Are You a Job-Hopper?
The term job hopper refers to someone that doesn’t stay at a job very long. They move from one job to the next. This doesn’t look good at all to employers. They don’t want to spend the time and money it takes to conduct a candidate search to hire you and the additional money involved with training you -then you are gone in the blink of an eye and they have to start the process all over again and begin interviewing new candidates.
In this day and age, industry laments the lack of loyalty. Workers also lament the lack of loyalty they find in industry. It works both ways.
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When are you considered a Job Hopper?
A job hopper is someone that works, but they often don’t work consistently. That can be a red flag to any employer. They don’t want to have to worry about how long you will stay to work for them. They need to know you are going to show up when you should and that you will be on time. They also don’t want to worry about you just quitting and not providing two weeks’ notice.
But, just as often a job hopper is someone who has been employed steadily enough, but lists too many employers in too short a time span. That’s the nature of the game for contractors or temporary help. If that’s not you, and you show a pattern of changing jobs once a year (or more often) –you can expect to be quizzed about it in a job interview, if you’re lucky enough to get one.
What to do if you are a job hopper
This isn’t to say, though, that there is never a time when you should leave a job. Perhaps you started a new job and it just isn’t working well for you. The job may be too physical, the hours don’t work with your childcare set up, or you feel the realm of the work is beyond your grasp. Even a hostile work environment is a reason to leave. There are lots of legitimate reasons you may need to leave –not the least of which is to improve your station in life. (continued below)
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Chances are you applied for several jobs at once. If you take a new job and then get a better offer for a job, take it. This type of job hopping can easily be explained in the future to any other potential employer. There isn’t an employer out there that would hold it against you for making the decision to take a better opportunity that came along.
What you want to avoid, though, is a pattern of working at various jobs for less than six months at a time. If you were at any job for a year or longer, then the label of job hopping doesn’t apply. This is especially true if your resume shows that over time your jobs became better and better. You were moving from entry level jobs to those that offered you more opportunity and more responsibility.
Never feel compelled, though, to stay at a job that isn’t right for you. If you do seem to fit the category of a job hopper, ask yourself why. You may realize that you need to start looking for jobs in other areas that you will be happier to stick with for a longer period of time.
From the employer’s point of view, maybe you have hopped around because you can’t seem to get along with anyone. Or, you don’t handle direction very well. Maybe you’ve been ‘let go’ a few times. The employer needs to weed through these issues. What you need is a good story.
It is true, mostly, that job hopping is the way to gain the most experience in the shortest amount of time. It also widens your social network -which translates into more opportunity down the road. In many cases, the employer will understand that your personal growth will benefit her company. By the time you get through the why’s and where-fores (your story) -you will have built upon your level of rapport and moved closer to the winner’s circle.
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