In the past, people at all stages of their career were expected to stay at a company for a certain amount of time before moving on (if at all!) this way of working is especially relevant for older workers who may be settled in their jobs and just want to be seen through to retirement. In the past, that’s what a ‘career’ was all about; becoming established at a company, possibly working your way up the career ladder and having years of experience that way – possibly moving companies twice or three times. ‘Job-hopping’ was never seen as a good thing because it has implications of low-loyalty, impatience and possibly conflicts at each company. However, job-hopping can actually be a good thing. It’s gaining in popularity which is changing the job market for people of all ages. Here’s why and how changing jobs a bit more frequently can benefit your career:
Career path – sorted
You can figure out a more accurate career path earlier on if you experiment with a number of jobs. No longer can you avoid the dreaded career question: ‘what do you want to do?’ If you don’t know, job-hopping can help you figure it out a whole lot quicker.
You may feel you have a bigger sense of control over your career (and your salary) by job-hopping. Why slog for months at your current job when another company can give you what you want financially? Money is always a motive to move – but don’t make it the only one.
With each job you have, you’re guaranteed to be learning new skills whether you know it or not. It could be different people skills as your colleagues will change – or it could be something more industrious like new machinery, software or processes. In the long term this makes you very employable.
Always motivated, never bored
Staying in the same company for years on end isn’t for everyone. Especially if you join a company quite young – do you want to give your best years to that one company? If so, great! If not, then after a while motivation can decrease and you’ll become disengaged with your job. Job-hopping keeps your motivation levels high, because you’ll probably move on when they start to drop. Similarly, if you get bored easily in a job then moving on can be a good thing – as you’ll face new challenges wherever you go.
Along with the skills you’ll learn in each role you do, you’ll also get yourself a host of new contacts along the way. Contacts who may be able to help you with your next career step or in turn contacts who you can help too. The networking opportunities job-hopping gives you from moving companies can be invaluable to your long term career. As long as you nurture these contacts, there’s no disadvantage to it.
Job-hopping can give you a real sense of what’s going on in your sector or industry. Look out for patterns in each job to see what the common occurrences are, both good and bad. This knowledge can give you foresight and guidance in your future career.
You’ll become adaptable to change
One of the biggest downfalls of being in a company for a long time is that it can give you a resistance to change. People who are comfortable can easily become set in their ways and don’t want anything to change. If you’re a job-hopper, change is one of the things you’re so used to that it’s never a problem. Start-up companies love innovate people who are reactive and know what to do, no matter what the situation is. Nowadays with so much political and financial uncertainty, companies must be able to handle situations as they happen.
Things you need to be aware of
Firstly, there’s a big difference between job-hopping and career-hopping! One is a lot harder to explain at an interview than the other. You can always change your career up – but doing it randomly and spontaneously makes your CV and job history look messy and unorganised, with no direction.
Also, job-hopping with gaps in your employment in between jobs can look more damaging on a CV than having a solid streak of employment. Having gaps in your CV implies you left those jobs suddenly with no plans of what to do next – which overall indicates that you were asked to leave, or left under negative circumstances. This isn’t always the case, but it something you should be prepared to be asked about.
Have you taken part in training or some kind of extra education in any of your jobs? Taking courses and the like shows that your long-term career is still somewhat thought-out and planned – even if you’ve been in a few more jobs than you’d like over the years.
Make sure you have a rough idea of what your short-term and long-term goals are, both professionally and personally. If something isn’t going your way, that’s not an excuse to job-hop right away. Alternatively if something isn’t going away despite your best efforts then looking elsewhere can work well for you.
Your reasons for leaving a previous job need to make sense and be reasonable. Whether it’s because of a fixed-term contract or a restructure in the company, or even because you hit your glass ceiling – you need to be able to explain your job moves in an interview without scaring the interviewer. Being bored, unmotivated, disengaged and generally ‘stuck’ in a job isn’t a good reason to bring up for leaving.
Make sure that you have achieved something in each of your many roles. You want to be able to have something to shout about when you get your job interview. Whether it’s a huge increase in sales or a project that went out on time, you want to make sure you have some good accomplishments from each job. That way it shows you were a hard worker in each job – and didn’t just drift along.
No matter how old you are, job-hopping is becoming increasingly more common and it can benefit your career massively. There are a few thing to be aware of as gaps in your CV can look bad – but if you have achievements, good contacts, skills and more from each role then your path to success may be closer than you think.