Job hopping typically has a negative connotation, but if used judiciously, it can be a winning career strategy. As with everything, job hopping has its pros and cons.
Let’s start with the pros.
Pros of Job Hopping
Job hopping is a way of obtaining a promotion. It may not be possible to be promoted in your current organization if there are only a few spots at the top and lots of competition from your co-workers. But by going to another organization, you can often get hired at a higher level, which is effectively a promotion for you.
Job hopping can increase your salary. Even if you do not get a bigger title, you may be able to make more money if you change jobs. Generally, if you get a raise at your current organization, it will be approximately 3% of your salary. But you can often do better than that if you go elsewhere.
You can expand your skill set. You might find yourself locked in to a particular type of work where you currently are. But you can broaden your set of competencies by finding a job that uses your current skills but also goes beyond them. A broader skill set can make you more marketable over the long term.
But of course there are also the cons.
Cons of Job Hopping
Employers will assume that you are unstable. If you job hop too often (meaning every year or so), employers will view that negatively and believe that you would not stay with them either. If there is an established pattern of frequent job hopping on your resume, it can limit your employment options in the future.
You never become vested in a company. Many companies establish a threshold by which you can become vested. This may take three or five years. You accrue benefits from becoming vested. If you are not vested, you can leave a lot of money on the table.
You don’t develop deep connections within your industry. Your professional network is often the key to future employment, especially with the plum positions. If you job hop regularly, you never get to know your colleagues well enough to cultivate deep relationships with them. Since most people find employment through their network, this can be a real downside to frequent job hopping.
When it comes to job hopping, make sure that you look before you leap. You may job hop in order to receive the benefits, but if it is a poor fit, you may be looking for another job again more quickly than you would like. Then you can end up with a work history that is hard to explain to potential employers.
In short, job hopping can be useful in terms of getting you a raise, a promotion, and new skills. But on the other hand, it can hurt you if you are not intentional about it and if you overuse it.
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