What is Job hopping?
Job hopping is a tactic many people use to find the job that’s a perfect fit for them. It’s defined as having a pattern of staying with a job for a certain amount of time and then leaving. But if you’re not careful this behavior can be frowned upon by hiring managers.
That begs the question — how can you find a job that’s a perfect fit for you if you can’t test out the waters?
In this post I’ll show you when job hopping is frowned upon and when it can actually help your situation. It all boils down to how you do it.
Let’s dive in.
When is job hopping bad?
Whether or not job hopping is a good or bad thing boils down to one thing–timing
Working at a company for 6, 8, or 10 months before leaving is looked at as a low competency trigger. Hiring managers view this track record as a red flag. They think “what is wrong with this person? Why can’t they stay at a job for longer than 6 months?” Once you’re branded in this way, it can be hard to get hiring managers to take you seriously.
Think about it. Let’s say you wanted to date someone and you found out they typically are in a relationship for 6 months before deciding to date someone new. Guess what, you wouldn’t want to date that person!
The same thing goes for companies. If it’s clear you can’t commit to a company for longer periods of time, it can make people question hiring you. But remaining faithful to a company doesn’t mean staying there forever. Let’s take a look at when job hopping is the right move.
When job hopping is a good thing
As we said before, having a pattern of leaving a job after 6 months is a low competency trigger. But staying a bit longer at a job before leaving is viewed more positively. In fact, it’s quite common for top performers to leave a job after 2-3 years to find a better one.
The reason for this difference is a subtle one — top performers leave jobs to grow in their professional development. They seek out a greater challenge and more responsibility. This is one of those shifts in mindsets that will help you throughout your career.
When hiring managers see that you tend to leave a job every 2-3 years in order to accept a bigger role or more responsibility, they look at it as a high competency trigger. Being viewed in this way makes it easier to get that Dream Job you’re looking for.
So how should a frequent job hopper apply this information?
If you want to solve your job hopping problems over night, the short term solution is to simply stay at a job longer before you decide to leave. Doing so will help you get better jobs in the future as you’re seen as a more dependable person. But the better approach is to adjust how you decide on what job to pick in the first place. Let me show you how to fix the root of your problem.
Want to know the easiest way to stay at jobs longer than 6 months? Actually pick a job you like!
That sounds simple enough, but so few people follow this approach. They usually are persuaded by just looking for a change. But the root of the problem is they haven’t given any serious thought to what type of work they enjoy.
The best solution is to use my Window Shopping strategy.
Pretend you’re walking through a mall looking for something to buy. But there are so many stores!
You walk by a few that are clearly not for you. Ed hardy, maybe. But then you spot something nice in the window. You step inside, check it out, and maybe even try it on.
Yet you’re still not ready to buy. Maybe you go home and talk to some friends about it, or read some reviews on Amazon. At the end of the day it’s your call whether to buy it or not. There’s zero commitment and zero risk.
This is exactly the same strategy you can use to find a job that’s a better fit for you.
While looking for a job, you’re bound to come across some that aren’t for you, just like you walked past the Ed hardy store in the above example.
Others might catch your eye, but after some light reading and research, you find out they are not for you. But then you find a gem. So you do more and more aggressive research that leads you to believe that this job may be a right fit.
But the Window Shopping Strategy doesn’t end there.
That’s because no matter how much research you do, you still won’t have the full context of what that job you’re interested in will entail. So the next step of the Window Shopping Strategy is to talk to people who are currently in the field you’re interested in or have worked there in the past.
The best thing about sites like LinkedIn, Reddit, Facebook, etc, is they have you access to people you otherwise wouldn’t meet. You’d be surprised how many of these total strangers will welcome having a conversation about their profession.
Interviewing these people will give you a view behind the curtain of what having that job will really be like. After you have a few conversations, you’ll have more clarity on whether or not the job will be a right fit for you. And at the end of the day if it’s not right, it’s ok. You haven’t committed to anything. You’re just trying things on.
Here’s an image that sums the Window shopping strategy:
By using this strategy you’ll increase the likelihood that whatever job you pick will be a great fit for you. It also could lead to more overall happiness and an increase in income since we typically perform well at tasks that we like doing.
Finding your Dream Job doesn’t have to be difficult
Using the above Window shopping strategy can help you stop frequent job hopping in its tracks. Once you develop the ability to know when a job is a good fit for you, you’ll stay longer and will find more fulfilling work.
But what if you don’t want to just find a better job? What if you want to find the perfect job for you. Your Dream Job.
I’ve put together my best tips on finding your dream job in a downloadable PDF. It will go into much more detail than this blog post, and best of all it’s free!Just enter your email address below and get free access!
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