Is Job Hopping Ever A Good Idea? 10 Things To Consider

Is job hopping ever a good idea for an ambitious person looking to gain experience quickly?

A recent Fast Company article urged professionals to change jobs every three years. Others say that those who stay at the same company for more than two years will earn less than those who don’t.

As the career coaches interviewed below explain, job hopping can be a tricky slope to walk depending on where you are in your career and what your intentions are. Perhaps most important is to have a clear objective whenever you leave one job for another and be able to show results at each place you’ve worked.

Below, members from Forbes Coaches Council share their best advice.

1. Begin With the End In Mind

Experience is crucial and can be gained in a multitude of ways. Identifying what experience you want to gain and how you might use it will help determine where to focus your energy. Begin with the end in mind and focus on developing the experience that will pay the highest dividends toward your end goal. If hopping is something that contributes toward your end goal, then by all means go for it.   – Rey Castellanos, Feed Your Wolf

2. Communicate and Help Others See Your Value

I believe in creating your opportunities, and career paths are not one size fits all. If job hopping provides you with an opportunity to be challenged, grow your skill set and make a significant impact, I’d call that a win! Just be able to clearly articulate how that experience helped you become who you are today and how that is beneficial for the new company you’re looking at.   – Anu MandapatiIMPACT Leadership for Women

3. Stay in Your General Field

Larger corporate entities will generally want to see longevity in employment due to talent acquisition and training costs, whereas a small, independent company may perceive more value in an employee with varied experience who can absorb several roles and keep payroll costs low. Myadvice for job hopping would be to try and stay in your general field and show growth in responsibility.   – Cory BoyasCory Boyas

4. Be Able to Show Results

Traditional industries frown on job hopping. However, in the startup, entrepreneurial and high tech world, job hopping is often the norm instead of the exception. Even in those very traditional industries, one quick job hop won’t harm you, but several in a row might. More than anything, you need to be able to tell a logical story about your moves and the impact and results you have generated.   – Lindsay GuthrieThe Career Path Partners

5. Know You Can Gain Experience Other Ways

Gaining experience can be achieved in many ways. Hopefully, you selected your job to gain the experiences you most want. If you find “holes,” you can gain experience by volunteering or joining groups where you can be part of a community with others. Ambition can be a great quality. You might consider what success looks like to you and to that end, select your experiences accordingly.   – Cha Tekeli, Chalamode, Inc.

6. Make Each Opportunity Count

I think job hopping is great if you can tell a clear story about how each opportunity really leveraged your genius. Be able to tie your impact on each job back to a core mission you have in your life. Pursue opportunities that you believe help you fulfill your ultimate career vision.   – Laura GarnettGarnett Consulting LLC

7. Make Sure You Have at Least Some Longer Stints

Job hopping is not the red flag it used to be, especially if you have valid reasons for moving on. Stay long enough to gain the relevant experience and intersperse longer stints with shorter ones so the pattern is believable.   – Michelle Tillis LedermanExecutive Essentials

8. Depends What Stage of Your Career You’re In

It is a good idea, as long as you move around early in your career and try to figure out your path and gain tons of experience. However, there must be a point when you’ll have to invest in committing to one company, perhaps in the middle stage of your career. If you are young, fly around and get lots of experience. Soon, you’ll feel that you will need to settle. You will find your niche once you have found a job that makes you happy and fulfilled. Don’t be blinded by the amount of salary that you can get. Pursue your passion, and success will follow.   – Dr. Cherry CollierPersonality Matters, INC.

9. Inject a Consistency of Excellence Into Your Narrative

Job hopping is now often viewed as a necessity in many sectors to get ahead. Regardless of sector or your reasons for switching, when discussing your job history, indicate how you’ve always been a key figure in accomplishments and positive outcomes. Weaving in a theme of continual excellence to your career past will best position you for next steps.   – Emily Kapit, MS, MRW, ACRW, CPRWReFresh Your Step, LLC

10. Apply the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule)

It can be a good idea if you plan for it strategically. Think of the Pareto principle: Many professionals spend 10 years at the same job, but if you look at their learning curve, they have spent about three of those years perfecting the way they work and the last seven just “going through the motions” and not really adding value. When you job hop, you are forced to be constantly learning.   – Claudio Toyama, Toyama&Co.

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