Is Job Hopping a Bad Thing?
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- Job hopping used to be considered a bad idea, but not anymore.
- Still, there are pros and cons.
- Job hopping can lead to a higher salary, but may cause a negative perception.
For years, moving quickly from one job to the next — often called "job hopping" — was considered a bad idea. Job hoppers were thought to be unstable employees who just wouldn't stay put.
But like gaps on a resume, job hopping is slowly becoming less taboo. Hiring managers are far less likely to see job hopping as a negative thing, as long as your reasons for doing it are rock solid.
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So, when is job hopping useful? When is it not? What are the ups and downs? Here's what you should know about job hopping.
Upside: You Can Increase Your Salary
When done right, job hopping can help you increase your salary. A 2021 study by ADP found job switchers increased their salary by 8% compared to 5.5% for workers who stayed.
Anjela Mangrum, founder and president of Mangrum Career Solutions and a certified personnel consultant said job hopping can be better than waiting for a raise. It can be especially helpful for professionals in their early-to-mid-20s.
Magnum said: "For relatively young people, I always recommend taking advantage of their early years in their field, and looking for better-paying positions as soon as the first year and a half are over."
Downside: You May Look Like a Risky Hire
A big downside to job hopping is the danger of looking like a risky hire. Andrew Lokenauth, a hiring manager and career coach, said many hiring managers tend to stay away from candidates who repeatedly stay at a job for only a year or less.
"No one wants to spend their time training a candidate and then that candidate leaves after a year," Lokenauth said. "For many hiring managers, it can be counter-productive to extend an offer to a candidate without a stable job history, due to the risk of them leaving."
So, How Long Should You Stay at a Job?
According to experts, the old rule of staying at a job for at least a year is still the standard. Staying put for two to three years is preferable in the eyes of some hiring managers.
"Changing workplaces frequently might seem harmless the first three times or so, but it will hurt your chances for further growth later if you keep repeating the same pattern."
— Anjela Mangrum, founder and president of Mangrum Career Solutions
Unless you have acceptable reasons for switching — such as a toxic workplace or unfair pay — multiple short-lived jobs leave open the possibility of making a bad first impression.
"Changing workplaces frequently might seem harmless the first three times or so, but it will hurt your chances for further growth later if you keep repeating the same pattern," Mangrum said. "I would suggest switching earlier than a year only if your current workplace pays grossly lower than the market average or negatively affects your physical or mental health."
Should You Rethink Job Hopping?
Sometimes, you should rethink job hopping if you lack accomplishments at your current job. Ask yourself a few questions before considering a switch:
- Do you have anything to show for yourself during the months you stayed?
- Did you somehow prove your leadership abilities or apply your problem-solving skills to situations that mattered?
- Do you have any statistics or figures to demonstrate any improvement you brought to the organization since you started?
If your answer is no to these questions, it may be better to work some more in your current role and gain "evidence" that you're qualified and skilled enough to do the job.
"Because your next employer will be interested in knowing that before they hire you," Mangrum said. "Unless your employer, colleagues, or work conditions are hindering your efforts in some way, try making a difference where you are before moving on."
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