Does your resume look like a patchwork quilt? Job hopping can be damaging to your employment prospects because you may be considered a risky candidate. But, depending on the circumstances, a resume that displays frequent moves (such as less than two years at each position) may not be viewed negatively by hiring managers or recruiters.
While longevity and loyalty are positives that show signs of commitment and stability, there are some circumstances in which your pattern of job hopping may be irrelevant – or even appealing – to an employer.
Consider what motivated you to move from job to job: Did you relocate? Were you putting yourself through school? Did you advance through the ranks with each change? Perhaps your work history enabled you to move upward through the ranks. Try to see the bright side of your situation. Identify, and then leverage the qualities you've gained. For example, you're probably open to change, adaptable, and flexible. Certainly you've had exposure to a variety of settings and you've expanded your skill set with each new challenge.
In the meantime, if you're trying to find a long-term position, think about your career objectives and be discerning when you're reading job ads. Before you make another big change, take a close look at each opportunity and determine whether it's worth your while. If you find an opening that appeals to you, be sure it truly warrants another transition. Research the organization’s mission and culture in advance. When you go in for the interview, be sure you can envision yourself working with the people you meet. Next time you receive a tempting offer, ask yourself whether the compensation is truly satisfactory, and whether the position shows potential for growth. Does the position provide a good fit for your work values? Trust your instincts and take some time before you jump ship.
2. Not keeping up with professional development.
Learning is a lifelong process. Haven’t taken a class in a while? It’s not too late. If you’ve gotten a little complacent but you’re ready to shake things up, find some professional development opportunities that spark your interest, and pursue them – one at a time.
Professional development helps keep your skills relevant: it helps you stay fresh and current in your field and can also make you a more attractive candidate for a promotion or a new job.
Think small, rather than big here; you don’t necessarily have to start out by pursuing an advanced degree. Take a look at your long-term goals and identify the credentials, education, or training that will help you get there. Worried about fitting professional development into your busy schedule? Look for online classes you can take on your own timetable or sign up for a "low-commitment" local one-day workshop or seminar. You may also want to join a professional association in your industry, which can help connect you with local professional development events.
PD not only helps you gain new skills, it ups your game by giving you an edge. It helps you stay current and offers major networking opportunities. Talk about a win-win!
3. Neglecting your network.
If you’ve been out of the loop with professional development, chances are you’ve let networking opportunities pass you by as well. But it's never too late to get out there and grow your network, nurture the one you've got, or cultivate new connections. The most successful people need help from their colleagues and friends from time to time to help them succeed, so don't be shy.
Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn make it easy to establish or grow your professional network. If you don’t already have an account, set one up. In your profile, share your employment experiences in a storytelling format.
Reach out to professionals you already know in your field of interest and grow your network. If you've got a profile but it's in need of a reboot, give it some love. Update your resume and ensure that your LinkedIn profile reflects the highlights. Follow thought leaders and engage with your connections in your activity feed.
While online platforms are great tools, don't forget to reach out to your connections face-to-face, too, by meeting up for coffee or lunch. Think of networking as another form of professional development: when you interact with your connections, you gain new ideas, learn what's happening in the field, and keep up to date on the latest trends. You'll also hear about the kinds of advancement opportunities that are only available through word of mouth. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and network!