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10 Reasons Job-Hopping is Your Only Chance

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Gen Y came out of college exploring one job to another (to another). But when the recession hit, many said the days of job-hopping were over.

Yet there’s no reason to be scared into longevity at your current position. Here are 10 reasons to keep job-hopping:

1. Job-hopping allows you to widen your choice of jobs, not narrow it

When you have more experience in a wide range of positions, you’ll be able to increase your skill set. As long as you’re comfortable and adept at describing your transferable skills, you can easily act as a chameleon and morph from your current position to your dream job.

However, if you don’t know what transferable skills are, you may need to stay put.

2. No need to impress people you’ve never met

Many people, primarily HR managers, warn against job-hopping so you can theoretically impress another HR manager in the future—one you haven’t met yet. Besides the fact that you probably won’t be on the same career path a few years from now, let alone in the same industry, there’s no reason to build your career around what HR managers want.

Instead, impress yourself. Keep your own commitments and promises, and you’ll be fine.

3. Loyalty no longer exists

Your company is not loyal. Your boss is not loyal. Employees are never put first. More than ever, every job is unstable. It’s now more secure to build your own unique career from scratch.

So don’t show loyalty to a company that is not loyal to you. Now, that doesn’t mean ignoring your work or being disrespectful to the people who put money in your bank account, but it does mean being realistic in your career planning.

4. Job-hopping is a precursor to the future of careers

Careers are no longer linear. Instead, you will piece together positions and opportunities to fully form your career puzzle. You’ll have six to eight jobs before you’re 30, and you certainly won’t settle into the same company for the rest of your life after that.

As the idea of careers shift toward more contract work and portfolio careers, you can prepare by realizing results quickly and providing massive value.

5. Your network—not your resume—gets you jobs

When you job-hop, you expand your network tenfold. You meet more people: coworkers, managers, partners, influencers, leaders. And it’s your network, not your list of positions, that will get you in the door at the next job.

While you can and should apply with your cover letter and resume, when your network can recommend you for a position, it is much easier to advance your career.

6. Get a substantial raise and title upgrade

It’s better to find a new job that pays well and has a great title than to try and convince your existing company to give you a raise and a promotion. After all, you signed their contract. And it’s cheaper for them to keep you in your place.

When you ask for a raise, you’ll likely only receive a two to three percent increase. When you job-hop, the typical increase in income is 20 to 30 percent. Enough said.

7. You don’t know what you like until you do it

A slim minority of us fall right away into careers that are representative of our dream jobs. Everyone else gets stuck in jobs we hate.

While you can try to journal and vision-board your way into a soul-enriching career, it’s quicker and more effective to try several different positions until you discover what you truly enjoy. Action is quicker than thought—so don’t guess; go out and do.

8. Companies don’t move as fast as results

From startups to large corporations, every organization is fighting against some sort of barrier, whether it’s lack of money or lots of bureaucracy.

You may bring stellar results in the first three to six months, but by the time a year rolls around, your plate is likely devoid of challenge and meaningful work. Job-hopping means you always have relevant tasks to work on and can continually create positive impact.

9. The recession is a great excuse for high-performers

Naysayers warn Gen Y not to job-hop since it supposedly looks bad. But when Negative Nancies hunker down, it’s the perfect opportunity for high-performers to get out and fight. The recession is your excuse, as a high-performer in particular, to take risks and reap big rewards.

If it doesn’t work out, well, it’s been a bumpy ride for everyone. But the odds are in your favor.

10. Your talent is desperately needed

If you love your job, then for goodness sake, hold onto it with all your might.

But the truth is, the majority of Gen Y is disillusioned and dissatisfied with their careers. The longer you stay in a position that doesn’t fulfill you, the longer you cheat the world of your unique talents and gifts.

So whether you love picking out an accent pillow or get pleasure from financial projections, go on: get after it!

Rebecca Thorman’s blog Kontrary offers tips to create the career, bank account and life you love and is a popular destination for young professionals. Her goal is to help you find meaningful work, enjoy the heck out of it and earn more money.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1111385 Scott Britton

    Number 7 is a point that I think is particularly interesting for young people to understand.

    In startups (my industry) the term fail fast, fail often has been widely popularized. The idea is that the faster we know something doesn’t work, the quicker we can iterate to find something that does and focus on building that.

    I think this is a powerful framework to apply to our careers. The faster we can get to a career that we’re passionate about, the earlier we can begin building it into something great. If the only way to uncover this state is to try things, then there is no reason to hesitate jumping if we’re not happy about the position we’re currently in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1410150 Margot Dempsey

    some really good points in this article about job-hopping.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=271703022904314 Careerleaf

    Thank you for this article, Rebecca! Job seekers are prefaced on the idea that job hopping could ruin their career. This certainly isn’t always the case. There are many great points in this article, but the ones related to learning more about your career path and expanding your network are the most important. Job seekers should not stay where they are dissatisfied. This doesn’t mean running off on your first bad day, but it does mean securing another job in due time. Search for what you are most passionate about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=783632572 Barbara Saunders

    Regarding impressing HR people: Even where HR professionals have preferences, those preferences vary – as does the definition of “job hopping.” I’ve worked in HR at a company where hiring managers and HR looked askance at people who’d spent 5 or 10 years in the same job. I’ve worked at other places where some employees has 20 year tenures, and people worried that job applicants with 3-4 years in their previous job were “unstable.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1361997890 Mike Klein

    In the past several years, I’ve had few recruiters or hiring managers notice favorably my long time in service for my first employer. What impresses them more are the series of companies and positions I’ve held since. IMO, these days, you’ve got a more impressive resume with a list of good companies and job titles on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001751992335 Christopher Costa

    Scott, I agree with you 100%. Though, I think one can still explore other options without leaving their current job. We can volunteer, (as the article mentioned) network with the people that are where you want to be (who knows maybe they can bring you along for a ride), part time work is always a plus for most owners/management (no benefits payout). I do think following your dreams is key, especially when a lot of us haven’t had the opportunity to explore much and find out what our real aspirations are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1421171619 Gwend Gregory

    Great article. I am not gen x. However this baby boomer agrees Gee

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=36816754 Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo

    The one thing you have to worry about is less time and more ‘accomplishments.’ At a certain point in your career people are less interested in the tasks you’ve done and more interested in the accomplishments you’ve accumulated. Switching too often can make your accomplishments look weak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1437607870 Andre Mboule

    Reason no. 2 may suggest that job interviews are useless because they will never reflect the candidate’s talent and suitability to the post! I confirm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002541150265 Mina Grace Drake

    Great article and a lot of good insights in the comments. I believe when it comes to ‘job hopping’, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Each organization is ultimately a subculture and some cultures can easily appreciate the diverse skill set and varied accomplishments job hopping provides. Other organizations I will generalize as ‘old school’ may see the applicant as scattered. I believe in today’s job market, seekers are paying more attention to a company’s culture so if the organization doesn’t recognize the value of your work history, it may be a sign that it is not the place for you.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001121325846 Marc Collins

    Great article, though depending on where you go job hopping is looked upon as a negative. However, in today’s economy where the great job of today can be located abroad the next, casting the widest net and pursuing a career in line with your goals and aspirations is ultimately the best strategy.

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  • Ryan

    HR personnel isn’t exactly out in the trenches with people looking for jobs to survive. So many recruiters job hop anyways, that’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

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