Job hopping – changing jobs frequently – has traditionally been considered a red flag when it comes to recruitment. But with switching jobs regularly becoming more common, can you make it work for you? And how will employers view your CV if you have frequent changes of employment?
The old rule of thumb used to be that you should always stay with your employer for at least two years. This shows loyalty and commitment to your role. However, there are myriad reasons why you might want or have to switch it up sooner.
If you’re really unhappy in your current workplace, then staying there for two years just for the sake of your CV could have a knock-on effect on your mental wellbeing. Maybe you’re relocating and need to change employers, or you’ve had another change in your circumstances. You might have been made redundant and be forced out of your role early on. These are all valid and acceptable reasons for a short employment, and just one or two instances of this can easily be explained at the interview stage.
But what about when job hopping becomes a far more regular occurrence? It can get a little harder to explain to a potential recruiter, and yet tactical job hopping can reap some rewards for you as an employee.
One reason you might move roles is when you’re trying to find the right fit for you. You may join a company with a specific goal in mind, such as career progression, a better work-life balance, a higher salary, etc. But when you get there and settle into the job, it’s just not what you expected at all. It’s not giving you what you were looking for in the first place, so you start looking around for new employment that will tick your boxes instead. We spend so much of our lives at work, that it helps when the role is something you enjoy and find fulfilling.
Explaining your job hopping
But how will your next employer view your previous short employment? It depends. If you have job hopped multiple times, then they might be concerned about how long you will stay with them. An employer wants to be sure that the time and money they invest in recruiting and training you will pay off. If the rest of your track record is a little more consistent, then it’s unlikely that the next hiring manager will be too worried.
When the question does come up in your next interview, then honesty is the best policy. Explain why you felt like the role wasn’t right for you, and why the one you’re applying for fits with your expectations.
If you have moved jobs multiple times in last couple of years, then you may benefit from using an agency, like Spectrum IT. This gives you the opportunity to explain your circumstances and your reasons behind the job hopping. You can draw on your experience in your previous roles to identify exactly what you’re looking for from your employment, which makes it easier to create a really targeted search – this isn’t about badmouthing your current employer; rather it’s a chance to think about what doesn’t suit you and what does. This approach adds context so that your recruitment consultant can help to relay this information to your prospective employer.
The benefits of job hopping
There are some benefits to you as an employee when it comes to job hopping. By taking on a role and gaining experience, you might be able to hop to a job at another company in a higher position in a quicker time than if you were to hold on for a promotion. This may enable you to progress through your chosen career path more quickly and increase your salary as you go.
However, there is a balancing act to be had here. While it can help you get a foot up the ladder quickly, it can damage your reputation as it can make you appear disloyal and uninvested to your companies. You can become a riskier bet in the long term. You may be able to hop between a couple of roles, but at some point you will need to settle and play the longer game when you find a good company at the right level for where you want to be.
If you enjoy working in lots of environments and gaining experience from many different places, then you might want to consider working on short-term fixed contracts, where there is an end date in sight, which is easier to explain on your CV. Or you may want to try working as an independent contractor, so that you can move more easily between different clients.
At the end of the day, this is your career. You shouldn’t stay in a role because you feel you have to, but make sure you’re leaving for the right reasons and find something that will make you feel happy and fulfilled – even if you have to try a couple of jobs out first to find that fit.
If you’d like to speak to us about how we can help you find the perfect role to fit your requirements, then get in touch with us today.