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When Job Hopping Makes Sense. A Guide To Career Hopping

You mention the term ‘job hopping’ and the majority of people will tell you it’s a bad idea. You have to ‘pay your dues’ in the workplace!

According to the study by ‘Future Workplace’ the majority of Millennials expect to stay in their job less than 3 years. This constitutes to over 15-20 job roles throughout one’s career. Quite different to the one job and retirement strategy typically adopted by our parents.

But is job hopping really all that bad today? You have to suggest not. Economic instability and being raised within a world of such financial confusion has led to this strategic approach to finding the right role or making advancements within your career. Settling down and finding a company you can stick with long term is not the primary goal of millennials of today.

Job hopping is no longer frowned upon. In some cases it can actually be admired for the savvy approach to a career advancement. Having a job hopping strategy shouldn’t be looked at as devious, narcissistic or self centered. Making moves in your career and having a clear path of what you want to achieve should be applauded. The harsh reality is that some companies may struggle to get you to where you want to be within your career.

Job hopping should only be done for the right reasons. It should be looked at as a strategy and one which gets you to where you want to be. Here are some tips for making career advancements and changing roles when it makes sense to do so.

Stalled Development:

Nothing is worse within the workplace than stalled development or a job which doesn’t have you learning everyday. It’s essential to keep learning always; especially in the early years of your career.

Stalled development or a job role which doesn’t inspire you to learn more is a valid reason for your to move on in your career especially if you have a strategy.

Don’t just job hop for salary:

The majority strive to earn more money. Although it’s become less of an importance we still have life aspirations which invariably involves money for us to fulfil.  Job hopping for purely salary however is a worrying game to play.  Make sure the culture fit is right. You may go from a forward thinking, flexible working advertising agency to a traditional large organisation with rigid working hours and no real flexibility.

Is this going to be the right move culturally? Of course not! The hops need to make sense and earning more money is not the only way you can advance in your career. It’s an expectation that as you progress you will earn more however don’t compromise on your beliefs/goals and aspirations for financial rewards.

Learn with every move:

Stay at a job long enough to show you have learned something. Perception is everything and although job hopping isn’t frowned upon as it once was a number of ‘8 month’ stints will send alarm bells ringing in hiring companies ears.

Every move should fit into the long term strategy. Will the job help you with your communication skills as it’s more client facing? Will the next job enhance your project management skills as you are dealing with multiple clients within an agency environment?

Build, progress and learn. Instead of trying to take giant leaps use every company as an education.

Will A help me get to B?

You may not always command the ‘end goal’ move with every job hop but strategically it must involve progression. This doesn’t always mean moving up the career ladder. This can be a progression towards the right fit culturally or towards the right type of working environment.

I used my early career as a way of finding what type of company was the right fit for me. I worked agency, large organisation, home worker and now a small, fast paced, growing organisation. It took time to find the type of company I was comfortable in.

Along the way however I was always progressing; enhancing my knowledge and picking up skills which are an essential part of my career strategy.

Job Titles ARE Important:

Have you ever had a recruiter sending you for specific roles because your CV screams that’s your profession? Sure this could be looked at as a CV issue but it also happens with excessive job hopping within the same job role. If you’re strategy involves moving into a specific job role then every role move will be looked at in detail. My last role was as a ‘Blogger Outreach’ manager and the types of roles I were sent were strictly within this industry. I was struggling to differentiate as Linkedin searches were leaving me within this area.

As you make advancements however in job title your opportunities immediately open. It’s amazing how important a job title can be in moving to the next level. Perception is still everything and people negotiate job titles as it makes a huge difference long term.

Is the job title you are moving onto showing a line of advancements or at least taking you into an area you want to go into? Staying on the same level of job titles and job hopping gives the perception you are drifting.

Diversity is the key:

Job hopping can be great if there’s diversity between the roles. Similar roles, mirrored expectations and a lack of progression in job deliverables is deemed as a sideways step. The new role has to bring something different to the table and give you a skill or provide you with experience which you may have struggled to acquire elsewhere. As mentioned previously I was keen to work across three different distinctions. These were

Working from home
Agency (Design/Digital Marketing Agency)
In House

I felt that by developing a level of knowledge in each of the areas I had skills which someone who has worked purely agency side didn’t have. Furthermore by having a stint agency side I had the experience of working on tight deadlines and dealing with external stakeholders something you may not face when working in house. By achieving diversity and differentiation it gives you greater scope for the roles you apply for in the future.


Promotions on a whole come far easier when job hopping. Sure there are some companies who promote from within however it can be far easier reaching the next stage of your career by making that leap to another organisation.

Most companies struggle with developing staff or giving them the platform to move to the next level. Furthermore may not have the growth capacity to accommodate you in a more senior role. Lastly your manager may be in no position to move on or the position you aspire to reach (Not all promotion is up the ladder)

You may have reached your potential at a specific role and the only way to reach the never level of your career is to move on. Promotions don’t happen as fast when you are static; you just need to get the timing right!

Don’t stay because you are told that is right!

Parents, family and peers can be great for advice but can also be your worst enemy. Our attitudes to work and how the working environment is has completely changed. The job for life mantra has changed and job hopping will most certainly be met with ‘Are you sure?’. The worst thing you can do is stay somewhere because your parents thought it was a hasty decision; unless they of course have absolute working knowledge of your job role.

You have to be determined and confident in what you are striving towards. Sure finding a job is tough for many of our generation but in the same time others are seeing huge career advancements. Industries are thriving and only you know if the place you are currently with is right for you and your strategic goals long term.

Don’t be afraid and follow your long term aspirations. If you have researched the market, analysed the job pool and are confident you can excel elsewhere then what’s stopping you. Job hopping and making the right decisions is nothing to be frowned upon. It should actually be applauded.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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