How Long in a Job is Best Before Jumping to a New Gig?

How Long in a Job is Best Before Jumping to a New Gig?

Written By:

Lynn Whitbeck

Is it true that new college graduates are likely to have more employers during their careers than our parents did? And if so, how long should I stay in a job to look like a good bet for future employers before jumping to a new gig for an improvement in pay or opportunity?  – Gemma in Joplin, Missouri

Answer:

The trends and statistics are absolutely demonstrating that younger workers are likely to have more employers. There are many factors impacting these results. Some experts note the diminishing loyalty in the job market. While that may be true, then again, every field is different. Consider the rapidly changing job market and industry base, and know that it’s exponentially increasing.

The second part of your question has no hard and fast rules. However, the longer you can stay with an employer, the better. That does not mean you need to have the same job within the organization. Many companies aggressively hire within, providing tremendous opportunities for career growth. The timeframe of staying with the same employer varies based on the industry and organization, as do the circumstances. If you are working as a barista to make ends meet and leave after three months for a position in your chosen field, you’ll likely get a pass from the recruiter and hiring manager.

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If you are working in (or closely related to) your industry of study, do your best to stay put for a few years. Look for opportunities within the organization or your job duties. Consider taking on volunteer activities to stretch and grow your skill set. This will help you in laying the groundwork for new connections and transferable experience for your next gig.

Bottom line, stay in your company for at least two years. If your track records start showing less than a year, hiring managers will start asking difficult questions, which may distract from all your good points. With all that, my last piece of advice is contradictory. If a tremendous opportunity presents itself, go for it.

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