6 ways job-hopping can advance your career
Job hopping gets a bad reputation, but if done the right way, switching roles and companies can be a great way to fast-track your career. Here are six advantages of broadening your experience, how soon is too soon to move on, and how to make it work for you.
1. Widens your perspective
It makes sense that the more organisations you work for and different roles you undertake, the wider your experience will be, which can only benefit your career development.
'Candidates with experience across a number of roles are highly valued by employers,' says.
Lynn Sedgwick, Managing Director of Clayton Recruitment.
'You also benefit from working with different types of people, in different settings, which can help you to understand and appreciate alternative perspectives and ways of operating. Plus, the more people you interact with, the more networking opportunities you have.'
2. Stops you getting bored
Moving on from a job after a couple of years means you never reach the stage where you get too comfortable in a role to the degree that it ultimately affects your productivity.
'It is easy to stay in a job that doesn't challenge you. By keeping on your toes at a different organisation every few years you will generally perform to a higher standard which can improve your prospects significantly,' says Lynn.
Having said that, a potential employer wants to see that you progressed in your previous role – and will be wary of candidates who jump ship because they get bored easily.
'Instead of looking outside the company after a year, can you secure a promotion, develop new skills or take on additional responsibilities? A potential employer will want to see that you mastered your previous role and brought value to the company before moving on.'
3. Improves your confidence
'Some of the most nervous job transition candidates I've worked with are those who've been in one company or a single role for a long time,' says careers coach Sam Waterfall of www.obviouscandidate.com and author of The Essential Guide To Interview Success.
Staying put too long can erode your confidence.
'If all you know is one company, one role and one way of doing things, then the world outside can seem out of reach and even terrifying.
'Moving jobs every few years can give you confidence in your ability to fit in and adjust to a new company culture and way of working.'
4. Experience is more valued than loyalty
Sometimes an employee will stick to a role believing that their loyalty will be rewarded.
'This is rarely the case,' warns Sam. 'Business these days is more inclined to reward top performers and results rather than length of tenure. Don't think that by hanging around, you're doing your career any favours.
'Potential employers are impressed by a candidate who comes to the interview and can demonstrate that they have delivered great results for several of their main competitors. The fact that you've been loyal to one company for 10 years is less impressive.'
5. You get paid more
Switching roles can also be a good way to progress your income.
'Workers who stay for an extended period in one company tend to get small annual pay rises, at best. In contrast, the top 5% of performers can progress more rapidly with bigger salary gains,' says Sam.
'If you want to earn more, moving regularly can bring faster gains. But it's not just about moving - it's about where you move to and why. Your career progression should tell a coherent story – you need to move to bigger roles and greater responsibility, not just because you fancy a change!'
Don't assume you'll move to more money – you still need to prove your worth and negotiate a great deal.
'Only "hop forward" when a particular result is achieved or a project is successfully delivered,' warns Sam. 'If you move on without delivering results, don't expect to get hired for a substantial pay rise. Money and status follow from exceptional delivery and results.'
6. Fast tracks your career
Too many people stay in a job hoping that they will eventually be rewarded with a promotion. If you've been working hard and achieving great results for more than two years, yet there's no sign of career development, it's time to look elsewhere.
'Moving positions can be a great way to advance your career. Even if the new job doesn't pay considerably more, it can be worth moving if it offers the opportunity to develop new skills and take on extra responsibilities,' says Sam.
'Manage a team of people for eighteen months, and you'll be in a much stronger position to demand a higher salary at your next job.'
How soon is too soon?
While there is no optimal time to stay in a job, moving on too many times can work against you. More than a third of employers said they would be "very likely" to look negatively on a candidate who had held five or more jobs over 10 years. A further 53% of employers would be "somewhat likely", with the remainder not concerned by the amount of jobs a candidate had had, according to a study by recruitment firm Robert Half.
'The fear for potential employers is that they will invest heavily in bringing you on board and developing you, only for you to leave the organisation six months or a year down the line without contributing very much,' says Lynn.
'Ideally, you would spend at least a year or two at each firm (unless the role is a fixed-term or interim placement), otherwise there's a good chance that some hirers will see your job-hopping as a negative trait.'If you have had shorter stints at a number of companies you need to explain this clearly in both your initial application and in the interview, otherwise it could be seen unfavourably.'