Many professionals shy away from moving between jobs regularly, fearful of being viewed as flaky or even—gasp!—a job hopper. And while there’s something to be said for the stability and comfort that comes from a long-term position, sometimes moving between jobs can be beneficial for your career.
Job hopping hasn’t always been so accepted. In fact, it was discouraged until recently. Past generations tended to favor employees who showed staying power, and it wasn’t abnormal for someone to remain with a company for 30 years before retiring. But as technology has transformed the workplace, and people’s professional goals and expectations have shifted, so have most employers’ views on what’s acceptable on a résumé.
Keep in mind that switching jobs every few months is still a major red flag, so be reasonable—you don’t want to come off as unreliable. Try to average at least two years at each job, giving you enough time to get as much as you can out of the position.
However, when you start to feel ready for new challenges, don’t limit yourself to waiting for an appropriate position to open in your current company.
Read on for six reasons why moving on can benefit your career.
1. Find your dream job.
We don’t always start out in our dream job—or even necessarily know what it is. Giving yourself the opportunity to test the waters at different companies will help you figure out what you like and dislike. And when you’re looking for the next opportunity, you’ll know exactly what works for you and what doesn’t in terms of the job description, office environment and company culture.
2. Make more money.
Job hoppers have the opportunity to increase their salary at a much higher rate of speed than workers who stay put. An employee who sits in the same role increases their take-home pay at an average rate of 3 percent per year. On the other hand, I’ve known hoppers to go from a salary of $35,000 a year to $60,000-plus in about five years after hopping every two years. In other words, staying in the same job for five years could have you making about $20,000 less than your more mobile peers in the same industry.
3. Advance your career more quickly.
Besides salary increases, job hopping has been proven to help workers advance their careers much faster. Whereas it can take a long time to climb the ladder within an organization (particularly a small one), you’re much more likely to continue an upward path if you’re constantly on the lookout for positions that suit your skills—both within and outside of your current workplace.
4. Enjoy greater professional satisfaction.
Some people are perfectly happy working for the same company for many years. Others will eventually start to feel bored and dissatisfied. Even with regular promotions, working in the same office with the same people year in and year out can become monotonous over time. On the other hand, workers who switch up their routine every few years have the opportunity to learn new skills, make more contacts and experience a greater sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
5. Impress hiring managers.
Believe it or not, hiring managers won’t necessarily be turned off by a “busy” résumé. In fact, I’ve seen hiring managers overlook applicants who have been employed with only one company for a lengthy period because their experience is more limited and they seem fearful of change. In some recruiters’ eyes, there’s the danger of the applicant having trouble adjusting to the new environment and eventually returning to their previous employer. Having a bit of variety in your résumé shows recruiters that you’re flexible and that you’ll transition easily to a new position.
6. Increase the size of your network.
When you’ve been with the same company for many years, your network tends to stay pretty stagnant. When you’ve worked for several different companies, you can dramatically expand your professional contact list. Just be sure you don’t burn any bridges when you move on—because references are key for a job hopper.
Are you a job hopper? How have recruiters responded to your résumé? Share your experience in the comments.