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Job hopping (moving from one job to another with frequency within a relatively short time) has long been frowned upon. The general view of it has been that it demonstrates an inability to hold down a job and makes the hopper look disloyal, flaky and unreliable. However, many now argue that times have changed, and that the old ‘job for life’ goal is unrealistic and outdated. So what is the reality of job hopping? Can it be a positive career tactic?

The Good

Stepping stones

Moving from one company to the next can often be a way of fast-tracking a rise up the corporate ladder. When you leave a job for another, it is generally accepted that the new job will place you in a higher position than the last. For some, this is a better way to move up, especially when at company that does not have any kind of employee development scheme or any inclination to assist you in progressing within their walls. However, if you are at a company and you wish to move on, always express your desire to your boss to allow him or her the opportunity to come to the party. Job hopping is not always the best route to take to climb higher in your field so explore all options before you move on.

Salary

One of the most attractive aspects of job hopping is the potential for a fast track to a rise in pay. You get the opportunity to negotiate before starting every new job and there is expectation from both sides that you will earn more in your role.

A diverse CV

This can be a double-edged sword. You may find one potential employer that has concerns over your short work stints, but another may find the diversity in your career history attractive.

Expands your network faster

It goes without saying that the more places you work, the more people you meet. The people you work with form a more sturdy and reliable part of your professional network, so by moving jobs regularly, you expand this part of your network rapidly.

Finding your fit faster

A huge plus to job hopping is that you have a better chance of finding the perfect job and/or company for you. It might be that you job hop until you find it and then stay put, and by moving frequently, you stand a better chance of getting to that place sooner rather than later.

The Bad

A lack of loyalty

We already touched on this subject above, but it is a very important point to consider. Yes, times are changing and having one job all of your life is rather more rare than once it was, but if your CV comprises a succession of short job stints, you will in all likeliness have to explain it. It may even be enough for a potential employer to not even consider your CV further as they may decide that you are going to do the same to them.

Last in, first out

If you join a company that abides by this rule when times are tough and retrenchments are required, you could well find yourself out on your ear.

Weak bridges

Maintaining a good relationship with your previous bosses is incredibly helpful when you need to call on them for references and recommendations. If you have only known your boss a short time, the relationship won’t be as strong. Further to this, if you call on them so frequently that it becomes obvious that your time at their company really was just a stepping stone, they may sever ties completely.

Job hopping can have a positive effect on your career or a truly detrimental one. It is crucial that you thoroughly weigh up the pros and cons and make sure that you are prepared for the impact, good or bad, that it might have on your career.

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