As common and modern as it may seem today, job hopping was coined way back during the 1990s. Employees at the time felt more empowered to steer and manage their careers themselves, switching to new companies as needed for a promotion, acquiring new skills to strengthen their resumes, and positioning themselves for greater opportunities.
Before that, employers and employees were in tacit agreement that loyalty would be rewarded with great benefits and bonuses, including a pension that would provide sufficient comfort in retirement. This is the career philosophy most Baby Boomers started with. However, this began to break down in the 80s when massive company layoffs made employees feel disposable and replaceable.
Old and New Ways of Looking at Job Hopping
Today, employees and employers are at odds regarding job hopping. To employees, it’s one of the easiest ways to make incredible leaps in their income. To employers, it’s a bane that drains resources and can severely hurt a company’s productivity and bottom line. Both views have some grain of truth in them.
The fresh perspective of younger workers toward the value and purpose of careers has added a lot of momentum to the movement. New generations now seek more autonomy and control over their own lives. Instead of letting companies effectively decide how one’s career progresses, it’s become much more sensible for workers to just switch to a new job to get the advancement they want.
There are various reasons an employee might choose to job-hop outside of just wanting a higher income. These can include better benefits, more challenging and satisfying work, a better culture fit, a healthier work-life balance, and the opportunity to gain new skills and experience. The rule of thumb for most employees looking to job-hop is to stay with a company for one to two years before jumping ship. It’s a reasonable amount of time to develop new skills and gain valuable experience from a position.
However, job-hoppers should also be aware of the downsides of doing this throughout their career. It can make recruiters wary of you when they review your resume. Although it’s a far more accepted practice now than it was a few decades ago, there are still recruiters who will immediately flag you if you have never stayed in a job for more than a year. There’s also the constant, unavoidable need to “start over” with every new job. It can be exhausting getting to know new coworkers and learning the ropes of a new role every other year. Hopefully, you’re improving and padding your skillset and experience with every new position making each fresh start smoother.
For employers, job hoppers are an expensive problem. It can be very costly for a company to spend months training an employee up to their standards only to see them resign after just a year. It is especially an issue when they leave before they have had the chance to contribute fully to the company. There’s also the negative impact on the team that the job hopper leaves behind. The remaining team members will inevitably have to pick up the slack from losing one worker. So, it’s easy to see why companies aren’t very welcoming to employees with multiple short stints in their job history.
The Right Way to Job Hop
The most effective way to job-hop is to ensure that you gain new and significant skills and experience every time you move. You must have a deep desire to learn new things, whether in your current industry or those outside of it. If you keep jumping for higher and higher salaries without identifying what new skills or experiences you’ve gained, you will burn yourself out.
It also reflects negatively on your profile when you job-hop because you dislike the work and new responsibilities. If you keep ending up in the same position doing the same tasks with the same responsibilities, you’ll eventually end up more unhappy with only a resume full of red flags to show for it.
There must be a forward narrative in the jobs you choose. Your resume should show that you have earned each new position from the experience and skills you’ve acquired from your previous ones. It may not necessarily be a straight line—most aren’t anyway—but it should show progress. To recruiters, this can tell a cohesive and engaging story about your career.
Evaluating, planning, and being intentional about your job hopping will give you the best chances to become more successful in your career—wherever it may lead you.
Pivot and Grow at iSupport Worldwide
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We give our workers all the resources and training they need to become the best at their work. If you’re curious about what positions we have open and what we can offer for your career growth.