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Is being a job hopper bad for your career really?

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It’s becoming the new normal now to bounce from company to company in a short space of time – getting the experience you need here and moving on to the next challenge there. The recruitment market is getting better and there are more exciting roles than ever before but is having a ‘grasshopper CV’ damaging your prospects in the longer term?

The job for life is dead

A lot has changed in the world of work in the last fifty years but surely the notion of a ‘job for life’ has to be the most noteworthy shift? In the US the average tenure is 4.6 years. In the UK it’s 1.6. According to our research, 1 in 3 Irish people will leave a new job in their first year.

There was a time when anything less than 5 years raised a red flag with employers and recruiters. Now it’s becoming rarer to see anyone with a 4+ year tenure with one company unless their role has transformed over that period.

The grass isn’t always greener

There are a lot of benefits to experiencing different roles in a shorter space of time. Firstly, having contact with different workplace cultures and industries can help you determine the right fit. There’s a steep learning curve with any company and after that, you need to work harder to find challenges and upskill. If you work in technology moving around can be preferred. It means that you have experience with different systems and architectures. Having said that, it is vital that you stay with a company long enough to see a project to fruition. This will make you more competitive. 

Secondly, people who move around supposedly earn more. Forbes estimated that those who stay in companies longer than 2 years get paid 50% less because with each new job comes an opportunity to negotiate a salary. However, there will come a point where you reach the threshold for your industry and earn the same as someone who never left.

Standing out for the right reasons

While employers and recruiters are moving with the times, there is still a certain degree of apprehension around job hopping. It raises a lot of questions. Will someone who moves around so much fit in here? Are they resilient and adaptable? These are key soft skills that companies are increasingly searching for.

A cover letter can go some way to explaining your track record. But having someone on your side can really prevent anything getting lost in translation. Going through a recruiter really is invaluable in this case. There are always legitimate reasons for leaving and a recruiter can help you figure out how best to market yourself.  

At this stage it’s important to be honest with yourself and your recruiter. Why didn’t you like the companies you left? Do you prefer a more professional environment? Did you clash with your manager? Asking these questions will help you when it gets to interview stage so that you’re comfortable accounting for your CV. It’s in your benefit to highlight what didn’t work so you can find a job that does.

When you’re thinking of moving on consider why you’re really leaving. It’s easy to jump from company to company but not so easy to shake off the opinion that you’re uncommitted or unreliable. Make the move that will benefit your long term career goals.The grass isn’t always greener, so be careful of hopping into it too hastily.

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