Does Job Hopping Hurt Your Resume? Job Hop Well With These 5 Tips.

You want to keep your resume to two pages, but you can’t include all of your employment.

Does a long list of jobs make you look like a job hopper?

Maybe someone who can’t commit?

Let’s look at some solutions to help with these questions:

The Job Tenure Picture

While Americans overall are not changing jobs more often than they did 10 years ago, younger workers are switching jobs much more often than older ones.

The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that the average worker between 23 and 34 years old stays with the same employer only about three years, whereas the average 45 to 54 year-olds stay an average of 7.9 years with the same organization.

Job tenure also has a lot to do with industry, too. In sectors like hospitality, high tech, and insurance, for example, tenures are only about two years. In manufacturing and government, they are much longer, around six to eight years.

Why Change Jobs?

Many of today’s jobseekers see job hopping as a strategy to move their careers forward faster.

Companies are beginning to accept this reality too. For one thing, younger jobseekers—the Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000—want to take their career development into their own hands, and that often means pursuing opportunities in many different companies.

Another factor is money. Workers sometimes job hop as a way to boost their earnings quicker or get better benefits, like more generous retirement plans or flex-time.

Most employees enjoy a 10 to 20 percent jump in salary when they leave one organization for another.

But if those same employees remain in their companies, they only get an annual raise of, on average, 1 percent.

Study of Canadian workers showing the average number of organizations a person has worked for by the age of 30. For Millennials, it’s 3.5 organizations, for Generation X’ers, only two. Source: Psychology Today

How to Job Hop Well

While job hopping is becoming more accepted by employers and might be a good thing for your career, you can still get in trouble and hurt your resume by doing it too often.

Follow these tips to do it the right way:

  1. Make slow and calculated decisions

No one can afford to make a bad job move, only to find themselves unexpectedly back on the job market too soon.

Consider your ultimate career goal. If you don’t have one yet, consider what your two or three strongest interests are.

Before job hopping, make sure you know what a good next move should be that moves you along the path toward your goal or is in line with at least one of your interests.

Do the necessary research before accepting any position.

Know the who’s, what’s, where’s, and when’s about the organization, your prospective boss, and teammates.

This will help you identify if your skills really match the position and if your values really match those of the company.

Here’s a sampling of questions to ask and get answered at interview time:

What will be consuming my time?
Who will I be working with/reporting to?
What current problems exist within the department?
What does the company expect from me?
What measurement of success will you use to determine my value to the team, department, bottom-line?

2. Remain with employers for at least two years

You’ll raise red flags with hiring managers if you have more than a couple of job tenures of two years or less.

While many organizations accept that jobseekers won’t likely remain long-term, they still expect loyalty.

And under two years doesn’t look very loyal.

Be prepared to stick it out even when the job doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d hoped. It’s important to remain steady and not be hasty or erratic at the first sign of job trouble.

3. Consider alternatives to changing employers

Instead of quitting or jumping ship—and presuming the company isn’t about to go belly-up—ask yourself if you’ve exhausted the possibilities to grow within the same organization.

Maybe you can change positions but stay with the same employer. Or ask for different/additional job responsibilities.

Many organizations will let staff do rotations in other divisions, like spending a year in HR or customer support, to deepen their knowledge of the company’s operations.

Keep in mind too that a change of boss can benefit your situation.

If your current boss has been with the company for a few years, chances are he or she might be job hopping soon! You could step into the boss’s old shoes, perhaps.

Or use the period of shake-up to gain some new responsibilities and save yourself the trouble of another job search, at least for a while

4. Never Burn Bridges

Never leave an employer in a bad position when you walk out the door, even if you have not been happy there.

Bad attitudes will come back to haunt you, and potential employers will ask for references.

Give as much notice as you can before you leave so that you can prepare the team to take over your duties. In your exit interview, give constructive feedback on how to improve work processes and culture, don’t criticize your boss or co-workers.

5. Gather Results Before You Go

Not sure if it’s too early to leave a job?

Think about what measurable results you can show on your resume from your time in this position. It can take a while to develop and launch projects and then gather the results.

But being able to show a potential employer that you took a project from start to finish successfully will help you land a bigger job at a higher salary.

So, don’t go before you have something to show for the work you’ve been doing.

A Quick Look from the Employer’s Side

Thinking about job hopping from an employer’s perspective might give you a better view of when and how often you ought to switch jobs.

First of all, hiring is expensive. It costs organizations on average $120,000 to replace a mid-level employee.

As companies continuously research, analyze, and implement strategies to improve costs, you can bet reducing employee turnover and retaining great employees is a prime focus.

With that in mind, hiring managers pay close attention to any clues in your resume that you are a reckless job hopper.

If they spot too many jobs, they’ll wonder:

Why the continued change in job roles?

Does he quit often?

Was she fired once or twice?

Why didn’t former employers successfully keep him?

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes and ask: “How would I apply hiring dollars? On a candidate who changes positions every 24-48 months, or one who possesses a committed record of employment?”

Also, when you have a large number of jobs listed on your resume it makes it difficult for hiring managers to interpret your full skill set. They can easily get distracted by the quantity of positions versus the quality of positions.

For more tips on switching jobs the right way, see:

Job Hopping Can Boost Your Career If You Do It Right

Executive Jobs: Top 5 Strategies for Finding Top-Paying Jobs

The Do’s and Don’ts of Job Hopping

Career Lessons from a Serial Job Hopper

How to Find Your Career Path

Do you need more interviews?

Hey there! My name is Teena Rose. I help millennials start and grow their careers. Will the next career be yours?