The term "job-hopping" refers to the practice of holding multiple jobs in a relatively short time. It’s generally defined as holding a position for less than two years. Frequent job changes, once seen as a negative mark on resumes, have become more common in today’s work environment.
There are many reasons why you might change jobs, including job dissatisfaction, health issues or a desire for a career change. For some, job-hopping is inconvenient but necessary. Your position may have been eliminated or duties changed due to COVID-19. However, others purposefully use job-hopping as a means of finding their dream work situation. Opportunities may arise as the job market adjusts to changes such as an increase in remote work and redefined product needs.
In this article, we discuss job-hopping, its advantages and disadvantages and how to know if you are ready to leave your job.
Job-hopping in today’s work environment
In the past, job-hopping was often seen as a lack of commitment. That has changed, however, as the work environment has shifted. Over the past decade, job-hopping has been on the rise, especially among millennials and Generation Z as they try to settle on a career path. Past concepts of job permanence no longer apply.
Many companies have shifted from in-person to remote positions, laid off employees or taken other measures to adapt to changing times. Hiring managers recognize that potential employees now may have changed jobs more often than in the past. However, they still want to know you left your previous job for a good reason.
Read more: FAQ: Are You Changing Jobs Too Often?
Advantages of job-hopping
There are several reasons why 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 are looking for a larger paycheck to support your family or improve your lifestyle, job-hopping may be the fastest way to earning the salary you need.
Related: 15 Reasons When To Change Jobs
Another advantage of job-hopping is the opportunity for career advancement. Changing jobs allows employees to potentially pursue a higher-level job at another company. It can also grant you opportunities to learn new skills, gain practical experience or be given more responsibilities. Changing jobs can help you advance your career without having to spend years waiting for a promotion.
Related: How To Change Careers
Another benefit of job-hopping may be a move to a new city, state or country. Your current employer may not offer opportunities for relocation but taking a new job often includes moving to a new community. 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 moving may also make your job-hopping more affordable.
If you’re job-hopping, 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 become adjusted to your new work environment.
One of the more common reasons for job-hopping is the pursuit of a better work environment. Employees who job hop have the opportunity to test out multiple company cultures. Most professionals consider factors like benefits, management styles and office atmospheres when evaluating a company's work environment. Holding 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 potential difficulty finding steady work. Hiring managers and recruiters often look at applicants' job history and make judgments based on how long the candidate held previous positions. This matters because hiring managers may not take the time to ask why you chose to leave your last job. Instead, they may believe you struggle to maintain a steady position and decline to interview you.
Another disadvantage of job-hopping is it makes your work history look inconsistent. You may end up holding several different job titles during a short time. You probably did not have time to acquire many skills or much expertise in these positions and find yourself lacking the experience to advance your career. Conversely, holding the same position for five or more years provides you with consistent direction and guidance that can facilitate your improvement and growth.
Another potential drawback of job-hopping is it can promote job dissatisfaction. If you change jobs every time you encounter a problem, you may never learn to skillfully handle challenges. Learning to be patient and content in your current position can help you to mature as a professional and to be happier as an individual. It can sometimes take two or more years to fully adjust to a new position, so allowing yourself time to acclimate is key.
Loss of benefits
Job-hopping can cost you when it comes to benefits. Insurance coverage may increase in cost and deductibles. Vacation time or paid time off will be lost. You likely also lose in retirement income, employer match contributions or time to be vested.
Stress and uncertainty
Job-hopping can also lead to unnecessary stress and uncertainty in your personal life. Changing jobs typically involves negotiating a new contract, meeting new people and adjusting to a new schedule. In some cases, it means relocating your family or driving a new route. Starting over in a new environment several times in a short time can be both mentally and physically draining. Before you job hop, take time to consider how a career change might negatively impact your health or your family's stability.
How to decide if you are ready to leave your job
Choosing to quit your job is a significant decision. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether to resign:
Are your skills being utilized?
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 that your potential is not being utilized, you may find it more rewarding to work elsewhere.
Do you have opportunities for advancement?
If your employer does not offer possibilities for promotion or advancement, you may be working what is often called a "dead-end" job. If you are content with your current title, it may not be worth the effort to change jobs. However, if you look, you may be able to find a higher-level job working for another company.
Are you serving a purpose?
Many employees become dissatisfied at work because they feel their efforts are not making an impact. If you feel like your work is ineffective or not serving a meaningful purpose, you may find it worthwhile to pursue another more rewarding job.
How to present job-hopping positively
When hiring managers look at your resume, they will likely 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, you can use your history to get the job you want.
Here are some tips to present your job-hopping positively.
- Refine your cover letter: Address your job history in the cover letter attached to your resume. State why you left and describe your departure in a positive manner, such as an attempt to grow your career.
- Restructure your resume: Many resumes list jobs chronologically but this may not be the best option if you changed jobs frequently. You want a resume that highlights your unique qualifications. Use a format that emphasizes skills and achievements rather than work experience. You might list how you developed skills in different positions or summarize your career experience in a paragraph format or bulleted list.
- Prepare interview answers: Consider ways to present your job-hopping in a positive way during an interview. Play up the benefits of your job changes, such as the ability to adapt quickly, and how you will apply those to the role you are now seeking.
- Be honest: By presenting your history honestly, you are displaying you are dedicated to advancing your career despite your 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.