Job-hopping has been a wildly discussed topic for what seems like decades now. Where older generations believe that it will negatively impact a career in the long run, younger generations are more fond of the idea of switching jobs every here and there.
The question of whether job-hopping poses an aid or an obstacle in someone's career is, although it is also dependent on the industry and the jobs that are concerned, mostly influenced by the individual practicing it. You are the maker of your own career, and you need to decide how you want to develop professionally.
A question of generations
With the shift in the job market over the past years, which led to a growing number of Millenials and even Gen Z employees in place, job-hopping is on the rise – and it seems like the trend is here to stay.
Over the last decade, the covenant between employer and employee has profoundly changed. Attracting new employees has turned into a real war for talent, and the younger generations are well aware of their worth in the job market. “You don’t owe them anything more than a day’s work for a day’s pay” – Job hopping has become a lot more common because mainly younger employees increasingly set higher demands towards employers that go beyond pay and benefits. Read our article HR as Marketing: How Companies can build their Employer Brand to find out how to strengthen your employer brand to efficiently attract and retain talent.
Once they are in a company though, in which they feel valued and appreciated, especially millennials tend to be a lot more committed and loyal. They work longer hours and they are more likely to put their private life aside for their job.
Pros and Cons
To every pro there is a con – it is up to you to "job-hop" efficiently to make use of the advantages and eliminate the downsides along the way.
Pro: Experience & Exposure
A diverse background in terms of experience, as well as exposure to various teams and companies, can, if you communicate it well, work very much in your favor. If you switch your job rather often, it is hard to really go into depth when learning a skill, a program or anything really – Learning takes time and employers are well aware of that. This is why it is important to communicate your job-hopping positively. Convey that you, thanks to many previous jobs, have a broad experience, that you are a fast learner and hence, that you are a valuable asset to any team. Additionally, job hoppers are known to have excellent soft skills which are an increasingly important factor in terms of hiring.
Con: Questionably loyalty
Although a diverse background might come across as an advantage, it can just as easily be a drawback. The costs of hiring a new employee are, dependent on the position of course, somewhere between 10 - 20% of the annual salary of said employee, and the time it takes to be fully integrated and independent in a new positon levels off at an average of around 6 months. If a potential employer fears that a candidate will leave the job after a year they tend to instantly eliminate them from the application process to save their resources.
A very important given pro of job-hopping is the immense professional network it lets you build along the way. Networking is known to be one of the most effective “tools” for job seekers and the bigger your network the higher your chances of quickly finding a new job.
A well-connected network with a diverse background is also a great plus once you have found your position. You will always know someone who knows someone who can help you and your company to improve.
Con: Burning bridges
Although job-hopping will provide you with a broad network, it is important to ensure that the people in the network are on good terms with you. Building and establishing valuable contacts does not happen in a day or two. Leaving a job too soon might compromise your build relationships both within the company as well as external partners whom you might have been in contact with.
If you have been with the same company for a while without the prospect of growing in your career, job-hopping is a fast-track to upgrade your title, increase your pay or align your benefits. Once your position is stagnant and you feel like you do not keep on growing professionally or personally, a career move is the best chance to push yourself further.
Con: Limited growth
Although there is a chance that you would have never upgraded your position in companies you previously worked at, by leaving after only a few months you are taking away their chance of possibly proving you wrong. Companies grow and organizational structures change over time and although it might not look like it right now, there is always a chance of career growth.
How to communicate job hopping
If you have switched careers quite a lot, finding a new job will get increasingly more difficult. As we already mentioned, hiring managers will question your loyalty and your commitment and evaluate if the risk is worth the effort. Whether they trust you or not, it all comes down to how well you explain yourself now. You need to confidently convey that you have been looking for the right job and that you have not just been recklessly changing careers on a whim.
In the end, every career is unique and so are the effects a career move will have.
Do your homework and make sure to not make any decisions recklessly. To help you evaluate whether it is the right time for a career move or not, we made a short checklist with questions you should ask yourself before making a decision. Once you are aware of where you are, what you want and whether you can achieve this with your current employer, making a confident decision about a career move will be a lot easier.
Before you leave your job ask yourself:
- What do you want from your career?
- Why do you want new opportunities?
- Have you made the most out of your current job?
- Where do you have the greatest long-term potential?
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