How to get the career and salary benefits from job hopping (without the negative reputation)

One of the surest ways to boost your paycheque is to change jobs. A new company that is trying to hire you will cough up more money than your current job will offer in an annual raise.

A new study from the recruitment experts at Robert Half has found that more and more Canadians are seeing the rewards in job hopping. But how long should you stay in a role, and how frequently can you change jobs without hurting your professional reputation?

Robert Half’s research found that fifty-seven per cent of Canadian professionals polled think changing jobs every few years can be beneficial to their careers, with the biggest perk being a higher salary.

There are some risks, however. A separate survey of employers found that 59 per cent are not at all likely to hire a candidate with a history of job hopping because they want to avoid losing them in the future.

“While job hopping can have short-term advantages, many employers are cautious when considering candidates who make frequent moves,” warns Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half. “Before jumping to a new position, ensure you’ve made the most of growth opportunities in your current role and seek an outside opinion to weigh the impact a change may have on long-term career prospects.”

The researchers asked how many job changes in a 10-year span would constitute job hopping. Canadian workers said five jobs while employers felt that eight was too many.

Five jobs in ten years – the candidate perspective – is actually the new normal. Analysis of Canadian resumes has shown that most people change jobs roughly every two years now. Of course, that change includes promotions within a company as well as changing employers entirely.

Most people want to grow in their careers – and if they haven’t been given more responsibility or any advancement after two years on the job, they’ll look elsewhere for opportunities.

Employers are part of the problem too. Research has also shown that over eighty percent of the time when companies have to hire a new leader or for a senior role, they look outside for candidates rather than promoting from within. So most of the time, job hopping is necessary to advance your career. (And, as we’ve seen, the money is good.)

Why hiring job hoppers is beneficial for employers:

    • Job hopping is the new normal. Avoiding workers who have a series of two-year periods at a sequence of jobs means boycotting the largest available pool of professional talent.

    • Those workers who change jobs frequently acquire a broad perspective of their industry, and they become familiar with the inner workings, challenges, and strategies of numerous companies.

    • Job hoppers are perpetually the new hire on the team and so bring a fresh set of eyes to existing strategies, and tend to work extra hard without a sense of complacency because they are out to prove themselves and make a powerful first impression.

    • Job hoppers have the potential to build up valuable networks of contacts across the industry as they connect with new teams, clients, and partners at each job along their journey. Hiring a job hopper gives your whole team access to this network of resources.

    See: Three reasons why you should hire job hoppers

How job hopping can benefit your career:

    • As the Robert Half survey noted, workers tend to make higher salaries faster by changing jobs.

    • You will likely experience fewer periods of unemployment. People who realize that every job is temporary are always working to acquire that next career move – whether it is a promotion or a job hop. In this way, when cutbacks or layoffs happen, the perpetual job hopper will have a head start on finding their next gig.

    • Job hopping allows you to make valuable connections and build up a powerful professional network. Of course, in order to do this, you have to leave each job on good terms and not burn any of your bridges along the way. Robert Half advises that you “give ample notice and complete outstanding projects before your last day.”

Job hopping can be the fastest way to advance your career. You will learn about career options and companies you might not have heard of when you started out. When you have a dream role in mind, make your hops strategically. Make every job a step in the right direction, allowing you to acquire the skills, experience, and connections to get where you ultimately want to go.

Just try to stick around closer to the two-year mark at each job. Employers frown on too many stints of one-year or less on your resume.

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