Everyone needs to change jobs sometime in their careers. It maybe for reasons of income, a new employer may offer a much more stable career deal, a new location for your work may offer savings in expenses, or you may need to change jobs due to personal reasons. But changing jobs too many times in a career has earned the title of “job-hopping” which traditionally tends to be frowned upon by interviewers.
There are few employers who welcome the employment process. It is expensive, likely to disrupt stable teams, and it calls for a great deal of time and administration. The prospective employer needs to know that you will be working with them for a while. If you are a serial job-hopper, then it is likely all they can look forward to is team disruption in the future. A succession of jobs may look simply like bad judgement on your part or you are running away from hard work.
Job-hopping has positives too
However, the good news is, just as many employers may see may see job-hopping as a way of offering rich experiences and networking opportunities. The key is in how you present your past activities to the best effect.
For instance, a past career of going from job to job can also suggest the prospective employee comes with a rich experience of diverse companies of varied size, different industries, teams work environment processes and challenges. Consequently, this type of activity may also suggest you are likely to bring a wealth of new ideas to the job role and innovations taken from how other industries work. So don’t hide those past jobs away at interview time – they will be picked up anyway – turn them to your own favour.
Explaining job-hopping in the interview process
Bring them out into the open if you can during the interview process where you can determine how they are perceived. Consider the type of projects you have been on. Focus on the transferable skills past roles have taught you. How can you link those past projects with the experience needed outlined in the job description for the current position?
From a personal point of view, especially at the beginning of your career, a certain amount of job-hopping allows you to experience various ways of working and decide for yourself which is the most appropriate working environment. It also allows you to zero in on your most distinctive talents and skills which only become apparent by immersing yourself in diverse industries. It is essential for your interviewer to understand that job-hopping in your early career enabled you to find your real talents and has allowed you to focus on significant role. An individual who has travelled and now has a good idea as to where they want to be is important to an employer – it suggests stability in the future.
Be aware that in the 21st century networking is an important function in most sectors of business – particularly marketing. If you have worked within various companies within the industry it is likely you will have nurtured a healthy access to important players. See this as a positive and make sure your prospective employer can see it too.
You are not on your own
The graph below shows how rife job-hopping is across different industries:
At worst, and without any explanation from yourself, a long list of past employers could suggest that you find it difficult to commit to a job role and that it will only be a short time before you get fed up and find pastures new. Analyse the reasons why you left each post before interview and make it clear that the move was to further you career by highlighting skills, knowledge and experiences you gained from each role.
It may have been a different industry from the job you are going for, but if it may well have helped to unmask or hone transferable skills which will be essential for the current vacancy. That is a big positive. Make clear at interview that you are looking for employment that can offer you a stable on-going career and will look after you as an individual.
If not handled properly, job-hopping can make you appear fickle, self-centred and a little irresponsible. It can also suggest a lack of loyalty to the companies you have been working for. A great way to win interview favour is by knowing and understanding the employers company and showing a passion for working with them. Bring together all the threads of what you have learnt in your previous jobs to present the picture of a stable candidate who is now sure of career goals and understands company loyalty.
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