Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

Career Advice job hopper

Recruiters and hiring managers understand corporate longevity is a rare commodity.  However, unexplained job-hopping can be detrimental to employment.

Many find waiting for the next performance review and hoping for a salary increase an unsatisfactory method for professional growth.  You may be tempted to leave your company and quickly move to more challenging positions with higher salary.  In the short term, you may gain thousands of dollars, but you may damage relationships or burn bridges along the way.  The immediate gain may not outweigh the hazards or be the best path for your career.  Job hopping may seem a reasonable tactic for career growth, but take a few moments to understand the benefits and challenges.

The Benefits of Job Hopping

First, job hopping is not always frowned upon.  A job hopping pattern is more understood in less experienced employees.  Two to three years at one job is not uncommon for employees under the age of 35.  Further, there are some occupations where job hopping is both beneficial and completely understandable, such as traveling nurses or project managers.  Additionally, job hopping can be desirable in such career fields as Information Technology (IT).  When an IT specialist moves companies or locations, they gain more knowledge about various environments, cultures and technologies.  It’s important that these professionals stay current and they can do this through changing employers and learning new technologies.

The Disadvantages of Job Hopping

Unfortunately, red flags occur when you are an experienced mid-level employee, with the appearance of moving every year or two.  The challenges for a hiring manager are simple to understand. Discerning whether you were let go or whether you left willingly becomes difficult. You may be perceived as disloyal or unstable. Employers may perceive you as a poor investment, as your organizational allegiance is questionable. They may believe you’ll move on at the first sign of trouble. If job hopping is your method for promotion and salary increases, it is essential that you can describe why you frequently change jobs in terms acceptable to the hiring organization.

Job Searching for the Serial Job Hopper

How do you work the job search if you have a choppy resume?  With some preparation, and a good explanation, job-hopping can be portrayed during an interview as a very favorable situation.  You just need to be able to describe your career progression to the hiring manager when the question is asked.

Start by painting your experiences in a positive light in your resume, cover letter and interview.  When the inevitable question comes up, elaborate the positive aspects. Discuss how your experience provide a diverse background, giving you exposure to different businesses and a wide range of leaders and managers.  Tell the employer your varietal positions have made you unique, increasing both your knowledge and network.  Let them know your experiences have provided access to more information resources, and exposed you to numerous opportunities, different types of jobs, work, and environments.

There are many benefits and challenges associated with the job hopping resume.  Without doing the appropriate level of homework and having the right answers for the tough questions, you may find the appropriate answer to be challenging and the interview daunting.  However, if you are prepared and you can talk to the issues associated with your job hopping experience, you should be able to sail through your next interview.

Wishing you a lucrative and successful transition.

Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at

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