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Job Hopping: Is it Good or Bad for Your Career?

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A recent study from FutureWorkplace confirmed that 91 percent of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years, which means that they could have as many as 20 jobs in their life. Sounds bizarre? Maybe, but with so many recent graduates becoming interested in unconventional career paths anything is possible.

Job hopping is fast replacing the concept of climbing the corporate ladder. While some people worry, other career professionals think this is not a bad thing. This article attempts to explain what job-hopping is as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

What is job-hopping?

According to The Free Dictionary’s definition, job hopping refers to the practice of changing jobs frequently, especially as a means of quick financial gain or career development. Workopolis goes one step further explaining that it refers to moving from one job to another every 12 to 36 months. It has become common amongst many millennials who find it necessary to jump between jobs, either because of lack of job security or to develop their careers.

Advantages

Job hopping certainly has its pros. A 2014 survey conducted by CareerBuilder shows that 32 percent of employers now expect their workers to job hop and about 55 percent of employers have hired a job hopper in the past. This shift has been identified in industries such as information technology, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, transportation and retail and seems like a positive step forward.

It’s beneficial for employers because…

  • You are more likely to be a top performer: if you have changed many jobs, you are more likely to know how to do your job
  • You can be a valuable insider: you can bring knowledge of the company competitors
  • You are adaptable: you are a fast learner, and you know how to build contacts quickly
  • You may be easier to recruit: you are more willing to take on new opportunities and take risks
  • You are the next generation of talent: you learn first-hand how things work in the market and can inform employers about the future workplace

It’s beneficial for you because…

  • It helps you grow your professional network: building up a powerful professional network is more important than getting the perfect CV
  • It helps you improve your skillset: you get the chance to see how other businesses work and develop your skills in ways you can’t by staying with one employer
  • It helps you gain valuable experience: a diverse background can be attractive to potential employers
  • It helps you earn more money: a new job often leads to a higher paycheck as companies are willing to pay more money for the right person
  • It can help you achieve individual fulfilment: going after what you want can help you discover your passion and purpose in life
  • You can change locations more frequently: being open to other positions allows you to relocate easier
  • It helps you search for a better cultural fit: finding the employer who offers the company culture and working environment you need can be difficult
  • It gives you a sense of achievement: getting to know what employers need and managing to make a good impression gives you a sense of accomplishment

An ambitious professional who hops into a new position can make the best out of this opportunity because they know what they want in their career. While job hopping may look like an unstable career move, some people find that it gives them greater control over their career.

Disadvantages

The reason why job hoppers aren’t considered ideal employees is that they are more likely to be a burden for an employer. In fact, they can be a huge cost for a company in the following ways:

It doesn’t work for employers because...

  • You are not loyal to the business: employers may be hesitant to hire you if it seems like you can’t stick around for long
  • You aren’t going after the trophies: it may show employers that you don’t care about anything else than yourself and progressing professionally
  • You are a waste of money: employers don’t have any reason to invest in you if you aren’t planning to stay there for long
  • You lack responsibility and commitment: as a job hopper you give the impression that you are an unreliable person who can commit easily
  • You make it difficult to secure a job: given your track record, you may be the first to go if an employer is forced to lay off employees

Some argue that job hopping doesn’t only look bad for companies, but for you as well because it can ruin your reputation.

It doesn’t work for you because...

  • It seems like you only care about money: changing jobs often might give employers the signal that you are only after money
  • You are not a serious person: employers might think that you aren’t taking them seriously and you risk burning bridges with contacts that could have been useful
  • You may have limited growth: you will miss out on seeing the long-term impact of your work, and you won’t have time to be promoted from within

The profile of a Job-hopper

There is no doubt that people who choose to job hop see the world of work differently. They change jobs like T-shirts, but they make sure to plan out their next move carefully. Getting into this kind of mindset can help us understand why they do what they do and how it works for them.

This becomes obvious when we take a closer look to their personality type. Millennials possess skills and qualities that set them apart from others. Even employers who aren’t fond of the modern millennial job hopper, admit that these individuals aren’t afraid to take the leap of faith and jump into unknown territories. As such they are often described as:

Curious: they want to find an answer to the ‘why’ of a problem, learn more things and equip themselves with different skills and experiences

Relentless: they never run out of stamina, and have an incredible resilience as far as it concerns work

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Passionate: they are after the real thing, a job that allows them to be themselves and share the enthusiasm they have with others

Daring: they enjoy taking risks and jump right into the unknown

Self-motivated: they are ambitious and interested in their professional development

But, these qualities aren’t enough to ensure that you have everything it takes to job. To do it effectively, you need to have a plan…

How to Job-hop the right way

If you want to be a successful job hopper, you need to learn how to do it properly. Come up with a plan to ensure you make the right moves.

Always have a ‘backup’ job

Successful job hoppers know when it’s time to leave. Before they quit, they always have a new position that offers them better prospects lined up. Essentially, this makes hoppers passive candidates – the type of job seekers who are always looking for the next opportunity even though they already have a job. Considering that it may take some time to land a new job, you should constantly be on the lookout and only make a move when you have another option.

Create a portfolio

As a job hopper, you are going to change positions often and have a lengthy list of qualifications, skills, and experience you want to show employers. Apart from your CV though, you will need to create an online portfolio that allows you to demonstrate what you have learned on the job and make you a more desirable candidate. The portfolio ensures that you are always promoting yourself since it’s up there for employers to see at any time.

Complete worthwhile projects

An excellent way to make yourself a more desirable candidate to potential employers is to take on as many projects as possible. This is extremely beneficial to any job hopper since it helps you make the most out of any job you hold before you move on to the next one. Completing projects gives employers tangible information about your credentials, demonstrates competence and provides proof of your achievements.

Make value propositions to employers

To make it easier for yourself to land a new job, you have to prepare. Just as any expert job hopper would do, you need to research the companies you want to work for before you start sending out your CV. After you learn more about their goals what they are currently working on, you can come up with a value proposition that informs employers what you can do to help them out. This is a clever way to get a job because not many job seekers do it, and it’s much easier for you to stand out.

Lastly, before you decide you want to say goodbye to your current employer, ask yourself the following:

  • What do you want from your career?
  • Have you made the most of your current role?
  • Why do you want new opportunities?
  • Which opportunity has the greatest long-term potential?
  • What’s your industry norm?
  • Are there any alternative employment patterns to try?

Every career move is unique and answering these questions will help you realise what the best course of action is. Doing your homework means that whatever risks you are taking you won’t end up hurting your career. If however, you want to play it safe, you have the option to reap the rewards by growing with a company.

 

Final thoughts

Job-hopping can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the reason you do it and how. While employers are starting to get used to this idea, it can still look bad for your career. If there is a real reason for the switch, employers are willing to look the other way as long as you are not doing it to earn more money. The biggest problem job-hopping causes is employment gaps, but if you know how to justify these on your CV and the job interview, you won’t have any problem with potential employers.

Moving between jobs isn’t always the ideal formula for success, as it doesn’t work for everyone. But since there is rarely a ‘job for life’ anymore, you may too find yourself in the position where you need to change a couple of jobs before you find the perfect one.

Has this ever happened to you or would you be willing to do it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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