Does job hopping affect your career?

Job hopping is becoming more common across all sectors. Unlike previous generations who tended to stay grounded with a particular organisation for decades, young workers are more likely to change roles and/or employers every few years.

But the real question is why? What are the benefits of job hopping? And, are there any repercussions?

What is ‘job hopping’?

does-job-hopping-affect-career

People who ‘job hop’ tend to take on a new role for two years or less. They could leave for a number of reasons, whether they discover a new role that’s more challenging, they receive a better offer from another organisation or simply desire to be in a different environment.

Sometimes, job hopping suits younger workers who are still trying to discover what their skills are best suited for. Ultimately, it means that they’re around long enough to have an impact on the organisation but not quite long enough to see long term impact.

Are there any benefits to job hopping?

While many people assume that job hopping completely damages your career, there are a number of reasons that regularly changing roles can be beneficial (to both the employer and job seeker).

  • Developing skills: learning new skills that a role requires can make you more employable. Job hopping isn’t something to be done on a whim – it can be a strategic move that enables you to gain experience in a slightly different area and develop valuable skills that allow you to climb the career ladder.
  • Building a network: changing roles allows you to meet new people and diversifies your network. Your career isn’t just about what you know, but who you know.
  • Better understanding of the sector: job hopping within the charity sector in particular, can allow you to get to grips with the ins and outs of a department. Take Fundraisers for example, they usually stay in a role for 18 months. The sheer pace of this field means that a Fundraisers role is constantly changing.
  • Direct your career: by exploring other career options, you give yourself an opportunity to push yourself in the right direction.
  • Adapt to new environments: changing jobs also means that you become adaptable by integrating yourself within a team and picking up on what’s required of them pretty quickly.

Does job hopping affect your career?

What does job hopping look like to an employer?

Now it is true that employers will look for candidates who appear to be loyal and stable. As organisations in the charity sector are so committed to a particular cause, it’s important that they find people who are in it for the long haul. Usually, staying with a past employer for 2+ years is desirable and moving up while you’re there is a bonus.

Some of the negatives that come with job hopping are:

  • Lack of loyalty
  • No long term focus
  • Inability to contribute to an organisations’ long term success
  • Risk of past performance issues (if you’ve moved across several organisations)

Job hopping does raise a number of questions for those who are hiring. It could give them the impression that you’re likely to quit when the going gets tough, you get bored easily or just don’t see things through to the end.

How can you reduce the chances of it hurting your job hunt?

Luckily, there are a few ways that you can minimize the impact that job hopping has on a recruiters’ first impression of you.

  • Explain: when you answer the question before a recruiter has asked, it shows them that you have nothing to hide. Have a good, clear, reason for your next move to prevent the cloud of doubt from rising in their mind.
  • Share results: if you’ve genuinely managed to have an impact on the team that you were a part of, emphasise the results and how this helped the organisation thrive. Did you start an event that they now run annually? Go beyond the fundraising targets for that year? Or, form a new team? Whatever you have to share, make it very clear that you have left your mark.
  • Contract type: don’t forget to share the details of the type of job you had. Having a contracted, seasonal or temporary job is a perfectly legitimate reason for changing roles and won’t be frowned upon.

Remember that recruiters have as little as 6 seconds to get an impression of why you are when reading a CV. So don’t allow your job start and end dates dictate what type of candidate you are.

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What are the long term impacts of job hopping?

In spite of the benefits of job hopping, you do have to be careful. Studies have shown that constant fluctuations in employment can hurt your chances of future success. This can be anything from it taking longer to secure a new role to lower career satisfaction.

But job hopping isn’t to be confused with career shifting, which is when someone moves into an entirely new sector (e.g. going from the corporate to the charity sector). These people tended to have a higher level of job satisfaction during their later career (after the age of 32).

Strategically planned job-hops that were in sync with a job seekers overall career objectives, tend to have a positive impact on future employment.

Things to think about before job-hopping

Before making a decision to move to a new organisation, there are plenty of things to take into consideration and actions that you can take. So here are a few things you can do before committing to changing jobs.

  • Do your research: as we’ve mentioned, the most successful job-hops have been planned and aided a job seekers career ambitions. So make sure that you know exactly what you’re looking for in your next role and assess whether now is definitely the right time for you to start working towards that.
  • Think about changing roles within your organisation: is it time for you to step into a new role or even a new field? If you’re already happy within the organisation that you currently work for, then start there. See if there are any opportunities available that could put the spark back into your career.
  • Speak up: your managers or supervisor won’t know that you need change until you tell them. This conversation should be about the direction that you would like to take your career in and how that can happen.

Learn how to be proactive within the organisation that you’re currently working for first. If you’ve established that there just isn’t a way to improve the current situation where you are, then you have a genuine reason for wanting to leave. Determine whether the advantages of a new role outweigh the disadvantages and speak to people in your network who have experience in the role you’d like to move into.

While job hopping isn’t necessarily frowned upon, it should be done with careful consideration and with a plan in place.

Do you have any experiences or tips you’d like to add? Share them with us in the comments section below!

Jade Phillips

Marketing Manager at CharityJob. A true bookworm and social media geek, you'll find me living in pockets of online communities. Unattended snacks might go missing if left around me...

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