What Is Job Hopping? (Plus Advantages and Disadvantages)
Job hopping refers to the practice of holding multiple jobs in a relatively short time. Frequent job changes, once seen as a cause for concern on resumes, have become more common in today's workforce. Understanding what job hopping is and how you can discuss your job changes when speaking with hiring managers could help you make effective choices and achieve your career goals.
In this article, we discuss job hopping and its advantages and disadvantages, explain how to know if you're ready to leave your job, describe how to present this occurrence positively to hiring managers and share tips for job hopping effectively.
Job hopping in today's work environment
In the past, employers typically saw job hopping as a risk, as they viewed it as a sign a candidate may be noncommittal. In recent years, job hopping has become more common, as competitive candidates seek higher pay and better titles. There are many reasons you might change jobs, including job dissatisfaction, health issues or a desire for a career change. Opportunities may also arise as the job market adjusts to changes, such as an increase in remote work and redefined product needs. Sometimes, a job ends for a reason that's out of your control, like a layoff, necessitating a fast change.
Many hiring managers recognize that today's candidates may have changed jobs more often than in the past. If you have many positions on your resume lasting less than two years, hiring managers may still want to know you left each job for a good reason. Although job hopping is more acceptable than it once was, it's vital to demonstrate desirable characteristics like dependability and a work ethic.
Read more: FAQ: Are You Changing Jobs Too Often?
Advantages of job hopping
There are several reasons changing jobs may be beneficial, including:
One of the primary reasons employees job hop is the possibility of a higher salary. Changing positions often comes with a salary increase as part of a contract. Many employees prefer to change jobs rather than wait for a raise or a bonus from their employer. If you're looking for better pay, leveraging your experience to find a new role may be the fastest way to earn the salary you desire.
Another advantage of job hopping is the opportunity for career advancement. Changing jobs can allow you to pursue a higher-level job at another company. It can also grant you opportunities to learn new skills, gain practical experience and expand your responsibilities. Changing jobs can help you advance your career more quickly, especially if there's limited potential for growth in your current role.
Another benefit of job hopping may be a move to a new city, state or country. If you want to move but your current job is unable to offer opportunities for relocation, you might take a new job in your target location. If you enjoy discovering new places and tackling new challenges, job hopping to a new location may be an appealing career option. Some employers even offer financial assistance to new hires who are relocating, so changing jobs might make a move more attainable.
If you're changing jobs frequently, you build new relationships with a new team every time you change and learn a whole new way of doing things. You improve your communication and adaptability skills, both considered valuable soft skills, as you adjust to your new work environment. Your ability to learn quickly and meet the needs of various teams might impress employers if you highlight it in your application materials and interview.
Better work environment
One of the more common reasons for job hopping is the pursuit of a better work environment. Employees who job hop can test out multiple company cultures. Most people consider factors like benefits, management styles and office atmospheres when evaluating a company's work environment. Trying out multiple jobs can help you make an informed decision concerning what kind of company culture and environment is the best fit for you.
Disadvantages of job hopping
There are also several potential disadvantages associated with job hopping, including:
Difficulty finding employment
The most common disadvantage people often associate with job hopping is the potential difficulty of finding steady work after leaving multiple positions. Hiring managers and recruiters often look at applicants' job histories and make judgments based on how long the candidate held previous positions. To minimize the chances of employers misjudging your background, discuss the reasons you left previous jobs in your cover letter or job application.
Explain why your varied background makes you an interesting candidate. For example, you might explain that you started as a receptionist and quickly excelled and moved to a junior account manager job because you wanted additional responsibility. When a recruiter contacted you with an account manager job at a different company, you pursued it because you were eager to learn more about the industry by working at a bigger organization. You can explain how each position taught you valuable skills that prepared you for the role you're seeking now.
Another disadvantage of job hopping is it can make your work history look inconsistent, as you may end up holding several job titles in a short time. Some employers may worry you were unable to gain substantial skills in each job before you moved to a different role. You can combat this by pursuing additional training in your new position to showcase your commitment and deepen your skills.
For example, if you leave an accounting job after six months because a graphic design position opened up that you wanted, commit to graphic design by pursuing certifications and taking online courses outside of work. This could show employers you take your career seriously and work hard to build the skills that are necessary to advance.
Another potential drawback of job hopping is it can promote job dissatisfaction. If you change jobs every time you encounter a problem, you may miss opportunities to learn how to handle challenges skillfully. Learning to be patient and content in your current position can help you mature in your career and develop job satisfaction. It can sometimes take two or more years to fully adjust to a new position, so allowing yourself time to acclimate is key.
You might also overcome this challenge by involving yourself in your new workplaces. Attending company events and introducing yourself to people outside your team might help you engage with the environment and build connections. This may foster a sense of belonging and help you find satisfaction in your role, motivating you to stay in the position longer.
Loss of benefits
Job hopping can cost you benefits. Insurance coverage may increase in cost and deductibles, and you may forfeit vacation time or paid time off depending on your organization's policies. You may also lose in retirement income, employer match contributions or the opportunity for fully vested benefits.
Read your company handbook carefully before leaving a position and make a plan to replace your insurance. You could negotiate with your next employer to make up for the loss. For example, if you lose vacation time you've already earned by leaving your job, you might ask for additional days in your contract to compensate.
Stress and uncertainty
Job hopping can also lead to stress and uncertainty in your personal life, as transitioning between workplaces comes with its own unique challenges. Changing jobs typically involves negotiating a new contract, meeting new people and adjusting to a new schedule. Sometimes, it may require relocating or changing your commute. Starting over in a new environment several times in a short time can be tiring, but it can be worth it if your next position brings opportunities for mental and physical wellness.
Before you job hop, take time to consider how a career change might affect your health or your family's stability. Try to choose a workplace that offers wellness perks like mental health support, a gym membership or travel stipends. These benefits may help simplify the transition and minimize your stress while adjusting to the changes.
How do you decide if you're ready to leave your job?
Choosing to quit your job is a significant decision. Here are some topics you might consider when deciding whether to resign:
1. Application of your skills and interests
One of the most important things to consider when evaluating your current position is whether you can use your skills and talents. If you feel your current employer underutilized your abilities, you might speak with your manager about opportunities to try new tasks and responsibilities. If your skills are still incompatible with your job, you may find it more rewarding to work elsewhere.
2. Opportunities for advancement
Reflect on the possibilities for promotion or advancement available with your current employer. If you want to advance to a more senior title and are unable to do so at a pace you want, it might be worthwhile to pursue more responsibility elsewhere. Consider new tasks or projects you can seek.
Some people disengage from their work because they find their job unfulfilling. If you feel like your work is ineffective and you'd rather pursue a purpose that's meaningful to you, you may choose to pursue a more rewarding job. Remember to reflect carefully on your values and interests before pursuing a new role to ensure you choose a path that aligns with your needs.
How to present job hopping positively
When hiring managers look at your resume, they may ask about why you changed jobs frequently. It's important to show you gained experience and knowledge from past positions. If you explain your job hopping the right way and turn it into an asset, it's possible to use your history to get the job you want.
Here are some tips to present your job hopping positively to hiring managers:
Refine your cover letter. Address your job history in the cover letter attached to your resume. State why you left and describe your departure as a positive move, such as an attempt to grow your career.
Restructure your resume. Many resumes list jobs chronologically, but there may be better options if you changed jobs frequently. Use a format that emphasizes skills and achievements rather than work experience, so you might choose a non-chronological resume format.
Prepare interview answers. Consider ways to present your job hopping positively during an interview. Highlight the benefits of your job changes, such as the ability to adapt quickly, and explain how you will apply those to the role you're now seeking.
Be honest. By presenting your history honestly, you are displaying your dedication to advancing your career despite challenges in the past. Additionally, discussing your job changes with the hiring manager allows them to express their concerns and lets you respond proactively by focusing on your other attributes.
Tips for job hopping successfully
If you want to change roles after less than two years at your current job, there are some techniques you can employ to minimize the risk involved. Below are some tips for job hopping with caution:
Be intentional. If employers can look at your resume and understand your career story, they might view your frequent job changes more favorably. It's important to move into roles that grow your skills and move you toward your eventual career goals.
Try to minimize gaps. If it's possible, wait until you've secured a new position to leave your role to minimize the chances of a major employment gap on your resume. Hiring managers might view this as a sign that you're a valuable candidate with in-demand skills.
Only job hop when necessary. Many hiring managers understand that sometimes a quick departure from a role makes sense, like when layoffs occur or a work environment is unhealthy, but a pattern of job hopping might affect your job prospects. Try to have some longer tenures on your resume, too, to show you're able to commit to an employer long-term.
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