Job hopping used to be a red flag on resumes. Sometimes seen as a quality of a candidate lacking loyalty and commitment, it was also at times a negative reflection of the company itself, as if the company couldn’t keep employees for very long.
While this might sometimes still be the case, it turns out that job hopping isn’t always as bad as you might think. In fact, if you do it correctly, job hopping can be seen as a strategic move, particularly in tech. If you know what you’re doing, job hopping can introduce you to even greater opportunities in your field while exposing you to technologies and skills that you might otherwise never come into contact with.
How Job Hopping Can Help Your Career
You may desire a more senior position, or to create your own startup with the knowledge you’ve gain from entry-level responsibilities. With such a wide variety of roles and skills in today’s tech industry, you’re certainly not going to get as varied of an education as you might hope if you remain in one place for too long.
For example, you might not get the experience you desire in web application development if you work purely as a QA engineer, but both might be equally as valuable to your future career, especially if you are looking to build a strong foundation to make you a more well-rounded engineer, thus making you more marketable for future employment.
Similarly, if you work primarily at large companies, you wouldn’t have gained experience at the smaller startup level. A few strategic job hops to cover these bases can do far more good for your career than you’ve likely been told. In fact, job hoppers who make these moves for the right reasons are typically the top performers in their companies.
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How Job Hopping Can Damage Your Career
If you regularly hop jobs to get a salary increase, know that this is only a sustainable practice for a limited amount of time. Hiring managers are more impressed by a succession of job changes based on ambition and the desire to grow.
Job hopping in an effort to make hasty and unqualified lateral moves should also be avoided. If you leap from job to job too quickly, you likely didn’t learn very much at each individual position, or at least not as much as you could have learned. Make sure you have gained the skills that would be expected of you from your time at a certain position before you consider moving on to another role.
Strategic Job Hopping
In the new workforce of millennials, job hopping is more common and accepted than ever before. Tech also sees its fair share of failed startups, so a short stint at a tech job isn’t alarming.
If you’re hopping jobs to chase a better salary or job title without putting in the work, you’re doing it wrong, and this will be clear to future hiring managers and will ultimately harm your career prospects. But if you’re hopping jobs to bolster your experience and build a stronger tech platform for yourself, you’re setting yourself up for success.