Job Hopping 101: 5 Things to Think About Before You Bounce

job hoppingOne of the questions I’m asked all the time: Is job hopping ok, or do employers frown upon resumes that show a whole bunch of job hopping?

Here’s what I think…

I think us young people need to job hop. I think we need to try new things until we find careers that are right for us. Until we find careers that we’re passionate about.

Too many people stay at jobs they hate. In turn, they become miserable. 

So while I do think we need to get out there and take steps towards careers that are right for us, here are a few things to keep in mind when job hopping.

Give Your Employer At Least A Year Of Your Time

If you’re hired for a job, give your employer at least a year of your time. If someone has taken the time to train you and to onboard you, those things are expensive and you ought to give that job a shot for a year. Who knows? Maybe you initially hate it but grow to love it after a few months. In my experience, making any kind of decision about a job before a year’s time is a little premature.

Whether or not it’s the right fit, use that year to kick ass at your job. Use that year to learn new skills and network. But if after that year you know it’s not a career you want to pursue long-term, look for something else. Every minute you spend after that is wasted time.

When You Do Leave, Leave On Good Terms

When you do decide that it’s time for your next career move, do it the right way. Don’t just head out for lunch and never come back and don’t make a scene. Don’t walk into your boss’ office, say he’s an asshole, and throw your files on his desk. That would be no bueno, my friends.

Instead, leave on good terms, don’t burn bridges, and leave with some awesome references for the future. Give your two weeks notice in person, and whenever possible, stick around to train your replacement. That’s the final impression your employer will have of you, and I promise, it’s almost as important as the first.

Be Strategic with Your Job Hopping

As much as I’m a fan of job hopping, I think you need to be strategic about it. You need to do your homework, be really honest about what you’re looking for, and make smart moves that aren’t totally random.

For example, let’s say you’re working in banking and you’re hating life. Let’s say you’ve decided that banking isn’t for you and that you want to pursue a career in Human Resources. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t be applying for jobs at a bakery. You shouldn’t be applying to a job on Wall Street. You should only be applying for jobs that’ll get you a little closer to an HR job, or that will at least give you the opportunity to work on skills that you’ll need for that job.

Make Sure You Communicate Why You’re Leaving

I’m 26 years old, and up until this point, here are all the things I’ve been paid to do:

  • Medical Clinic Secretary | Working with my dad, mostly filing
  • FIU Tour Guide | Giving tours of my college campus
  • Hospital Secretary | Scheduling meetings, answering the phones, basic entry-level work
  • Hospital Administrative Assistant | Working with employee,  & community relations
  • Regulatory Research Coordinator | Managing research studies at a hospital
  • Contract Administrator | Reviewing, managing, and negotiating hospital contracts
  • Social Media Manager + Copywriter | Doing awesome stuff at BlackDog Advertising

I stayed at each of my previous jobs for at least a year, but every time I left, I had a very clear reason as to why I was leaving. It’s important that you can communicate that reason because when you’re being interviewed for a new job, that’s one of the questions you’ll be asked. “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Explain that you’re looking for a job that’ll allow you to better use your skill set. Be honest about it. Tell your interviewer that you realized your previous job was not the right fit and that you’re committed to finding a job you can be happy at long-term. As long as you can explain it well, most employers will understand and won’t be alarmed by your job hopping.

Learn From Every Job

When done correctly, job hopping leads to larger skillets because we can all learn SOMETHING from every job we hold. So regardless of whether you’re at the bottom of the career ladder or the top, use every single job as a stepping stone. Focus on learning as much as you can while you’re there. Then use those skills and the knowledge acquired at your next job.

And know that it’s never too late to change jobs. I don’t care if you’ve been working at the same place for 20 years. I don’t care if you’re 70 years old. If you’re miserable, it’s time to go. If your job brings you no joy or satisfaction, you owe it to yourself to try to find a new one. Sure, there are things you ought to consider before jumping ship, but if I know one thing, it’s that your happiness and sanity are worth it. I should know. I’m the one who took a $10,000 pay cut to pursue my dream career, and the only thing I regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Gen Y Girl.





About the Author: Kayla Buell graduated college at the age of 20 with a degree in Health Services Administration. She is currently working as a Regulatory Coordinator in Clinical Research while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Human Resources. She has found she’s most passionate about helping young professionals navigate through their first few years as GenYers in the workforce. Follow Kayla on Twitter!



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