I heard almost every piece of advice there is about switching jobs during the first few years of my career.
“If you’ve been at a job less than one year, don’t put it on your resume. Stay at the same company for at least two years. Don’t switch industries or you’ll never be able to move up.”
I’m here to tell you that none of those statements are facts.
I’ve switched roles four times in the past five years and have found many job-hopping adages to be false—especially considering that workers between the ages of 25 to 34 spend an average of 2.8 years in a job. And 55% of employers say they have no problem hiring candidates who change jobs frequently.
That’s because taking on new positions can turn you into a more well-rounded professional, make you self-aware and confident, and help advance your career.
So rather than be afraid of how it might look on your resume, I encourage you to stay open to new opportunities that come your way. If you do, you’ll be happier and more productive at work.
Here’s why job-hopping can boost your career, instead of bringing it down:
Switching jobs kicks you out of your comfort zone.
When you get too comfortable in a role, you stop learning. There’s a point when you’re simply going through the motions—you’ve already figured everything out, you’ve done all the hard work, so you’re on cruise control.
In other words, you become so comfortable that your creativity comes to a halt.
When this happens, it’s time to switch things up—even if it’s as simple as taking on new responsibilities at your current job. You have to force yourself to get a little uncomfortable and out of your depths.
Do whatever it takes to start learning and pushing yourself again.
For me, switching jobs has thrown me out of my comfort zone and taught me to succeed in a number of different roles and industries. The more I’ve moved, the more confident and skilled I’ve become at understanding what customers want, thinking up new strategies, and taking the initiative to speak up and make changes.
Experiencing different work environments helps you learn what you need to thrive.
Switching jobs also helps you understand what motivates you.
I discovered this while working for a company that wasn’t very open to trying new things. At the time, I naively thought, “As long as I kept bringing new ideas to the table, at some point, they’ll be willing to try something different.”
I quickly realized that change wasn’t part of the company culture. But I also realized something even more valuable: I understood what kind of work environment I needed to thrive.
I want to be in a role where I can present ideas, be a core part of the strategy, and where trial and error is acceptable. If a company isn’t willing to consider new approaches or exchange ideas, it isn’t the right fit for me.
When you experience different work environments, you’ll quickly learn to evaluate employers as much as they evaluate you.
You won’t waste your time working for a company that doesn’t support your goals. Instead, you’ll choose a company that can help you rise to the top of your profession.
Knowing what you want from a job allows you to be more honest with yourself and employers.
The more you understand what helps you thrive at work, the more comfortable you’ll be voicing your needs to current and future employers.
For example, I used to get really nervous before job interviews because I was worried I’d say the wrong thing. I was so focused on whether or not I was putting on the right front, I never stopped to question if I truly wanted the job in the first place.
You never want to feel as though you’re putting on an act just to get a job.
It’s so important to be yourself. That means asking a lot of questions to make sure it’s a good fit. And if a company doesn’t want you when you’re being your authentic self, then it’s definitely not where you want to be.
The more honest you are with yourself, the more opportunities you’ll have to be happy at work.
Being true to yourself makes you more confident, which is great for professional growth.
When hiring managers see I’ve done some job-hopping, I’m prepared to tell them why. I support my decisions and am happy to explain every move I’ve made. No hiring manager has ever disagreed with my core belief that if I’m not learning in a job, it’s time to move on.
The key here is confidence.
When you’re confident with the professional path you’ve chosen, it shows. You’re able to respond to any experience-related comments or questions a new employer might throw at you.
The same goes for your current job. There’s nothing wrong with saying to your boss, “I’m bored. I want a new project. I need to be challenged. I’d like to try something different.” When they see you genuinely want to grow, a good manager is never going to respond negatively.
But if someone is willing to reject you based solely on job-hopping, they’ve done you a favor. A manager like that isn’t interested in someone who is looking for more out of their career.
And if you’re like me, you’ll keep putting in the hard work until you find someone that will help you flourish and grow into your fullest potential.