymore. Very few of us have one, especially among the applicants.

I got asked about my gap on a phone interview, today. I said, "I wish I could say that I was travelling Europe, but the fact is my luck at landing a permanent position has not been good." She laughed. They know that this is how it is now...I'm hoping it helps to tell the truth, instead of feeding them some bs.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

38 months ago

I think employers do expect a stable work history despite the economy and what people are going through. With the enormous pool of potential applicants, they expect the moon.

Yes, bitter, employers so sometimes choose the candidate they like the most rather than the one who can do the best job.

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Brooklyn Babe in Brooklyn, New York

38 months ago

Sometimes it makes me wonder if they are just looking for faults to weed out people. They sure take their sweet time in selecting someone, just try to get the most out of what they got, and if they complain they will be out the door as well, nobody cares about you anymore, they figure once you are gone, they will never see you again.

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Joshua07 in Philippines

38 months ago

I think its so hard to find a job as you'd said. Employers think that you are not good in working that's why you'd have a lot of temporary jobs instead of being a permanent employee.

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seeker110 in Massachusetts

37 months ago

Third party recruiters make more income placing candidates in contract roles rather than making permanent placements, so it is to their advantage to keep candidates in the contract bucket.

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Fozy68 in London, United Kingdom

37 months ago

I have recently been told by a company that interviewed me twice and shortlisted me as the final candidate for the third interview that unfortunately they were not going to take things any further as they were concerned about my 'lack of stability' due to the number of roles I had held. Albeit that I had already been told that I had the most relevant experience and was the preferred candidate. Why did they bother to interview me in the first place?

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

37 months ago

They can cite anything they want as an excuse. I would try not to take it personally, although that's kind of impossible, especially if it's fresh. You have to try to take each call back and each interview as positives and build off of them.

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Sunshine in Lemont, Illinois

37 months ago

The longer this downturn lasts the more employers will see short term jobs on resumes. In this day and age if one does find a job it may not last. It could be that a company needed someone for a special project, medical leave or thought that the economy would bring more business and it never happened or it got worse. Employers act like they have never seen anyone with a gap in the resume, when we all know that they have seen plenty and act stupid, because they know they are going to reject us anyway. Why even bring a candidate to the interview if you know this. You see the resume before and select based on what you see there, save me gas money, don't call me if you know you will not hire me because I have a gap.

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Anonymous in Stuart, Florida

37 months ago

I ask a friend (he had 15 years of experience in Human Resources), he said when he work at Human Resources, they didn't worried too much about employment gap, as long as job seekers can give a reasonable explanation. Guess everyone is right, employers today just tried to find reasons not to hire people.

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David Campbell in United Kingdom

24 months ago

I've been with several agencies since 2010 after being made redundant. I get interviews for temp jobs and they actually say "you've had a lot of jobs haven't you"......I got so fed up with it that I ended up saying to the interviewer "and if you read my CV properly you will see I,ve been with an agency for the past three years!....and thats how it works"....they told my agency I wasn't suitable due to "personality".....due to have an opinion unfortunately! some of the managers that have interviewed me are as thick as two short planks, it amazes me how they get the jobs in the first place!!!

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22 months ago

At the bottom I give an example of something new I am going to try, but first a brief explanation. I have worked for 8 years as a contract employee to FORD, GM, and Chrysler as a technical author. I have moved from one contract house/assignment to another several times giving the impression on paper that I lack long term commitment. Reality is most contract houses do nothing to help you advance leaving no choice but to move for one contract to another for growth.

I have been questioned on short term jobs in interviews with direct managers of the automotive companies. They do not usually get it as being direct hires give them significant opportunities to grow with one company. Usually I can explain this away if I get a face to face interview, but the call backs I do not get are the ones that concern me.

Below is something new I am trying. I have no idea well how it will work. Feel free to comment, use, provide feedback on successful or failure.

I grouped common job categories together allowing me to reflect the total number of years in a specific area instead of listing the dates at each employer. Format is not exact due to character limits of this reply, hopefully the basic idea is clear.


TECHNICAL AUTHOR (Work Category) 12/2005 - 7/2013 (Total years in category)

General Motors
Madison Heights, MI

Auburn Hills, MI

General Motors
Warren, MI


Suburban Import Center
Troy, MI

Key Motor Mall
Warren, MI


VIA Information Tools
Hewlett Packard
Dearborn, MI

Compuware Corporation
Farmington Hills, MI

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Lisa H in Glendale, Arizona

9 months ago

My last real permanent job ended with termination in 2012 after 2 1/2 years with the company. I have had 5 contract jobs since 2012, and 1 permanent job that didn't pay enough nor guarantee hours, so I resigned for a better paying contract job. I just recently had an interview, through a temp agency, with a client. The client had seen my resume and my skill levels, and immediately requested the interview. During the interview, she asked about my past 3 positions, which were contracts and the clients had ended the contracts. She didn't ask me any interview questions that are normally asked, nor did she give me the opportunity to point out my strengths. I ended up not getting the job, that would have turned permanent after 90 days, because the client felt that I wouldn't stay because of my work instability. It's very frustrating and disheartening when you are judged for somehing from the past that you cannot go back and fix.

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Carl220 in East Rutherford, New Jersey

3 months ago

What should count is the work the individual HAS done instead of what they haven't done. Sometimes, you just loose your patience with these interviewers because as a previous respondent said, they are out of touch with reality! Just because they've been lucky to have their job over twenty years, they think everyone can have the same kind of fortune. If you are lucky to get permanent work, you'll be lucky to be there five years, let alone twenty five! I knew someone who lost their position under a year, and this was a permanent job! The time they were there is about the same amount of time they would have lasted had they been contracting! People may have gaps due to other issues, a family crisis, they were ill, etc. Even if you put on a resume you were temping through and agency, they still see it as job hopping! I guess they choose to see what they want and look for any little excuse they can find! it's angering, but you have to press on and keep going, and maybe you'll find that one place that is willing to view your hard work and persistence. As far as recruiters go, as much as I have found many to be nice and all, many are in the same category as a used car sales man! Good luck to those still job searching!

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Jacqueline Dixon in Ohio

1 month ago

I'm in the same position. I have huge gaps of unemployed than employed due to temp contracts through agencies. They (agencies) too discriminate. I've had two seasonal jobs and about 20 temp jobs. Some temp position were rewarding but lasted between 30days and 6 months depending on how quick I could get the assignments completed. I've been out of work since Jan 2, 2015 today is June 5 not one single led because of lack of employment time on any job. I am overlooked by employers and temp agencies at this point. It has been the biggest regret to have to take a job to support my family. It's rough.

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