Job Hopping: A Career Beauty Or Beast?

Posted: 5/21/2014

By: Jill Reynolds, Quantix President and CEO

The common school of thought is that too many positions (job hopping) in a relatively short period of time are equal to a bad hire or a discontent employee. But is that really the case or is this a dated theory? More and more, people are reinventing their career paths during their professional lifetime.

There can be distinct advantages to job hopping. As a candidate, is it possible that frequent job changes can advance or enhance your career? Yes, but there should be strategy associated with the job changes. Money is a big motivator; a pay increase associated with a voluntary job change is usually more than a raise associated with an annual or merit increase from a current employer. Job changes can also provide a way to build a bigger and better network faster, provided your network development is done in a professional and credible manner. If you carefully plot your career path, job hopping can accelerate your experience and develop skills to help you achieve the ultimate goal of your "dream job."

As published in Forbes:
"As it turns out, job hopping can be extremely advantageous for certain types of people-if they do it for the right reasons. For those in technology, for example, it allows them the opportunity to gain valuable technical knowledge in different environments and cultures. This can be more common for those specializing in development, mobile and Project Management. While job hopping has a negative connotation; this is more about a resource providing value to a company, and then realizing there is nothing more to learn in that environment. In order to keep their skills fresh, it is necessary for technologists to remain current in a highly competitive market. Job hopping is more common with employees that are less tenured, and feel confident in their skills to be able to move on without burning a bridge and can add value immediately in a new opportunity. With employers being more open to hiring job hoppers, we expect the trend to continue."

 

Image Credit: Gozaik Blog

What does the employer think of job hoppers? It is becoming more accepted and almost expected in the workforce under the age of 35, especially in the technology sector. If you are over 40 with a track record of job hopping, a potential employer will expect you to present solid reasoning behind your job changes. In a recent report from CareerBuilder, 43% of employers polled said they would not hire a candidate with short-term employment with several employers. However, 55% of the same group said they hired someone who fell into the category of a job hopper.

If you are a job hopper or considering making a leap, make sure you have logic and a strategy behind your job changes. There is the possibility that your last position could be your "career identifier," so understand the risk to your career image. Make sure your "hopping" is defensible and you can provide an account of what you learned with each job change and what you were able to contribute to each employer. There are benefits and shortcomings to job hopping, but if done the right way and for the right reasons the benefits can outweigh the disadvantages.