Job hopping and what it can mean for your career

Job hopping and what it can mean for your career

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Job hopping can be described as the frequent changing of jobs. In many of our interactions with professionals in different fields, we’ve met individuals who inquire about how moving through different positions reflects on them as jobseekers, and what they can gain or lose from job hopping.While we may enjoy the benefits of trying new things throughout our career, is the grass always greener on the other side? 
job hopping


Job hopping may sometimes be necessitated by certain events or changes that take place in an organization as well as the nature of roles performed, sometimes this may be a personal decision. We want to share with you how job hopping elevates or disrupts your career depending on the timing of your decision by looking at the pros and cons.

Let’s first look at some of the positive outcomes associated with job hopping every so often:

Growth opportunity: Young professionals are drawn to companies that provide them with upward mobility and professional development. This may be a given in most cases, as we generally would move to an organization that potentially gives the opportunity to rise through the ranks faster.

While a promotion may not be the initial prize, a horizontal move is sometimes necessary to give you the opportunity to progress vertically. Gaining exposure within different departments in your organization can provide immense growth opportunities and make you a more well-rounded professional.

Salary bump: If your main goal at work is to make money, then job hopping may give you the opportunity to attain this much faster than going through annual reviews at your current organization. However, this is not a guarantee for everyone.

You might want to ask yourself: Am I avoiding annual reviews? Perhaps by sticking with a company, you can receive valuable feedback and grow even more professionally than you would by jumping ship.

Diversify your skills: Job hopping allows an individual to sharpen a wide range of skill sets through experience gained in different industries, as well as exposure to different kinds of challenges. A candidate with diverse experience and background appears more attractive to a potential employer, as they are an “all in one” candidate and with fresh ideas and new ways of doing things.

Show some of your best attributes: Job hopping may showcase a candidate’s ability to easily adapt to different environments. If you are able to deliver in a short time frame, it will further show that you are potentially a fast learner.

Building a large professional network: From a diverse employment background, a candidate can forge strong professional relationships that would potentially be very useful in future. That said, it can be difficult to build solid relationships and credibility if you are not at a single organization for very long.

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the positive aspects of switching jobs, let’s move on to the flip side – how this might negatively affect one’s career:

Risk of appearing unreliable: An individual may appear unreliable if they have a recurring tendency to switch jobs every few months or years. An employer might assume that you will shift gears at the first sight of routine or boredom. Consider the signals you are sending by frequently job hopping. Is a hiring manager going to express concern in bringing you on board if your CV shows an employee who is constantly on the move?

Reluctance to invest in your growth: The best employers encourage their employees to grow both as a professional and within the organization. They might spend time teaching the employee new skills, mentoring them about their career path, or coaching them to improve on their weaknesses. They may also do this formally by sponsoring an individual’s studies to further their education or enroll employees in valuable trainings.

If you have a reputation of not sticking around, the employer may pass on extending an offer to you on such opportunities since they would presume it to be a waste of time and resources on their end.

Shows a lack of focus and commitment: Job hopping has a tendency to portray negative traits in a candidate as it can show that you are unstable and lack clear career objectives. It can also be difficult to explain that you actually made an impact in the former organizations you worked at within the short period you were there.

While changing jobs is not a bad thing, it is important to consider some of these factors while evaluating your options.

Furthermore, job hopping can be detrimental to your long-term career goals. You may tend to move around the same position in different companies since you have not gained enough experience to warrant a promotion at a new organization.

Individuals with a history of shifting companies at a moderate pace and showing a pattern of upward movement, increased responsibility, and increased experience, would ideally appear more valuable to an organization.

We’d also like to hear from you, do let us know how your professional journey has been. Let us know any other professional development topics you’d like us to tackle or give insights on.


Related: Moving laterally to move upwards

Related: Harvard Business Review: Job-Hopping