There was a time when taking a job with a company and staying with them for the rest of your working life was the primary career goal. Over the past 20 years or so, that mindset has grown in both managers and employees wanting to see experience with a variety of companies. Nowadays, job hopping has become more common, workers and employers realize that experience with different companies will have its own benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers today average 4.2 years at the same job, but over the years that number has halved.
Despite this trend, when a recruiter sees a lot of short jobs (less than 1-2 years each) on a resume, red flags are raised. They may question whether the individual is difficult to please, unstable, unmotivated, disloyal, or difficult to work with. So how much job hopping is acceptable? And, how much time do employers want to see in each of your jobs? Employers expect to see a job change in a resume because of geography, career change, or company downsizing.
If you switch jobs early in your career, it probably won't be a problem for you, as most employers will realize you're trying to find your niche. Employers in some industries are less interested in job hopping than in others; For example, job hopping seems to be more common in media, entertainment, government, and nonprofits, while seniority is highly valued in corporate settings.
Individuals may jump jobs for a promotion, move to a more desirable position, or join a higher paying company. Here are some other reasons why employees may change jobs more often:
- To gain experience in a number of different industries and companies of varying sizes. In technology, workers can gain technical knowledge that is valuable in different environments and cultures.
- To expose different businesses, jobs and people, and build a productive connection.
- To find the most suitable and satisfying job.
- To demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and openness to change and risk.
- To accelerate career advancement.
While employers recognize the benefits of having experience in a variety of companies, industries, jobs, and environments, a resume with some work lasts 1-2 years (or less) will eventually be the obstacle. You may not be considered for a position because:
- They feel that you will be disloyal to them and will soon leave their jobs as well. They may be less willing to invest in recruiting, training and developing you than other candidates.
- They may be afraid that you will leave at the first sign of “difficulty”, such as a change in management, reorganization, budget cuts, etc.
- They may question your judgment about the companies you have chosen to join and leave.
If they hire you, you could be one of the first to get fired because your job hopping history suggests you won't be with the company for a long time.
Since loyalty is an important criterion for hiring, employers tend to value loyalty over job hopping. A resume that shows longevity with a company will make a stronger impression. Once you find a good job somewhere, consider investing time (several years) with that employer. It will not only make your resume perfect, but it will also give you the opportunity to make your mark on a company, building trust and relationships with managers that will last. during your tenure.
While hiring managers understand that job hopping is inevitable, you'll increase your chances of an interview if you craft your resume to minimize short-term work contracts. Highlight the positive contributions you've made to those employers, showing that you're a very important person to the success of specific projects or the company as a whole. Show that short-term jobs allow you to build on a diverse range of skills and experiences and that you have developed over the course of your career, increasing responsibility, scope, and achievement. If you changed jobs due to layoffs or career changes, provide a brief explanation in your cover letter. And, if you get an interview, be prepared to answer why you're leaving each company after such a short time.