Numbers out of the US suggest the average worker changes their job every 4.4 years.
Numbers out of the US suggest the average worker changes their job every 4.4 years. Jacob Wackerhausen

Job-hopping’s downside on your resume

HOW many different jobs have your parents worked?

Probably very few. A generation or two ago, you chose a career and worked at it until you retired. Changing jobs every few years wasn't nearly as common as it is today.

Numbers out of the US suggest the average worker changes their job every 4.4 years. Those figures - via Forbes - are a year or two old, and if anything, I'd guess are now perhaps a little generous.

The same data suggests the majority of Millennials - those born between 1977 and 1997 - will stay in a job for less than three years, on average.

Which then raises the interesting question: which option is better for your career? Chopping and changing employers every few years, or sticking it out with one or two companies over the course of your career?

Consider this. You're mid-30s, applying for a job, and your resume shows you've worked for 10 different companies since you left high school. You've jumped between employers like a flea between stray dogs, never staying in one place long enough to really prove yourself.

Are you difficult to work with? Do you cause conflict and tension in the workplace? Do you have trouble committing? Those are the types of thoughts such resume content could put in the heads of recruiters and human resources consultants.

An employer doesn't want to commit time, money and energy into training a new employee if they're likely to pull up stumps and head elsewhere in a year or two. They want to see a return on their investment, they want stability, and they want employees who are ready to stay the course.

While your job-hopping resume might suggest you've had a wide range of experiences, it's not necessarily what an employer wants to see.

But on the flip side, frequent job changes can speed up career advancement. Rather than being stuck on corporate ladder paying your dues, moving companies can also provide a step up.

And there's often better scope for pay increases by changing employers, especially if you work in a competitive industry where your skills are in demand.

You need to be happy, too - you're a long time working.


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