What Is Job-Hopping?

By Elsie Boskamp - Mar. 8, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

Picture this: you’ve just graduated college and spent weeks looking for work. Finally, you land your dream job and set off to pursue a rewarding career only to realize, a few months down the road, that the job just isn’t right for you.

Don’t worry if you find yourself in this position, there are several avenues you can take to move on and find career success.

One of those avenues is job-hopping.

Although bouncing around between jobs can sometimes be a red flag, it’s become more accepted among hiring managers than in years past. As the workplace landscape continues to change and job-seekers strive for a more harmonious work-life-balance, job-hopping is on the rise.

Finding a job is no easy task, especially in recent years as technological advances slash jobs and competition among both entry-level and seasoned applicants remains fierce.

From the looks of it, this competitive labor-market should encourage applicants to stay at their jobs for extended periods, but the employment industry isn’t all that meets the eye.

Instead, many applicants are hopping from job to job, constantly on the search for something better — whether that translates to more money, a shorter commute, or more attractive employee benefits.

Employees are leaving jobs faster and more often than ever before. As younger generations search for job satisfaction and a successful career that can coexist with a fulfilling personal life, job searching has quickly turned into job-hopping.

What Is Job-Hopping?

Job hopping is when employees frequently switch jobs, typically spending less than two years in a position. Employees tend to move from company to company in search of opportunities for professional growth, higher salaries, more flexible work schedules, and attractive benefits packages.

While job-hopping was once regarded as risky and unprofessional by career coaches, employers, and hiring managers, it has now become more widely accepted.

In recent years, job-hopping has gained popularity as millennials, which comprise an estimated 50 percent of the workforce, strive for flexibility and a comfortable work-life balance.

As illustrated in Zippia’s 2020 Millennial Job Seeker Report, which surveyed 1,000 Americans, 20 percent of millennials believe it is acceptable to stay at a job for less than a year.

Compared to other generations, millennials are also more likely to turn down a job after an unwelcoming interview, or due to poor benefits and few opportunities for career growth.

Millennials tend to look for short commutes, remote work opportunities, generous paid time off, and quality health insurance plans. When their current positions don’t measure up, many tend to switch jobs.

The negative stigma that was traditional with job-hopping has almost entirely been erased, especially as recruiters are more open to part-time, outsourced, and contract work.

With that being said, excessive job-hopping can prove to be detrimental to finding a stable career, as too many work experience and employment gaps could illustrate certain undesirable skill sets.

But, if done only when necessary and in moderation, job hoppers should have no more difficulty during the job-hunt than any other qualified applicants.

Why Do People Job Hop?

Most people job hop if they feel burnt out, taken advantage of, or simply unmotivated. Since the large majority of working professionals spend upwards of 40 hours a week at work, having a career you’re passionate about is important.

When that passion runs dry, it might be time to move on; thus, job-hopping comes into play.

The biggest forces driving professionals to job hop are money and benefits. When employees find a job with better perks, the obvious instinct is to move on and change careers. When that career aligns more closely with a person’s skills and passions, it’s a win-win.

Although money may be the biggest factor influencing job-seekers, job-satisfaction and mental health are also high on the list of forces leading people to job hop.

Unhappy and overwhelmed employees are often the first to look into career changes. One-in-two millennials report quitting their job for mental health reasons, like anxiety.

Location is also one of the biggest forces driving employees to hop to a new company. This is especially true for young professionals looking for work right out of college.

Many young adults are interested in relocating for professional and personal growth. Job-seekers may hop careers after relocating to some of the fastest-growing small cities in America, or some of the country’s best cities for single women.

Along with location, job-seekers also tend to jump from job-to-job to find a career that offers more daily flexibility or an entirely different hourly schedule. For example, night owls stuck in 9-5 positions might instead switch to a top-tier nighttime profession.

Still, many professionals, especially those in their first job out of college or starting a new career, simply decide to leave their job after just a few months if they feel the position isn’t the right fit.

Does More Money Always Translate to a Better Job?

A higher salary doesn’t always mean it’s a better opportunity. More money might seem better at first glance, but make sure to fully consider all aspects of a job offer before hopping careers.

Although bigger salaries are the leading factor pushing employees to switch careers if the new gig comes with lousy hours or benefits, and a long commute, it’s probably not all that it’s cracked up to be.

When switching careers, it’s important to research a company’s work environment and determine where their workplace satisfaction stands. If they’re offering more money than their competitors, but have especially high turnover rates or vacancies, that might be a red flag.

How to Avoid Job Hopping and Find Your Dream Job

While job-hopping does have its perks, it can come with a lot of drawbacks too. Jumping from job-to-job certainly is not for everybody. But, what do you do if you’re unhappy in your current position but you don’t want to change careers? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re unhappy in your current position because of a low salary, negotiating a raise is a perfect way to stand out from the crowd and move-up in a company.

Research the job market, determine your desired salary range, and have an open discussion with your boss, highlighting your most desirable skills. Although this process can be intimidating, it’s well worth it.

Employee satisfaction is almost equally important as money. If something is making you uncomfortable at work don’t be afraid to schedule a meeting with a human resources representative to discuss your concerns and come to an agreeable solution. All employees are entitled to work in a comfortable environment.

Maybe you’re making your desired salary and you’re happy with your work environment, but lacking professional passion and motivation. If that’s the case, schedule a meeting with your supervisor to inquire about changing your job duties to align more closely with your skillset.

No matter the issue, if you’re open and flexible, the best way to avoid job-hopping is to voice your concerns and communicate with your supervisors and company HR representatives.

For those entering the workforce for the first time, the best way to avoid job-hopping is by only accepting job offers that closely align with your skills, passions, and financial and life needs.

When you’re applying for jobs, you’re not inclined to accept the first offer you get. Learning to decline a job offer is the first step in finding your dream job and avoiding job-hopping.

How to Job Hop

Sometimes, there’s just no avoiding job-hopping.

If you’ve exhausted all other options, and you find yourself in a position where you need to switch jobs, that’s entirely fine. Today, people change jobs pretty frequently. Labor statistics show that professionals born between 1957 and 1964 held about 12 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 50.

Nowadays, it’s rare for someone to stay at one job for their entire professional career. Odds are that, at some point or another, you’ll be among the growing group of Americans looking for a new job. But, even though job-hopping has become a more common practice, it’s important to do it correctly. If not, you could find yourself unemployed.

When looking for a new job, make sure you’re only seeking opportunities that align closely with your skills, qualifications, passions, and career goals. The first step in finding your dream job is staying sharp during the job application and interview process.

Make sure to display your strengths, skill sets, education, and work experiences in a properly structured chronological resume, and use your cover letter to illustrate relevant anecdotes that bring your skills to life. Even better, stand out from other applicants by writing a follow-up email after an interview.

Once you receive a job offer, ask yourself if this is the best option for you, professionally and personally. Be sure to consider how a new job will affect your work-life-balance and look closely at what benefits come with the new gig.

During career changes, it’s important not to burn any bridges. If you’re looking for a new career and you find your perfect job, have an honest conversation with your current employer.

Having a successful and satisfying career will help you lead a happy and healthy life. If job hopping will help you reach your professional and life goals, chances are, that’s probably the best option for you.

How Much Can I Job Hop Without It Costing Me My Career?

There’s a happy medium between finding career success through job-hopping and bouncing between jobs too frequently, tinting your reputation and making it difficult to find fulfilling work.

So, how much is too much?

In general, it’s best to stick to fewer than two short-term jobs, that is, positions held for fewer than two years. If you jump between jobs too frequently, hiring managers probably won’t even consider you for a job. But, don’t get scared off too easily.

How much you’re able to job hop before tarnishing your career depends entirely on the industry you work in and how acceptable it is to change jobs.

For example, If you’re an elementary school teacher too much job-hopping will most certainly be frowned upon, but if you work as a flight attendant, having many jobs with different airlines could prove beneficial as you’ll likely have more experience than applicants who have only flown with one carrier.

Sometimes, life choices will leave gaps in your resume or force you to job hop more than you probably should have. For instance, if you left a job to join the Peace Corps or care for a sick family member, this can be included in your cover letter so hiring managers can understand the gaps in employment.

After reading this, if you feel you may have job hopped once too many, there’s still a way around it. Instead of applying to jobs with a traditional chronological resume, try using a skills-based resume instead.

Skill-based resumes are often used by recent graduates and professionals making a career change as they focus on a candidate’s skills rather than their work experience.

Generally, as long as your career choices move you forward, and ambitious and passionate about your industry, and you have long-term professional goals, occasional job-hopping won’t cost you your career or tarnish your resume.

Final Thoughts

Job-hopping, when used strategically, can help professionals expand their career options, find a comfortable work-life-balance, and lead fulfilling careers.

Although job-hopping was traditionally frowned upon, it is now widely accepted by employers and human resource professionals, as the large majority of job-seekers now engage in job-hopping.

While career changes can be scary, change can also be beneficial. Whether you’re relocating, looking for better benefits, more money, a more flexible work schedule, or simply a job that more closely aligns with your values, passions, and skills, job-hopping may be the right choice for you.

If you turn to job-hop in hopes of landing your dream job, just make sure not to overdo it. Jumping around from job-to-job too often will squash your chances at finding employment and could even tarnish your reputation within your industry.

Be smart about hopping jobs. Only switch careers when necessary and use the tips in this article to lead a successful career in your field of expertise.

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Elsie Boskamp

Elsie is an experienced writer, reporter, and content creator. As a leader in her field, Elsie is best known for her work as a Reporter for The Southampton Press, but she can also be credited with contributions to Long Island Pulse Magazine and Hamptons Online. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Stony Brook University and currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

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