How to Know if Job Hopping is Hurting Your Opportunities

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Nobody ever sets out to bounce around between employers, sometimes life just works out that way. If you’ve made a few job changes and you have a reasonable explanation, it might not hurt, but if it’s a pattern, it can be a red flag to employers.

So how do you know if recent job changes are keeping you from finding a better job? How much change is too much? Is there anything you can do if you’ve made several moves in the recent past? Read on to find answers.

How Much is Too Much?

Last year the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of a national longitudinal survey that sheds some light on averages. They looked at people born between 1957 and 1964, individuals who have had plenty of time to experience job movement. On average, they held 12.3 jobs after they turned 18. They were employed 78 percent of the time. When they were working, 75 percent of their jobs ended in fewer than five years.

In contrast, people born in the 1980s had worked at an average of six jobs by the time they reached their 26th birthday. People are changing jobs more frequently than they did in the past, especially younger workers.

Some movement is expected. Employers aren’t looking as much at your overall number of jobs as the time you’ve spent at each one. When employers see you’ve had multiple jobs and you’ve been at each of them for a year or less, that’s when job hopping becomes a problem.

How Long Should You Stay at a Job?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published averages for that too. In a 2018 survey, median employee tenure was 4.3 years. Most of the time, older workers stayed longer in one position (an average of 10 years for those between 55 and 64), and younger workers moved sooner (workers between 25 and 34 changed at about 2.8 years). It’s not a problem if you quit one job soon after your hire date, what concerns employers is when quitting becomes a pattern.

It could hurt your chances of getting a new position if you quit before your one year anniversary unless you have a good reason. Employers will understand if you had to move when your spouse got transferred or if your company shut down, but if you changed frequently because you were bored or you didn’t like your co-workers, they could feel you’re not going to stick around at their company either.

What You Can Do at Your Next Interview

If you’re looking for a new job because you feel like your current situation isn’t working for you, take a hard look at what you don’t like now and what you want for your future. If you’re looking for a company with more advancement opportunities, better technology, a more flexible schedule or some other benefits, only apply with employers who offer what you’re looking for. Then don’t turn in your notice with your current boss until you’ve found a job that will be a long term fit.

Ask questions at your next interview to learn about the benefits, opportunities and culture of the company you’re considering. Let your interviewer lead, but look for signs you could be happy working there long-term. If you jump into a new role just thinking short-term, you might find yourself unhappy again in a few months, but with a little patience and research, you could end up on a rewarding career path.

Brelsford Personnel has positions with the opportunity for long-term career growth, and we take the time to talk with candidates about their career objectives. On our website you’ll find resume writing tips, dress code guidelines for the job search and interview tips to help you land a job you’ll be happy with for years to come.

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