For someone who has had 8 jobs; 9 if I count the time I was half a barista in a coffee shop in London, I do feelobliged to pen down my thoughts on job hopping. Job hopping is often considered a sign of inconsistency, instability & perhaps even disloyalty. Many recruiters find it hard to accept resumes that show short stints at different companies. However, I believe if you switch jobs for the right reasons and don’t burn bridges with your past employers, the positives overshadow the negatives and you are seen as a flexible, resourceful & successful person.
As the CEO of LaSalle Network rightly puts it, the 3 most common reasons for people to quit their jobs are:
- They don’t like their boss
- They want more money
- They don’t enjoy what they’re doing
Number 3 has been true in my case all along.
One of the best things about job hopping is you get to try different things and see what you like and dislike. In fact according to this article ,
“…today’s millennial goes through an average of 7 job changes to find out what they like and what works best for them.”
Going by that number I have probably overshot my chance to experiment! Of course there is a possibility that you may eventually get bored of doing even what you really like, if you do it too long. But that shouldn’t stop you from finding what it is and giving it a try, because the only way you achieve job satisfaction is if you do what you like.
What do you gain from job hopping?
I am constantly battling the two most famous prejudices against people (like myself) who switch jobs frequently – ” You are being inconsistent; it’ll look bad on the resume, stick around for at least 2 years” or ” Wow! 8 jobs, that’s a lot of work experience; you must be really smart”.
To put it bluntly neither is true in every case, especially not mine. Having 8 jobs doesn’t necessarily make me amazing at my work and neither does it label me as inconsistent, confused or unstable. What it does is gives me a wider skill set, greater knowledge, better networking skills and truck loads of confidence to take on new challenges which essentially adds value to me.
Every job, no matter how big or small in salary or title is an opportunity to learn. I took my chances with every single opportunity that came knocking my door, be it writing, customer service, marketing, social media, sales, teaching, being a software trainer, heck even making coffee! The list goes on…
And I am glad it does because I will never stop exploring or learning.
Every job has taught me a different skill-set and has enabled me to do well in the next role I have chosen. There hasn’t been a time where I have stagnated and I intend to keep it that way. I move the minute I stop learning or don’t enjoy my work anymore. It might look inconsistent to the HR lady of a corporate who is scanning dates and rejecting resumes, because of how quickly I changed. But with regard to skill I have only gained each time I moved.
What happens if you change too many jobs?
Like everything else in this universe, job hopping too has its pros and cons. In my opinion, the biggest downside to job hopping is missing out on your prime earning years. Typically most of us start our careers at 20 something probably as interns or trainees, and stay in the same work place till fired! Needless to say this approach almost always guarantees promotions, fancy titles, bigger offices and of course bigger bank balances. However, if you experiment with jobs during that time, then by the time you enter 30s, instead of being at your peak salaries you’ll probably be at an entry level pay, possibly in a new job. This would not have been the case had you stuck to one company/role where they would have undoubtedly paid you more money over time, but you would be positively dissatisfied.
Discovering your dream job while ensuring you are not a paupper at 35
“…the trick with job hopping is to make sure your resume always shows that you make a huge contribution wherever you go. That can be independent of job duration.
Think about this. Someone wrote a great SuperBowl ad, then six months later went to Nike and launched a new shoe that’s a success, and a year later went to Google and rebranded some of their software to increase user base 50%. Most people would not care that this person was job hopping. Most people would want to hire this person, even if he only stayed a little bit.”
The key is to show how successful you have been each time regardless of the time spent in a job. One way to do this is to highlight the following:
- What you did; and
- How well you did it
It is not enough to write your title and responsibilities. Being sales manager of a furniture store does not give your future employer a reason to hire you. But if you say, as sales manager you doubled their sales from 50,000 to 100,000 in less than six months, that talks a lot about your salesmanship.
Of course most of may not have Superbowl ads and Google on our resumes but we all have achievements. As long as we bring those to light and justify the job switch, it makes sense. Employers are only interested in hearing a story that makes sense. They wouldn’t want to hear things like the job was boring or too difficult or the people weren’t nice.
Job hopping may seem frustrating or tiresome or even directionless; but if you take cues from previous jobs and focus on the good parts it will point you in the right direction and you won’t make a mistake with your next move!