Posted by Tim Stobbs on August 5, 2010
I nearly fell out of my chair the other day when I was reading this article that suggested that a person should keep a job on average of five years to avoid looking like a job hopper which could reduce your chances of getting hired. Pardon? So in my ten year career I should have only had two jobs! Guess what I’ve had seven different jobs in that time frame and it has NEVER been mentioned in a single interview that it was a problem. Heck with my last two jobs I only applied for one job and got it both times.
If you have read this blog for a while you would have noticed I have a thing against most rules of thumb as they can more often than not get you into hot water. In this case I would a point out a few things the come into play when looking at a career history like:
- Job Progression – Ok, so you had three jobs at one company in a two year period. Yet if you were promoted into each job isn’t that good thing to demonstrate your employer liked you enough to promote you frequently? I’ve been in a situation twice where I was promoted after six months.
- Career Development – Is there an established pattern of increasing responsibility and educational improvement? If so, you are likely going to be given some slack on taking on new challenges and developing yourself as long as you don’t do it like every four months.
- Geographic Considerations – Did you move to take a job? I think most people are willing to consider that wanting to move out a crappy location to a better one is a reasonable choice for a family.
Yet at the same time I do appreciate that frequent job changes (like under a year) can look bad on a resume if you aren’t careful. In my mind I would be willing to discuss a isolated case of job hopping, but if you look like to change jobs every six months for the last four years. That would be setting off alarm bells and impacting your hiring prospects.
So how about you? How many jobs have you had over your career? Please also include the length of your career. I’m curious how many people would actually be within the 1 job per five year ‘rule’.