Job Hopping

Job hopping - a leap forward for your career prospects or a giant step back?

We live in an age when the one-company individual no longer exists. Your father, mother or grandparents may have worked for one company their entire lives, but it is becoming commonplace to be employed by three, four or more companies during one's lifetime.

Up to a decade ago, interviewers frowned upon a resume that betrayed you as a "job hopper". However, this attitude has started to shift with industries such as technology, advertising and PR firms who have elevated job hopping to a lifestyle and a necessity to keep up with industry changes. Because of this, the tables are turning in the more traditional industries as well, and the once negative image of job hopping is now being seen as ambitious. In fact, according to one recruiter, in some industries, if you stayed at the same job for five years, you'd have some explaining to do.

However, this doesn't mean the job-hopper stigma has completely vanished. If you've got too many jobs on your resume, you could end up getting pegged as unstable, disloyal, or unable to work as part of a team, especially if these jobs are typically for terms of six months or less. Lou Adler, author of Hire with Your Head Down says, " when you look at a candidate who can't get promoted and who keeps moving in and out of lateral positions from company to company, you can't help but think 'what's wrong'?

Once you've decided it's time to move, keep these points in mind:

  1. Avoid frequent lateral moves. If you're repeatedly switching industries and you constantly feel underemployed or unfulfilled, there's probably something deeper going on. Try temping for a while, take some time to assess your skills, and figure out what you like and really want to do.
  2. Don't burn bridges. Even if you dislike your boss, your job, your office, etc., leave on good terms. If you're moving within an industry - and in one geographic area - there's a good chance your old boss has some sort of connection to your new one. Keep in touch with other people you worked closely with. You never know when you'll need a reference.
  1. Leave a positive lasting impression. When resigning, start off with a carefully thought out resignation letter, explaining the reasons why you're leaving and thanking your boss for the opportunity to learn with the company. Then make an effort to stay on for a mutually agreed time frame and train your replacement. This may take longer than the traditional two weeks, but will be appreciated and will reflect that you are still interested in the success of your replacement and any projects that you are currently working on. These actions will send a positive message to the recruitment marketplace, that you are responsible, reliable and career-focused.

Source: Michael Page International