Have you been thinking about how to make progress towards the career you want? Maybe you have been thinking about your current job and whether it’s time to make a move?
The Double-Edged Sword of Job Hopping
Many people worry they may be trying to make a career transition too soon. There is a lot of discussion around the tendency toward job hopping. Or the perception that someone is job hopping.
Lots of job seekers are concerned if they have a string of jobs they only stay in for a short period of time, that’s going to reflect poorly on them when they go to look for a new position.
There is something to be said for that. Hiring committees often question job applicants who had multiple short stints at companies and never seemed to stay for longer than a couple of years. But more and more, shorter tenures are becoming the norm.
In 2019, half of Australian employees reported being in their current job fewer than two years. About 20% had been in their jobs 3-4 years. Another 20% for 5-10 years and then only about 10% of Aussie workers had been in their position for more than 10 years.
This is very different from my parents’ generation. My dad worked for one company for nearly 40 years. My mom still works and has been with her current employer over 20 years. But this is not typical for Generation X and Millennials.
Remaining in a Position Too Long
What if you are someone who stayed in the same job for an extended period of time? And now you want to move on?
You might suffer from a negative review by potential employers. Rather than being seen as a loyal employee, they may question whether you have become stagnant. Or too complacent.
While job hopping is often looked down upon so is the failure to launch.
While there are plenty of people who job hop consistently, there are just as many employees who fail to launch. They stay in position or with a company for too long.
Again, 2020 was an odd year. Lots of companies downsized. Some companies were dissolved. Industry sectors changed. And the economy still has not fully recovered.
Jobs have an expiration date. There is a point at which you can remain in a position for too long and risk becoming what we call under-employed.
If you’ve plateaued in your current position, you may be in a tough situation when it comes to looking for a new job. Employers may ask you why you haven’t moved on earlier and the last thing that you want to do is respond, “I stayed because it was safe” or “I was scared to make a move [due to COVID].”
The economy and employment outlook has been uncertain for the past 15 months. But don’t use this as an excuse when you’re asked about why you chose to remain in your current position.
Rather than showcasing yourself as if you were adversely impacted by outside events, it’s important to demonstrate your career decisions are in your control.
Showcasing a Long Tenure in a Positive Light
Be prepared to discuss justifiable reasons for remaining. You could mention things such as loyalty to the company or wanting to complete a project you were responsible for.
Avoid saying you were at the mercy of someone or something else.
It is equally important to examine your position and determine how the role has changed in the time you’ve had it. Have you done any additional training? Have you taken on any new responsibilities? What types of accomplishments or achievements have you realised?
It’s very possible your title may have remained the same, but you may have taken on more advanced duties over time. These need to be highlighted when you’re talking to hiring managers.
Reflect on what’s happened over the past year. Companies have downsized but that work remains. Did you pick up any additional duties when co-workers were made redundant?
If you feel like your job is reaching it’s expiration date, keep these tips in mind as you begin crafting your job application documents and putting in your applications.
Doing so will make it much easier to demonstrate the value you could provide your next employer and stand out from the crowd of other applicants.