The Truth About Job Hopping

Ever thought about whether job hopping is a wise career move? If you’re old-fashioned like me, you probably concluded it wasn’t. But hold on – playing devil’s advocate here! Let me remind you of a Fast Company article I shared a while back. It claims that job hopping can actually enhance learning, performance, and loyalty. Wait, what?! Do Talent Acquisition leaders worldwide really believe in this concept?

Let’s break it down.

According to the article, switching jobs every three years is key for developing quick job-getting skills and ensuring career stability. But not everyone agrees. (It’s me, hi, I’m the problem! It’s me!)

The truth is, that hiring managers often see job hoppers as a red flag. It might signal a lack of commitment or trouble sticking to a role. While some job hopping could be due to a bad company fit, relocation, etc, repeating the same pattern might make them question your decision-making.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “But Timmy, there’s more money in job hopping!” Well, let me not be the first to tell you, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, right?

Looking back on my own experience, I hopped jobs early in my career, chasing an executive title. In hindsight, not my smartest move, maybe even my dumbest. Job hopping, as the article suggests, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Here’s the deal: Avoid job hopping. For every person that it helps, it will hurt ten others. Most hiring managers don’t like seeing a resume filled with short stints, raising doubts about your stability.

So, stuck in the job hopper cycle? How do you make it look better?

Bundle your projects under one consulting job, creating the illusion of a cohesive work history. Many IT folks are doing this as contingent workers, handling multiple projects under a single brand. It’s not perfect, but it makes your resume look better.

Job hopping isn’t the career move it’s made out to be. If your career feels stuck, make a change strategically. Most careers don’t stall in just 2-3 years.

2 thoughts on “The Truth About Job Hopping

  1. I’m a “millennial” and I’ve worked at the same company for over 9 years, in two different roles during that time. Unfortunately, a lot of people from my generation are given what I believe to be misguided advice that if you are not advancing within an organization every 3-4 years you should move on. Why do I disagree with this advice? Well, first of all, I wasn’t even efficient in my current role yet at year 3 because of that worldwide pandemic thing that happened. That threw such a wrench in so many things and hindered my growth and development in my role. My focus completely shifted for 18+ months to keeping up with the latest CDC guidelines, and making sure our office was properly sanitized, and making sure I communicated clearly with our leadership team and every single positive or exposed individual. Secondly, (and I count myself blessed due to this) I have found a company I love that works toward a mission I believe in. I appreciate the people I work with because they too value and live our mission, and I feel like an important member of a team. Why would I leave this organization? For more money? For a better title? This company has taken care of me thus far, and I believe they will continue to do so if I take care of them and continue to be a contributing member of my team. I say I consider myself blessed, because not all of my friends have been so lucky to find a place where they feel a sense of belonging early in their careers (I was 25.)

    From a recruiting perspective, job stints of 2 years or less have me more concerned than a stint of 3 years, and it may depend on the types of jobs they’ve had. Are they a young or inexperienced person who has only had “jobs” in order to get by, and now they’re ready to shift their focus and build a career? The people who have been in the workforce for a while and are making a change every 6 – 18 months are the ones that scare me. We have taken hiring risks on people who appeared to be job hoppers but were able to explain it away, or maybe the candidate made us believe they just had not had luck finding the right fit. I don’t think a single person that we had job hopping doubts about has ever made it to the 1 year mark. We will probably continue to take chances on them occasionally in hopes that they pan out, as long as they meet our qualifications, and we can meet their salary expectations.

  2. When I started my career in the mid 80’s, I was an 18-24 months and out type of gal. I go bored really easily in my jobs and thought the only way to continue to learn and grow is to change employers. I was wrong.

    I did learn a lot about a multitude of industries and jobs…I was a recruiter. But what I didn’t learn was how to stick around and grow WITH a company. I was able to use this experience to move into higher level roles and to earn more money, but the year I turned 30, I realized there was much more to life than money.

    I was a newlywed and a month after we got married in Indiana, we moved to Sault Ste. Marie for 3 years for a physician recruiting job. I was working too many hours at all times of the day and night and I rarely got to spend time with my husband. That was when I realized I needed some stability and structure in my next position.

    I moved into corporate recruiting and still love it.

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