When it comes to love, I’m a one-man woman. But in the six years that I’ve been with my partner, I’ve had eight different job roles. That’s right, my CV has seen even more action than Leonardo DiCaprio at a Victoria’s Secret show (read: a lot), and I’m not alone. Gone are the days of employees staying put in the one job – or even one occupational field – for decades. Now, everyone’s swapping job roles, employers and careers all the time.
Welcome to generation job-hop
Every time I’ve announced to my dad that I’m changing jobs (again), he has made this noise eerily similar to Marge Simpson’s groan. He’s not used to the fluid nature of employment these days; he worked for the same employer for 30-plus years.
“We have seen a shift to people now accepting that it’s normal and healthy to have many jobs, and even careers, during their lifetime,” says Emma Whalan, a human resources advisor. “The internet has helped in changing people’s approach; it’s easy to see that opportunities exist and to switch between roles.”
Pulling the moves
As much as my dad may worry about my promiscuous behaviour in the job market, I’ve stayed in the same field, gaining more experience. Instead of scaring off prospective employers, in my case, they have seen my varied roles as a positive.
“When you move into different roles, you’re exposed to new projects and build up new skill sets and expertise. You also work with different colleagues. This can be great for internal networking and also gives you exposure to new working and management styles,” Emma points out.
But don’t leap from job to job if you’re moving sideways rather than upwards.“When an employer is looking at CVs, they want to see a story of experience, skills and learning that suits the role she’s hiring,” Emma explains. “If your experience is coupled with an increase in responsibility, it speaks to your ability to learn, grow and contribute.”
Focus vs flighty
However, not all prospective bosses will be as progressive – in fact, they might be old-school and see your job-hopping as a big, fat warning sign. “Considering the amount of training and effort that goes into hiring a new employee, hiring managers tend to look for both stability and commitment from employees,” warns Jane McNeill, director of recruitment company Hays.
However, as Emma suggests, there is a way around this: “If you’ve had many jobs, focus your resume on skills rather than in a chronological order of job titles.” And if you get to the interview stage, keep driving home that point. “If you’re confident that you can talk about the reasons you have changed jobs in a way that makes sense to an employer, then that’s great,” Jane adds.
Should I stay or should I go?
You don’t have to change things up just because you’ve been in the same job or company for years. As long as you find that you’re still growing, there’s no reason to move on. “As long as your career or responsibilities have continued to develop over long periods, it’s a positive,” says Jane.
As for me, the longest gig I’ve had was two years and the shortest, just three months. But with each job change, I knew that the time was right to move on – I haven’t made a single rash decision. Take that, Dad!
Image: Alexander Raths / 123RF.com
Text: Josie Rozenberg-Clarke