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Job-hopping: How much is too much? Pros and cons

We all probably know people who stay long term in their jobs or even work for the same employer for their entire lives. We also know people who switch jobs way too often. When it comes to one’s career, it is important to make the right decisions and sometimes, this is not quite straightforward.

In today’s article, we address a question many of us have probably wondered a lot: is it a good idea to make too many job switches?

The thing about switching jobs is that we are often unsure about what is the appropriate time to stick with the current role before making the switch. When one has a little too many job switches reflected in the CV, it most certainly means one of the two things: either that you are an ambitious individual who is certain about their expectations from their career, or the other side of the scale: that you are a fickle-minded person. The decisions one takes with regard to job switching can determine the kind of opportunities that come your way in the future.

What is job hopping?

Broadly speaking, job hopping is defined as staying short term at a job, say under two years. While switching jobs every two-three years is a norm in several countries across various industries, it may not reflect entirely positively on your career, since opinions on this subject are often mixed. While changing jobs every two years can mean that the employee can negotiate for better pay raise, it is most certainly not an ideal situation from the perspective of an employer, mainly due to the increased cost of hiring new resources and the time to be spent training the new employees.

When it comes to job hopping, there’s really no magic number that anyone can give you. What’s the appropriate number of job changes one can make without it looking bad in your resume? While it is difficult to land on a clear answer to this question, it is also important to realise that there might not be a magic number at all. This is because it can vary depending on the country that you work in, your personal goals and expectations, the kind of industry you work in and most importantly, the growth trajectory you want to embark on.

This does not, in any way, mean that job hopping is a strict no-no. The deciding factor there is whether you are able to clearly and logically explain to hiring managers the motivations behind the switches.

Changing attitudes

Unlike older generations for whom loyalty meant staying long term at a job even when they lacked motivation to continue, this is not the case anymore. There is a greater level of tolerance and it is widely accepted that employees will explore better options. One of the main advantages of job hopping is the kind of network that one can build over the years. When communicated efficiently, the connections you build from being associated with multiple companies can be highly beneficial. Job hopping can also mean that you are not stagnant at your current role. This creates more room to learn new skills and explore new possibilities.

However, staying short term at consecutive roles may not reflect too positively on you, especially if the switches are made too often. Doing so can also mean that you cannot reap the fringe benefits that come from staying longer at a certain company; for instance, retirement benefits, personal training funds, shares, etc.

The right time

Being aware of the right time to make the switch is as important as choosing the right role and company. When choosing a new role, make sure to take into consideration, learnings from your current or previous positions so that you can ensure that you’re moving forward in your career. When done professionally and ethically, job hopping can be beneficial in many ways. Evaluate your job hopping strategy often so that you can actively avoid the dilemma with which we started this article - how much job hopping is too much?

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