A freelance resume - Interviewers say I look like a 'job hopper'

Countless times during interviews, the interviewer will look at the dates on my resume and tell me I look like a job hopper and ask me why I’ve only spent 3 months or so at each role. I’m thinking that it might also be preventing me from landing interviews in the first place.

I’ve done a lot of short term freelance gigs and honestly, I’ve also been at 4 different companies that have just gone out of business or laid off the entire design teams while I was there. My resume is a mess of many different 3 month fashion jobs. I do have a 4 year role on there but no one seems to see it.

My freelance gigs are labeled as freelance on the resume. One placement agent suggested i started righting “company closed ny office” next to my end dates for the companies that literally went out of business on me…but much of my resume looks like that now.

If your fashion industry past experience is also broken up into many short projects, how do you show that on your resume without looking like someone who can’t keep a steady position?

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I would put all freelance into one brief cohesive paragraph (3 sentences at most). Highlight what qualifications you had when you did that work and what you achieved.
I have 20 years of experience and have the same problem trying to get people to realize my value.
Also TopResume.com will give you a free evaluation of your resume.
Wish you the best!


Thanks very much for the tips!

This topic came up during the Recruiter Roundtable webinar that Stylecareers hosted today. One of the very seasoned recruiters (whose experience and wisdom I do respect) said that he wouldn’t give “job hopping” resumes any consideration. I have some short timeframes on roles where I entered the company with every intention of it being long-term; then heartbroken when those brands shuttered through no fault of my own, or where there were already sales issues occurring before I arrived, and layoffs already under consideration (fyi I do acknowledge that’s my bad for not doing deep enough research on the company’s health.)

My question is how do I indicate this on my resume? How do I put my best foot forward here? Do I note on the resume something like “company sold; new owners shuttered women’s division” or would a note like that be seen as me “making excuses”? Do I tackle the issue in my cover letter? @grandpoobah I know you are super-busy but any guidance would be deeply appreciated. Feeling a bit downcast about this.


I am so glad you brought this up. I too was bummed when I heard him say that. It’s not like any of us are intentional serial job hoppers. I too was laid off because of budget cuts after approx 1.5 years or 2.5 years at some of the positions. It had nothing to do with my talent or my ability to perform. Also, there are life situations that sometimes need precedence over making clothing like giving birth, raising kids, taking care of our elderly. Even with our best intentions, not all of us can toil away 5-6 years at a company and look like “reliable employees”. I wish good luck to you and all of us seeking jobs in these unprecedented times. Please don’t be downcast, you are not alone.


I too was disappointed to hear some of the opinions of the recruiters in the webinar today- in particular, from Todd.
A self described “old school garmento” he went on to express his opinions which epitomized much of what is old, and dated, in the fashion industry.
First is the inability to visualize what a remote- or even what semi-remote- role would look like, and how adopting new technologies can actually increase productivity and communication across departments. Yes- we are PRODUCT people- and we do need to see, touch and collaborate in person. BUT… we also need “Heads Down Time” (ie: no meetings, just deep focused work) and often this can be done remotely part of the time. Tools like Slack, Videochat, and Messenging programs are great way to bridge the disconnect. So no, Todd… your idea of “Butts In Seats” is an outdated view, and many younger people (and Gen Xer’s like me) are embracing this as a opportunity to cut down on commute time and instead work in a productive, no water-cooler-chat method.
Another thing that Todd mentioned was that he would never consider representing someone who only stayed at each company for 2 years. Ummm, hello- I don’t know who these people are that are lucky enough to stay at each company for 6-8 years, but every single person I have met in the industry has had something called LIFE happen to them. Companies close, or have a Re-Org. Start ups fail, or get sold. Companies move or downsize. Your own life happens- maybe you move, or have a baby, or God forbid, you decide to take on a new challenge. But mostly, I think people work at a company, learn as much as they can, and then realize- after seeing the way the company operates- that they will most likely never get a promotion or pay increase unless they move on. I spent most of my career in Design… and let me tell you, I’m sure XXXX company would have been happy to keep me on for years as a design asst and pay me my $25,000 salary. But I wanted to do more, and it took moving on to command increasingly higher titles and pay. That’s just the way it works.
In fact, whenever I find someone in DESIGN who has been in the same position for 8, 10, 12 years, it immediately makes me suspicious. It makes me think that perhaps their designs are stale, and that they are a “one-trick pony” who only knows how to work in that one product category, and will regurgitate the same designs for me. Moving companies can get you new ideas, new methods of working, reduce burn out and increase creativity.
In addition, I find these outdated methods of staying years at a company increasingly ridiculous, as so many companies are hiring Temps and freelance roles. You only want to hire people with long loyal stays… but yet you don’t want the commitment of hiring a Full Time tech designer, so you patchwork the role with freelancers? Freelancers can be great… but just know that within many freelancers there is person, needing work, and often they want full time work, but they take freelance roles FOR NOW to pay the bills. I’ve freelanced in downtimes- between jobs- but I always wanted something full time & steady. By freelancing, I’ve been able to pay my rent, stay current in my industry, meet new people-- but it can make my “resume” look patchwork.(And yes, I do weed out these phases on my resume, and eliminate gaps-- but hey, sometimes you have to do what you gotta do).
Other than the advice which we should already know by now-- “Update Your Resume & Portfolio! Tailor your resume and portfolio to the role! Have an online portfolio! Don’t use an AOL email!” I didn’t really hear anything I didn’t already know before. From Todd and Janice, it was a very old school, NY garmento mentality, with a focus on getting back to the old ways of doing business. I was hoping for something a little more visionary; a little more excitement about embracing new ways of working and job hunting. Instead this seminar was much of the same old, same old. I guess in the case of Todd and Janice, sometimes you can’t teach a old dog new tricks. And while I respect their industry expertise, I feel like having them act as recruitment “gatekeepers” is what is keeping this industry stale and unable to adapt to new ways of thinking, as they are funneling out job-seekers who don’t prescribe to their antiquated ideals.
I’d love to hear a webinar about new and potentially exciting new changes that may be coming about due to covid- about how retail might pivot; rise of e-com; start ups and their mentality, etc. This is a whole new world out there- we might as well embrace it!


I also was disappointed in the webinar that Janice made a point to say something about how some job seekers didn’t want to work overtime, and how that hurt their chances.
While I believe their should be a more delicately phrased inquiry about this-- this is a valid point and something you should try to find out when searching for a new job. (Tell me about your work/life balance and company culture?).
I’m not at all lazy, and have spent MANY nights late at the office throughout my 20 year career. However, sussing out this information is important to me. Working the occasional evening(s) before a big presentation is fine; being expected to work late every night and come in every weekend is something I’m no longer interested in doing.


this is an old topic but the site suggested it to me and I have figured out a way to address this in my resume as I spent many many years as a freelancer at the start of my career.

What I suggest is to group by role. an example:

Associate designer, temp. month/year - month/year
made sure to have this description be notably different from the prior listing. Note if you owned any project, had to report to anyone notable, or if you gave tasks to assistants or interns. again, list brands in order of prestige.

Print repeat designer, temp. date - date
If you have a role that’s notably different that you want to highlight because of skills required or whatever then you can break it out on it’s own.

Assistant designer, temp. month/year - month/year
Worked as an agency placed temporary assistant for an agency doing tasks such as X, Y, and Z.
brand placements include brands, listed, in, order, of, prestige.

Lastly, I didn’t watch the webinar in question, but I assume the Todd in question is Todd Wayne from Jessilyn in NYC. I wouldn’t give his comments much weight. He’s widely known to be super out of touch and a complete ass.


An absolute a–. Only horrible experiences with him throughout my career.


I counsel people to have a section called FREELANCE WORK or FREELANCE CLIENTS and list the companies, titles and dates below it.

This should be separate from the EXPERIENCE section of your resume.