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Job-Hopping, is it as bad as the stigma?

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Aisling Harrison Blog, Career Advice, Lifestyle...

The name “job-hopper” is given to someone who consistently changes employer after less than two-years of service somewhere. Give or take a few years depending on some opinions.

WHY SO STIGMATISED?

Job-hopping has very negative connotations and professionals are warned not to be perceived as one. Why? Because it’s implied they are uncommitted, unreliable and disloyal to their employer.

It’s predominantly assumed that someone will job-hop to achieve a greater salary. Every company varies, but usually, promotions and salary increases are awarded to longer-term employees. The stereotype is that job-hoppers will work somewhere short-term while pursuing a new role with a higher salary.

THE EMPLOYERS PERSPECTIVE

On one hand, a so-called “job hopper” may not even be viewed as someone who regularly chooses to changes roles.

A series of less than a year stints in roles may raise concerns that someone has been repeatedly “let go”.

On the other hand, if a regular job changer does in fact come with glowing references and excellent experience on their CVs, some employers will still be distracted by their years of service.

Recruiting for new talent consumes time and resources, in addition to any training a new employee requires. Unless an employer is advertising a temporary role or a fixed-term contract, they want the person filling their vacancy to be there long-term. This is in respect to their capability to do the job, and avoiding unwanted staff turnover.

No business wants to feel like a stopgap on someone’s pursuit of bigger and better things.

However, if an employer is deterred by a “job hopper” then they should question how they retain talent.

If a company is experiencing a higher turnover of new staff, or one role in particular just can’t get someone to stick with it, then the leaders and decision-makers of that business should review this.

FINDING A NEW JOB ISN’T EASY

In addition to salary dissatisfaction, common causes for low employee retention include; a lack of career development opportunities and a toxic work environment. Don’t forget, while it’s an effort for a business to recruit, it’s is also an enormous effort for the candidate to find and successfully secure new employment.

The salary increase a job-hopper receives from a different firm is unlikely to be a massive amount if they are working in the same or similar role. Is it worth the stress and energy of finding a new job if you’re really happy with your current employer, for a slight annual salary increase?  

THE BENEFITS OF “JOB HOPPING”

Why be shamed for having multiple roles? Ultimately, you’re working and contributing to the economy. Repeatedly changing jobs after a year or less will be deemed as excessive by many; however, a diverse work history can certainly make for a very attractive candidate.  

“Job-hoppers” have a greater opportunity to travel, learn from different professionals and gain wider experiences in different industries. It also indicates that you are highly adaptable to your working environment. Also, having multiple employers implies that multiple decision-makers thought you were the best, and wanted you on their team.

If someone is actually finding themselves repeatedly unengaged after 1-year or less with a company, then maybe they should question why? Perhaps they are in the wrong role or industry. It’s not a crime to rethink how you earn a living.

THE NARRATIVE OF A JOB-HOPPER

So, if you’ve had more than two, full-time, permanent jobs in the last five-years, and you’re concerned as being considered a “job-hopper” by a potential employer, for a role you really want, you have the power to convince them you are loyal and committed.

Use a CV or a cover letter to address regular changes in roles:

“It was a fantastic opportunity to gain a broader understanding of [the role or industry], and this experienced encouraged me to pursue [a more specific area of what you were doing].”

Remember the 3 P’s. Positive. Professional. Passionate. Job hoppers are criticised for being unengaged or being quitters. Explain how you have made conscious choices to gain a variety of experience and diversify your skills. Research and promote the company you are applying for, and describe why you want to work for them.

It’s your responsibility to convince your potential employer why you are the best candidate for the role. Nowadays, very few workers have one job for life, and hiring managers know this. 

Contractors or freelancers are not shamed for regularly changing who they work for.

WILL COVID PREVENT JOB-HOPPERS?

Right now, there’s a higher volume of people who were forced to leave their last job as the UK has just entered the largest recession on record. The concept of job-hopping may feel like a thing of the past with so many desperate to secure work with greater priorities than job satisfaction motivating them.

However, there will be a higher number of people applying and accepting jobs they don’t really want right now, intending to find something more suitable when the job market and economy stabilises.

It’s not a thing of the past. So is it time to revaluate “job-hopping”?