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How Do You Define a Job Hopper?

Job HoppingJob hopping is an issue that doesn't go away in the careers blogosphere, but no one seems to agree on an exact definition for "job hopper." Slapping that label on someone depends on your interpretation of the phrase. Is someone job hopping after working at one company for a year? Six months? Two years? Five?

Here are three reasons people might have a resume consisting of several jobs in a fairly short period of time:

  • You take a job after being unemployed for several months during a recession because you needed a job, even though it doesn't advance your career. But you keep searching until something better comes around.
  • You graduate from college not knowing exactly what you want to do, so you try a few different roles before you find one you like that has long-term potential.
  • You have lousy luck and take roles with companies that have financial challenges, poor management practices, or bosses who could be distant relatives of Attila the Hun. In short, you're in constant search of a stable workplace that can turn your luck around.

So, is job hopping a good thing or bad thing? It depends. If you don't mind change at the expense of stability, it's a good thing. Otherwise, it's a bad thing, especially if the employers you're targeting value stability and loyalty. And, depending on the other parts of your life, you may also value the stability of a long-term job. Of course, employers must consider whether hiring a job hopper is a good investment or a risky one. And a job hopper who is serious about an opportunity may need to convince the employer that it's worth the risk. If you can effectively "sell" yourself and demonstrate that you and the employer are a strong match – and if they feel the same way – it may not be that hard to convince them.

How would you define a "job hopper?" Does job hopping help or hurt a job search? Give us your opinion.

RELATED LINKS

Take a Leap of Faith in a Job Hopper
How Often is Too Often to Change Jobs?
Bringing Boomers and Millennials Together at Work
Has the Recession Shattered Your Sense of Job Security?

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