Is fear of being criticized for job hopping keeping you from looking for a new position? If so, read on. We’ll cover the pros and cons of having short tenures on your resume, to help you overcome your fear.

For many years it was not uncommon for a person to hold one position their entire career. You built up credibility, stability and a nice pension. Employers preferred candidates they knew would stay with their companies for several years.

They wanted “lifers”. A term used to describe people who would stay with a company for the life of their career. Employees planned to retire from their positions after 25-40+ years of service with one or two companies.

As time went on, workers began to spend less time at a company for one reason or another. This shift was either of one’s own volition, due to termination or a layoff.

As the golden years of the fifties and the sixties slowly transitioned into the seventies and eighties, the workforce saw yet another shift. As education increased and the mentality of new generations took set, more workers sought a different kind of career gratification. The stability and security of the past was traded for career advancement, increase in wages, work/life balance, better working conditions and professional fulfillment. No longer were employees reluctant to leave one company for another.

The economic downturn experienced throughout the world has also contributed to the job change climate. Families are forced to move when parents can’t find jobs to support everyone. Companies move to more financially feasible locations where labor is cheaper and positions are outsourced to overseas call centers and factories.

Even though the entire concept of longevity has come quite a way since the fifties, seventies and even the eighties, some stigmas still hold true. Employers still prefer candidates with longer terms on their resumes. Why? For many reasons. The most obvious being they don’t want to spend time and money training a new hire, only to have to do the same thing again in six months to a year.

Jump forward to 2016. We now see executive level professionals spending two to three years in one position. Why? Because they develop their skills and move on to build and enhance those skills elsewhere – usually for more money and/or perks.

So what does all of this mean for you? It means you have less pressure to stay at one job, but at the same time a new job every six months is less desirable than every two years.

An employee that has held only one position for twenty years might find it difficult to find a job in today’s job market. Someone who has spent five years with four different companies will have more diverse experience to offer.

That being said, everyone has unique circumstances. If you’ve only been with your current company for less than a year, try to make it to the twelve month mark. Less than a year seems to look the worst, when tenure is in question. If you are leaving a company because of circumstances beyond your control – like the company moving to another state – then a new employer will be more sympathetic to your situation.

When giving your reason for your job change, remember the golden rule of job searching. An employer will always put themselves in the shoes of your current or former employer. So if you tell them, that you despise your boss, they will assume there is a personality conflict. One that they themselves probably don’t want in their company.

Employers all want stellar employees. They want to hear that you want to grow and learn more. You want to do something fulfilling. You want to work for a stable company. You want to do something you’ll enjoy. These are all good reasons to transition.

If you’re desperately unhappy and/or working under unhealthy circumstances, then look elsewhere. But pick your battles carefully. Know that your time at your current position will be a factor one way or the other. It will either work in your favor or against you. Depending on your situation, build a good angle as to why you’re seeking new employment.

Here are a few good reasons for leaving your job:

  • No healthcare benefits
  • A reorganization that changed your role
  • There is no work/ life balance
  • Your personal circumstances have change, i.e., married/ children
  • You want more fulfillment from your position
  • You’re seeking a position that aligns with your degree
  • You need more hours
  • The commute is taking its toll on you
  • New management techniques are disrupting the department productivity
  • You currently work part time or as a freelance and need full time
  • You’ve earned a higher degree
  • You need to earn a higher salary
  • There is no room to grow in your current position
  • You’re working under extremely stressful conditions

All the best with your career decisions.

Worried About Job Hopping?
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