The Truth About Job Hopping

It used to be people obtained a job after university or high school, and that’s where they worked until the day they retired. Outside of a corporate restructuring, or something else out of a person’s control, people mostly stayed in a job for decades. Switching jobs every few years didn’t happen all that often, and when it did, it was a questionable character trait.   

 But now, times are different. Some hiring managers might even get suspicious if a candidate stays in one place for too long. Job hopping has become far more acceptable, even expected, among professionals.   

Is job-hopping harmful or helpful to your career? 

  1. There’s a difference between leaving by choice and leaving due to circumstance. A corporate shake-up, whether it’s downsizing or reorganization under a new owner, is an event outside an employee’s control. New management might want to clean house and bring in their own people. Downsizing happens, especially if the financial markets are taking hits. Leaving a job after a year or two, however, can suggest a lack of loyalty and a sense of only looking for a bigger paycheck, instead of working toward a greater good. Some research even suggests disapproval of changing jobs frequently has increased in recent years. If you left your previous positions by choice, after only spending a year at each, be prepared to explain why during any future interviews.   
  2. Younger workers think changing jobs shows a willingness and excitement to learn and grow. Different companies in the same field can, and usually do, operate in very different ways. Changing positions is an excellent way to stay sharp, learn new skills, understand your field with increasing depth and nuance and a great way to build your network. It can indicate adaptability and willingness to embrace change from the start.   
  3. In the finance world, like the technology world, the best way to improve your skills is to work with different firms every few years. The old way of thinking was that staying with one employer for your whole career indicated loyalty, respect and dedication; that same approach now can suggest complacency, a stalled career or a lack of ambition. Moving from firm to firm after a year or two can indicate an eagerness to grow and learn, especially if your employer wasn’t providing that opportunity.   
  4. Ultimately, it’ll come down to the hiring manager. You can have excellent reasons, alluded to on your resume or application, for why you’ve changed jobs three times in five years. The common perception that a hiring manager only glances at resumes for a few seconds when reviewing candidates is based in some truth. A hiring manager who decides, after a quick scan, that you’ve had “too many” jobs for your career won’t be convinced that you’re worth a second look. But someone who understands the need to stay sharp will be curious about your journey and will want to know more. It’s old thinking versus new.   

Ultimately, we all want to work in a place where we feel valued, well-paid for our talents and efforts, and where our efforts are appreciated in some way. We want to be challenged, and our ambition applauded. If your current job isn’t providing that, or you feel it’s worth taking a look around to see what else is out there, you’re free to do so in the best interest of your career.

Invest in your professional advancement

When the time does come to find a new opportunity, contact the business partners at IFG. We work with top firms in the finance and accounting world, and they’re looking for qualified employees like you.