Could you be called a ‘Job Hopper’?
You may have heard of the term “job hopper” which basically refers to someone who constantly changes jobs. It doesn’t have the stigma it once did, but to employers its generally not an attractive attribute. But exactly how long is it acceptable before you move on from a role and what are acceptable reasons for leaving a role after a short period of employment? These are the results of our studies which could help you make a sound decision:
The perfect length of service
In a perfect world you should try to stay in a job for a minimum of two years. It takes employers time and money to recruit and train the right candidate and they don’t want to risk making a poor investment. If you constantly change jobs an employer will question your judgement – why do you keep making the wrong decisions? So, our advice to you be sure when you accept a job it is going to be right for you and you will be able to settle and formulate a long-term career.
What if there is no choice?
Sometimes you don’t have a choice but to leave an employer after a short period of time, for instance you may have been made redundant, the employer may have moved out of the area, or your job role has changed. Furthermore, you may have a horrible boss, or the workplace is stressful, or the job is not as described at the interview. If any of these reasons are true it may be worth explaining to a prospective employer in a covering letter with your CV why you need to find another job so quickly.
Question yourself before you job hop
Look at your CV, what does your work history look like? In other words, is this the first time or the third time you have been unhappy in a role? If there is a pattern of you staying in a job for only a short period of time maybe, you are in the wrong career and perhaps you need to address this. We would say that three jobs in five years is acceptable to most employers, any more than that could put employers off.
What is acceptable in your industry
Some industries view job hopping differently for instance it is more acceptable for people in the advertising or technology sector to move around more frequently. So, if you are working in these sectors job hop as much as you like – employers won’t judge you – they will appreciate your varied experience. Any other sector though may view job hopping negatively and will not even offer you an interview.
How old are you?
Employers are generally more forgiving of people who jump from job to job early in their career when they are discovering the right path to settle on. As someone becomes more seasoned in their career prospective employers will expect you to know what is best for you and not expect you to make silly mistakes. They will expect you to have considered the role you are in very carefully before accepting it and take a mature and considered decision.
Are you a money grabber?
By job hopping it could be perceived that you are constantly chasing a bigger wage packet rather than settling into a role and building a long-term career. No-one likes an opportunist so if it looks like all you are interested in is your wage packet and what you do to earn this is secondary then you stand no chance of getting a good job.
Could you be working in the wrong industry?
If you are leaving the same type of jobs after a short period of time a prospective employer offering a similar role may think you could be in the wrong type of job. Before you jump ship consider whether at this point should you actually be looking at maybe changing you career and moving into an area where you would be happy and settle.
You can’t seem to settle
If you find yourself thinking all the time about moving on and you cannot settle into a job or indeed your personal life maybe its not work that is the problem. Maybe you have issues in your life that you are not addressing, and this is making you feel unsettled. Moving jobs is not going to help you. If you can’t settle look at what you could do to make you feel more comfortable not only in the workplace but in your life. Looking for a new job is not going to help you and believe me any experienced recruiter will identify the fact that you are probably not going to settle into their role either, so you need to sort yourself out.
Don’t mess up your CV
As stated earlier an employer would consider anyone who has more than three jobs in five years a job-hopper, so you need to take a look at your CV to see if every job there needs to be on there. For instance, any job that you have been in for five months or less should be removed. If you are questioned about these periods, you can verbally fill them in during an interview by explaining that you had a short-term role bla bla bla. If you put every single job, you have held on to your CV even if it was only for 2 weeks then you will look like a huge job-hopper and maybe you aren’t really. People with 100s of jobs on their CV just don’t get interviews.
Does you job history look unsettled
Did you start your career as a Nursey Assistant then moved into a call centre, your next job was a Deliveroo Driver , then you became a Holiday Rep in Ibiza and after spending two years travelling the world you decided to come back to the UK and managed to get a job in the retail sector and have worked in Aldi for six months. If this, is you then you really need to get creative with your CV.? You can’t feel fibs on your CV but maybe you need to look at having a common thread going through all jobs you have held. It would also be a good idea if this is you write a really good cover letter to go with your application explaining the where and the whys otherwise it’s going to be impossible for you to get a job.
What is the benefit in staying in a job?
If you can bear to stay in a job until you have another position lined up it puts you in a better position. You are more attractive to a potential employer if you are employed – your value drops on the job market if you are unemployed, so perhaps it is worth gritting your teeth and bearing with it if possible. Getting a new job may take a couple of weeks it maybe even a couple of months but all this does it makes your CV look better if you are in employment. If you are unemployed during this period that’s another story. So, grin and bear it, stay where you are until you get a new job.
No matter how badly you want to leave your job or move on to something bigger and better, you don’t want to be branded as a serial job-hopper. When in doubt about the right time to leave, try to stay long enough to at least say you learned a new skill or gained valuable experience, this will help you with any future job search. Labels are not nice things, no-one likes them, but being called ‘job-hopper’ will definitely not enhance your career and it could really damage it. So, think very seriously about your future before you decide to jack in your job.
We hope this has helped you understand both yourself and how employers could see you. We are not saying stay in a job which is making you unhappy but before you decide to leave question whether you could be happy if you changed your mindset a little or if you could convince your employer to provide more support or training.