Will Job Hopping Hurt Me?

Nancy Anderson
Posted by in Career Advice

Although serial job changers often faced negative perceptions in the past, it's acceptable to be a job hopper in 2017. The desire to start with a company and stay with it for 20 years is not as common. In fact, according to a 2016 news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median employee tenure was higher among those 55 to 64 of age, at 10.1 years, than those 25 to 34, at 2.8 years.

What this means is that younger workers are less likely to stay with the same employer over the long term, and they often go into the labor market with this intention in mind. Employers have also begun to adapt and recognize that job hopping is a growing trend and their employees are going to job search. According to a study from CareerBuilder in 2014, 32 percent of employers expect their workers to be job hoppers. Although the perception of job hoppers is changing, you might still face some stigma if you decide to hop around a lot. So how do you turn this desire for something different into a benefit rather than a detriment when you're conducting a job search?

Tell Your Story

Use your cover letter, summary statement and resume to tell your story. Show you've become a job hopper because of your desire to advance in your field or hone new skills so you can be the very best employee possible. Don't be apologetic about all your job changes. Instead, exude confidence in your ability to learn new things, adapt and become immersed in your industry. If you've changed industries but are still looking for the same type of position, indicate your desire to advance your skills in other fields, which is why you became a job hopper.

Put a Positive Spin on Your Last Position

You're probably going to be asked why you left your last position or the one before that. You may even be literally named a job hopper. But even if you hated your last position or the people you worked with, you need to find the positives in the situation. Don't talk negatively about your previous employer or any of your co-workers, and don't get overly emotional, even if it was the worst experience you've ever had in your life. You can explain that maybe the job wasn't the right fit for you or you weren't being engaged enough and you really wanted to be a part of a team. Put the desire to change jobs on you and not on your past employer. You don't want to get embroiled in a blame game. And if you're working in the same industry, you never know who is in your previous colleagues' network.

When you're on the search for a new job, don't leave gaps in your work history. Put your decision to be a job hopper in a positive light, and show prospective employers you have the talent to take on new challenges.

Photo courtesy of bm_adverts at Flickr.com


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Joseph Oelze thanks for your comment. Employers think that their younger employees want the flexibility to only work a short time with them before moving on. That's why there is no loyalty. I think that if more of the younger job seekers would tell prospective employers that they are in for the long-haul that things would turn around and companies would be more loyal. It's going to take quite a few years to get back to that loyalty on both sides - both employers and employees. Let your employer know that you want to stay. That you are loyal to the company and see what happens. Keep us posted.


    I don't agree, millenials WANT loyalty, companies now a days don't provide that. In many cases they force them to look elsewhere by laying off many workers at once. If they don't trust their employers to have their backs there's no reason to have the employers back i.e loyalty. They feel as if the employer doesn't care about them and their families then why be loyal to the employer?

    Source: am a millennial

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Helen M thanks for your comment. Yes, the younger crowd does seem to job hop but the truth is that it has become more of a norm than you would think. I remember being told to always stay on a job for at least 5 years before you start looking for a new one. Then it changed to 3 years and then to 18 months. So it appears that companies don't really expect that much loyalty any longer. The Millennials are changing the rules. But truly, I think that this will turn around again and that companies will be expecting at least three years from an employee.

  • PAUL M.
    PAUL M.

    the young crowd job hops--they don't have the work ethic to stick it out

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