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Job Hopping: Does It Hurt or Help Your Career?

Job hopping, as the name suggests, refers to “hopping” from job to job, often frequently. This once stigmatised practice is now increasingly common, especially among Gen Zs. It is challenging the traditional notion of a linear career path and prompting more employees to think deeper about what they want from their careers. 

Despite its growing popularity, job hopping remains a topic of considerable debate. Is it a pathway to skill diversification, career acceleration, and extensive networking, or does it actually lead to instability, increased training costs for employers, and fewer long-term benefits?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of job hopping, as well as some important considerations, to help you decide if job hopping is something to embrace in your career journey.

Pros

1. Skill diversification

Job hopping allows you to acquire a diverse skill set by exposing you to varied tasks and industries. If you’re a public relations consultant, job hopping across agencies exposes you to different clients and tasks. In turn, you can potentially sharpen your skills in public relations across different sectors. You’ll also broaden your soft skills by learning how to work cohesively with clients and journalists who have vastly different personalities.  

2. Career acceleration

Frequent job changes can lead to career progression, offering opportunities for continuous learning and advancement. It’s not uncommon for job hoppers to get a jump in rank when they join a new company. This would entail new responsibilities, but more often than not, a promotion in rank is also accompanied with a raise.

Being exposed to different roles and responsibilities can also accelerate your journey to leadership positions. If you’ve been managing small teams or spearheading your own projects for a while, you can tap on these experiences to apply for roles that require managing bigger teams.

3. Networking opportunities

With every job you work in, you expand your professional networks. This provides you a broader range of contacts within and across industries, which is beneficial for your personal and professional growth. 

A recent study found that at least 42% of professionals found their current jobs through some form of networking. Having a diverse professional network not only helps to facilitate your job hunt, but also opens doors to mentorship, collaboration, and potential business opportunities.

Cons

1. Lack of stability

Not all hiring managers view job hopping positively. Some potential employers are hesitant to invest in candidates who may not stay for an extended period. This might mean facing challenges in securing positions that require a commitment to long-term projects or initiatives, as potential employers would prefer a candidate that is willing to see an important project through from start to finish. 

2. Training costs for employers

Employers have to bear the cost of training and onboarding new hires, which makes frequent changes in employment costly in the long term. Even the most adaptable candidates will take time to get used to new processes and workflows, may have to attend some training courses and need time to get up to speed. The fear of high turnover rates and training costs may lead companies to be more conservative in their hiring decisions. This is potentially disadvantageous to job hoppers.

3. Reduced benefits and long-term commitments

Continuous job changes may limit your access to long-term benefits such as retirement plans and health insurance. For instance, a large MNC with deep pockets may be able to provide comprehensive medical and dental benefits, while smaller companies may only provide a flat medical and welfare allowance annually. 

Job hopping might also cause you to miss out on developing valuable in-depth institutional knowledge, which is often gained through long-term commitments to a single organisation. 

Who should job hop?

Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the pros and cons of job hopping, it’s worth considering if you’re suited for it. Job hopping might be for you if you fit any of the following profiles: 

  • You’re an early- to mid-career professional seeking rapid skill development.
  • You feel like your current workplace is stagnant, with limited growth opportunities.
  • You feel like your current workplace has a poor or toxic work culture that is causing you a lot of distress. 
  • You’re working in an industry that values varied experience and skills over long-term commitments.

Read more: Money Journals: Why a Fresh Grad Quit Her Job Amid a Pandemic

Things to consider before job hopping

1. Career goals

You should assess whether job hopping aligns with your long-term career objectives. Are you looking to gain intimate knowledge of an institution and industry, or are you looking to try your hand at different jobs before deciding on a specialty? You should also consider the industry’s expectations and norms regarding job tenure. 

2. Financial implications

Job hopping may entail brief periods of unemployment. Even after getting a new job, changes to salary and benefits will also impact your finances. It’s important to evaluate your current financial situation and be prepared for any changes. 

Read more: 6 Money Moves To Financially Prepare for Quitting Your Job

3. Company culture

Do your research to ensure the new workplace aligns with your values and working style. You can find this information easily on Glassdoor, an anonymous review site that allows current and past employees to share their experiences. You can also consider reaching out to recruiters and employees on LinkedIn to get a sense of what the company culture is like.

4. Skill transferability

Assess the transferability of your skills to different roles and industries. If you’re thinking of transitioning from the finance sector to the healthcare sector, think about what relevant skills you already possess, and which you might need to pick up on the job or through reskilling before you apply. 

How to job hop successfully

1. Set clear goals

Define your career objectives and how each job change contributes to them. This allows you to identify the right roles and industries for your next move.

2. Demonstrate value 

Making the switch is just your first step. You’ll have to showcase your skills and contributions to make a positive impact in each role you work in.

3. Build a strong network 

Be open to making new professional connections, and be sure to leave a positive impression wherever you go. A strong network can unlock a wealth of opportunities for your personal and professional growth! 

4. Balance stability and growth 

Instead of jumping at every opportunity to job hop, aim for a balance between job stability and opportunities for career growth. While job hopping brings many benefits, it’s also entirely possible to grow within the same company and industry, and job hopping too often may not be sustainable for your career. 

Conclusion

Done well, you can strategically leverage job hopping to shape a career that aligns with your aspirations. But first, you’ll have to weigh the benefits of job hopping against its potential pitfalls, understand its implications and consider your individual circumstances. Then, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

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