Job hopping can bring a wealth of benefits—if you do it the right way . Laura and Kate share research and lessons learned on how to win at job hopping.
“The time to look for a new job is when you don’t need one. The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable.” – Seth Godin
Job Hopping–How to Leverage the Rewards and Avoid the Risks
Job hopping used to mean you were flaky and unreliable. Being professional meant being loyal to your employer. Companies rewarded that loyalty with job security, annual raises and a nice pension. And remember those gold watches at retirement? But that kind of corporate culture is becoming a thing of the past.
Switching employers regularly is now the new normal (Kate’s worked for at least 5 different organizations). Many people find it really works to their financial and professional advantage to job hop (Laura’s changed jobs on average every 3 years).
This is especially true among Millennials, workers born between 1980 and 2000, who want to have more control over their careers and work-life balance. A recent Canadian study showed that by age 30, the average Millennial has had 6 jobs and changed employers over 3 times. Compare that with Generation X’ers who have had on average 3 jobs and 2 employers by age 30.
There are good reasons to job-hop, but there are risks too. Use these 5 strategies to make job hopping help you earn more money and advance your career:
Strategy #1: Keep a career goal in mind
Many of us don’t follow a linear path in our careers. If you want to go far in your career, however—to be a high income earner and to reach a certain level of authority—you have to have some goal in mind.
- Always remember your goal when you are considering if it’s the right time to jump to another job.
- The next job you seek out should be one that helps you get those skills or experience you’re still missing.
- View each job as a building block to your career goal and job-hopping as a way to get there more efficiently.
- If you don’t know what your goal is, use your first few jobs to explore your strongest interests.
Strategy #2: Think increased earnings
It turns out job hopping is one of the fastest ways to boost your income.
- An ADP study showed that people who change jobs increase their wages by an average of 5.3%, while those who stay with the same employer only see an increase of 0.7%.
- Moving to a big city or higher paying area of the county can be one of the fastest ways to raise your salary and bump up your retirement savings, even if you just make a lateral move.
Strategy #3: Get better benefits
To try to keep employees loyal to them, companies are rolling out some great perks.
- When you job hop smartly, you can receive benefits you didn’t get in a previous organization.
- Parents, for instance, can find an employer offering more flexible hours or the opportunity to work from home.
- Some companies offer very competitive insurance coverage that can add a lot to your overall compensation package.
Strategy #4: Don’t leave without results
With any job, you should stay long enough so that you can measure your success and be able to show it on your resume.
- Projects take time to develop, launch and produce results. Employers look for these quantifiable results on a resume. Strong performance numbers will help you get a better job next time around.
- The relatively new “tour-of-duty” approach is becoming popular in many results-driven companies. With a tour of duty, the employer and employee form a short-term work agreement that rewards the employee with better follow-on opportunities if he or she performs well.
Strategy #5: Don’t Hop Too Quickly
You can hurt your longer-term career opportunities if you switch too often.
- A good rule of thumb for an entry or mid-level professional is to stay with an employer for a minimum of 2 to 3 years.
- Surveys show that every year, companies claim they invest more in employee satisfaction and loyalty.
- Companies are working hard to keep workers from jumping ship because it costs them a lot of money—as much as 150 percent of a person’s annual salary—to replace an employee.
- Don’t job hop so often that an employer will think you are a flight risk.
Richer Life Lab practical
This week’s Richer Life Lab practical is to write down your long-term career goal. That can be specific, like “to be a VP of Sales for a top 10 pharmaceutical firm” or something broader, like “to be a sought-after expert in the fashion industry.”
If you don’t know yet, just write down your top 3 strongest interests. Now consider what jobs you’ve had so far and how many are contributing to your reaching this goal or fulfilling your strong interests. It may be time to strategize finding a new job, and maybe even start thinking about the one after that!
We want to hear about what’s working for you! Let us know if you try out one of the strategies we suggested in the show or have other recommendations that we can share with listeners in a future show.
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