Between the ages of 18 and 25, how many jobs will you have held, or did you hold?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, your answer is likely somewhere around six.
The study found that young adults born in the early 1980s held approximately six jobs within the seven-year time span. To some employers, having this many jobs in a short period of time could be considered job hopping.
Job hopping refers to an individual working for various employers for a short period of time in order to make a lateral move or promotion, aside from reasons of cutback or layoffs by the employer.
The perception of job hopping has not been a positive one in the past. However, times are changing, and while it was considered career suicide to change jobs too often back then, today it is almost expected. That said, there are pros and cons you must be aware of and consider if you’re starting to jump on the job hopping train:
Job Hopping: The Pros
More experience means a more diverse background. It can be very helpful when you’re able to pull from a number of different experiences in different industries or organizations. With this diverse background, you become a much more attractive candidate with a lot more relevant and interesting experience to reference. And, you can bring that experience to other organizations, which is appealing for any employer.
Meeting different people at various jobs can result in a larger pool of resources and information. Social media has opened up our world to a much larger network, but nothing is quite as strong as the network you build in professional settings. When you’ve been a successful team member within a number of different professional groups, your network gets much larger and your means to obtaining resources and information expands. This can be very attractive to employers, but it can also help you know the right people to open up new doors.
Exposure to different things can lead to discovering the ultimate job fit. When you’re exposed to different jobs and industries, you are given more opportunities to figure out what truly suits your personality. It’s not always the case that people get their career path right in college — that’s a big decision to determine before you’ve even been in the real world. Using your twenties to explore and find the jobs that truly motivate you is a great way to know what you should do for the long haul.
Job Hopping: The Cons
Employers may questions your loyalty and hesitate to consider you. Having multiple positions on your resume at a young age can easily deter most employers. If you are jumping from job to job, you are sending out a message that you will probably do it again — at their expense. Hiring and onboarding new employees is a very costly expense for employers. When they feel you hold no loyalty to any companies you’ve been with, it could put up a red flag for them.
Your judgment and ultimate path may be in question. When you have multiple jobs on your resume, it can be indication that you either have no idea what you want to do, or have really bad judgment when you get into something. Either way, this is not a desirable trait for any candidate or colleague to have. Additionally, this could affect your personal confidence as you begin to question whether you will ever find what you really want to do.
You could appear undependable. No one wants to work with someone who is undependable and flighty. Bouncing from job to job can make it look like you’re always willing to jet when things get a little rough, or the grass looks greener. Whether looking for a job, or acclimating into a new one, this trait can be a difficult one to explain to others. It will also take you a little more time to prove you have it takes to actually finish a job.
Ultimately, you should try to give a job at least one year before considering the move to another employer. If you are on your third or fourth move, take some extra time to truly figure out what it is you’ve enjoyed in each of your positions and what the determining factors have been to leave each one. This will hopefully give you some guidance on where to go next and perhaps your next move will be one that you stick around for.