Top 5 Things to do as an Automotive Quality Pro with too Many Job Moves

This has become a real problem in our industry. My stats show the average Quality Manager stays an average of 2 ½ years and Quality Engineers last just a bit better at three years. It is very common to see 6-9 months here, 1-2 years there and so forth. And as some of you will know looking at your resume, this is an issue. Here are my suggestions bringing over 25 years as a recruiting working exclusively in Automotive Quality:

  1. Don’t try to hide it in your resume. If a company is unwilling to hire someone who has jumped around, your initial thought might be ‘to know me is to love me, ’ and the only way with my job-hopping resume to get in is to disguise things the best I can. By hiding your past, or not adding dates, all you are doing is advancing the question, “What else are you hiding?” If you have a story to tell, throw it out there the way it is. A cover sheet and the interview are where you can explain what happened.
  2. Don’t explain all the moves on your resume. Some people will put things like “Downsizing” or “Plant Closing” after job after job. I agree that when a plant closes, it is not your fault. It is however frowned upon in resume writing to add explanations before you get a chance to answer direct questions. You can give some explanation in a well-written cover letter. Just keep it away from the resume…keep it simple and clean. Too many ‘excuses’ look like you suffer from ‘excusitis!’
  3. Behave yourself and stay put. Sometimes in life, we have to do things that are not comfortable. Whether you are looking or not looking and your resume has holes like a piece of Swiss cheese, work hard and focus on getting yourself back on a stable career track. I always look back on candidates resumes hoping to find at least 3,4,5 or more years at one place. When I make presentations to hiring managers, a previous track record of stability is emphasized followed by the explanation of recent moves with references added to close the sale.
  4. Find another career! Yes, I said it. I often talk with people who say, “I left ABC company because they were unethical. I left BCD company because they were unethical also…..etc.” We all have bills to pay, and change is difficult and painful. Growth is being outside of your comfort zone. If you have always wanted to do something else, go for it! You might just thank me for going for your dreams. Look back at past moves in an honest way and move forward from there.
  5. Be prepared with references from previous bosses. If I ask a candidate with 20 years experience, “Please provide me with references.” Imagine the look on my face when I get an email with this on it: QE (peer), minister, production engineer (peer), SQE (peer). When I ask for a boss or former manager the person is unable to provide one. 20 years of working and not one boss you have stayed in contact or can track down? At that point, we have a problem. Companies want to limit risk when hiring a high-risk candidate. Having them look at references from people whom you have no reporting accountability does not solve their primary concern (They are just going to be another 18-month stint).

There it is. You just got the straight scoop.

Go Automotive Quality!

Jon Molesky