How to Job-Hop Successfully in 2022
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Job-hopping is not a new phenomenon. People have done it for years, and the younger generations are more intentional with learning and developing advanced skill sets earlier. However, millennials and Generation Z workers should not be stigmatized as unstable. If you’re a perpetual learner in an industry that constantly is evolving and changing, then changing jobs to upskill and get a 10-20% bump in salary is a thoughtful strategy. Depending on what expert you ask or what survey you cite, even five years to get “vested” in a company is possibly too long. You’re more likely to stay relevant in your industry with skill and pay range by changing one to three years.
The best scenario for job seekers is to stay and grow with a company that offers opportunities beyond the initial position. A job where ongoing training maintains competitive industry skills is ideal for many people. The only other question would be does the pay align with what other companies are paying. Research is necessary to stay on top of salary and industry trends, in addition to networking with peers who work for other companies.
A few years ago, professionals under 35 viewed job-hopping positively, and many employers viewed it unfavorably. Many careerists change jobs because of the uncertainty of the company’s direction, negative performance reviews, or bad coworkers or bosses. Patterns of those reasons will provoke a red flag with employers and recruiters that there are performance issues. The professional will need to differentiate between them and their career-advancing, job-hopping peers.
With the many upsides to job-hopping with strategy and intention. The goal is to discover and sustain career satisfaction:
- How positively job seekers who job-hop are viewed
- Job-hopping as an inflation equalizer
- Job-hopping professionals are tomorrow’s normalized 1099 employee
- Widen and deepen your network to future-proof your career
When Job-Hopping Is Unclear
People have changed jobs frequently for many years, and not all employers view it negatively. In a 2010 article from the Harvard Business Review, the writer points out that the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) analyzed data that showed “baby boomers born from 1957 to 1964 held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52. According to the State of Oregon Employment Department job tenure, “Tenure for Millennials was 0.2 years lower when compared with Boomers for each of the two older age groups: 2.8 years for 25 to 34-year-olds and 1.3 years for 20 to 24-year-olds.”
There can be several reasons for the frequent job changes—in some industries workers change jobs often. New technologies affect different industries all the time. Thus, the job requirements evolve too. Industries such as informational technology (IT) have smaller areas where change is constant, and new applications and security disruption engage our livelihoods and work lives.
New applications appear on the market daily, and a few will dominate our attention. The majority of employers and experts are not baby boomers or Generation X, and our engagement in technology increases as time goes on. It’s not the same as other industries such as higher education, where they have become high technology users, but faceless disruption for now. There is another fair comparison between sports, and entertainment, where employment is often contractual. Job hopping exists because the employer no longer needs the skill of the talent, and it’s a part of the agreement between both parties.
Technical and non-technical contract professionals by design change jobs frequently. They engage an employer temporarily until the work is done. Unless the employer still needs their specific skill set, the contractor will move on. As a baby boomer, my peers and I were told in the 90s that we would want to stay at a job for at least five years to get a pension or be “vested.” Employment was an agreement of a long-term partnership. The longer you stay with a company, they will take care of you.
Companies no longer promise long-term relationships in unpredictable industry markets or other occupations. Young job seekers won’t make that covenant with employers but will stay longer where mutual interests and career development exist. It’s a red flare in the sky should a company claim they’re “family,” and job seekers are responding by walking, if not running away from them.
Here are a few examples of red flags:
- When you can’t articulate the value of frequently changing jobs.
- When you work the same position at several companies with no career advancement.
- Your inability to get along with bosses slips out,
- You’re not creating momentum with every job change.
Crafting a Narrative That Impresses Employers
You can create momentum with every job change when you control the career change narrative. No matter how you experienced separation from a company, your compelling career story will continue to advance your career.
Recruiters and employers must sense that you’ve created an intentional job providing value wherever you’ve been. Your moves make sense, are purposeful, bellows a mission—it resonates with the company’s needs.
You won’t have to explain details of your job changes because several things will be clear:
- You’ve invested money and time for professional development.
- You use what you’ve learned through part-time jobs, contracts, freelance, or volunteer work.
- You are clearly articulating your thinking with every move you make.
- You’ve established and demonstrated subject matter expertise.
- Even after a mishap, you’ve shown it was an anomaly, and you’ve moved on.
Job seekers often miss the point of storytelling and miscalculate its importance in any job change. If you’re trying to impress an employer with your job change, you must show how you’ll add value quickly. Not only must you show how you’ll do it, but you’ve done it with every move you make. Measurable, visible, and tangible data will crystallize your moments during interviews, which become discussions and not interrogations. You become a consultant and a facilitator, even if it’s for a moment because it’s clear—you bring solutions and results.
If you don’t have accomplishments and results in the form of data from previous jobs, you’ll need to revisit past employment somehow. If you can’t contact them for whatever reason, then you’ll have to think back to the most meaningful work you’ve done. Be performance-focused and what those responsibilities mean, and quantify and qualify what they mean to the department, company, or boss. Not only will this reshape the way you present before employers, but also it will add credence to your mindset like never before. You won’t feel the need to overcompensate with talking or politeness because facts speak for themselves.
How Job-Hopping Helps Future-Proof Your Career
To think like a consultant or independent contractor, you must be clear about how you’ve helped clients or employers. Getting testimonials is the best way to prove your worth to employers and ensure you bring quality work that serves them. Tracking your performance at each job and for all of your jobs is one way to provide assurance.
As an independent contractor, the way you discuss your process is as important as your career advancement. With this preparation, you take the qualifying questions out of the interview equation, and likely, you can talk more about the synergy needed to complete the work. Too often, job seekers fall short because they don’t provide the correct information an employer needs.
In many cases, employers’ poorly written job descriptions are outdated or provide little information. Similarly, job seekers who find it hard to get traction during their job search rely on “praying and spraying” resumes and applications. In addition, the language is often vague on applications and resumes that seem copied and pasted.
It’s not surprising to see young careerists who changed jobs more than ten times from high school graduation to their mid-twenties. Employers, recruiters, and professionals still see only negativity in job-hopping. They point to the ones who change jobs every year and say employers are hiring them, and it’s true. Employers can sniff out the candidates who show unreliability and reactive behaviors up to this point in their careers. But many companies hire candidates who demonstrate they are assets and recognize that their moves were intentional and strategic. Companies don’t reward behaviors based on disappointing attitudes and good performance reviews. Job seekers must show a pattern of competency, adequate ability, and a rich narrative that offers solutions the company needs.