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Does Job Hopping Help or Hurt Your Career?

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“It looks bad on your resume,” or, “It shows lack of commitment.” You may have heard these comments before shared by human resources personalities online, or you may have even encountered these in person. Yet, job hopping isn’t always regarded negativity. In fact, sometimes job hopping can lead to better opportunities that you were once scared of. Also, as evident in the current trends in the workforce, especially among the younger generation, job hopping seems to be part of the new normal and is accepted in certain industries in order to gain exposure to new experiences and clients.

Find the narrative in your background and experience.

No one else will write your story but you. You have the opportunity to find the narrative in your background and experience and tell it to others the way you want your story to be told. Review your past professional experiences and look for common themes or threads that unite them together. It may be hard to identify these in the beginning, but they are surely there. The most interesting connection of stories happen when you’re able to demonstrate how an experience from a field complements another experience in a contrasting area.

For example, if you’ve worked a creative agency before, and now you work in media analytics, you can present these experiences as pieces of a puzzle in your development as a well-rounded professional, developing both the right and left sides of your brain. In the beginning they might think your experience is disjointed, but if you’re able to tie these experiences together into a clear path, they will start paying more attention to your interesting background.

Think of your career like a marathon

A mentor told me at the beginning of my career that I will have 40+ working years, and I can spend it how I want to. It was a liberating and encouraging thought to not be overly concerned about finding the perfect place to start, nor to be afraid about breaks in my career when I eventually want to take a break and do some short-term traveling.

Reflect on why you have job hopped

Think about your motivations for job hopping, and understand why you decided to job hop every time you did it. Was it due to frustration with your job or team that sent you looking elsewhere? Was it a better opportunity at a competitor who is offering a higher salary? Or was it that you’ve identified what your key strengths lie and you want to align that with your work? If the reason you left your previous jobs is closer to a complaint rather than opportunity, then it might be worth considering staying at your current job to demonstrate your ability to hold a job for a longer stretch of time.

There are many benefits to job hopping, but there are also cases when it can negatively impact your career. This happens when you don’t make a compelling case about how your job hops can benefit the next company you will be working for. Some industries look at this favorably since it shows drive and agility, while others associate it with being capricious. Job hopping makes sense when it helps you progress in your career, but be sure that these instances are strategic moves for you rather than the result of your whims.

Are you thinking about a new job? What would you want a potential new employer to know about you?

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Topics:

Career Path #Advice #New Job Career Advice
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I started working for a retail company in the visual display department, and then switched to sales at a magazine before arriving at my current job at a digital marketing agency. Although at first I couldn't see the connection, but after some time (and a lot of reading and reflecting) I've come to realize that my eye for detail came from retail, and my drive for networking and PR came from the magazine. Both are very important strengths for what I currently do.

Great post, Kristine!

Sarah Buhay
Sarah Buhay

Great article!


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