Career Q&A: How Long Do I Need to Be in a Job Before I Can Apply Elsewhere? - TheStreet

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Q: Is there a minimum amount of time I need to work at a job before I apply elsewhere?

A: Some recruiters may think twice about bringing a candidate in for an interview if they have been at a position less than a certain amount of time, but just how long depends on the company, not to mention the economy.

“If you are going to make a goal for yourself, I think one year is good,” says Heather Huhman, a career counselor and founder of Come Recommended, who notes that before the recession the minimum amount of time might have been three years. “The economy is in such disarray that employers recognize people are jumping around quite a bit.”

While the amount of time you’ve worked at your current job is important, it’s not the most important factor. Instead, recruiters generally care more about what you’ve accomplished during your time at the job.

“You should be striving to accomplish as much as possible in any position because that’s what you’re really being judged by, not the time you’ve been there, though that is a factor,” Huhman says.

If you’ve been productive and entrepreneurial at your current job, it may not matter to recruiters whether you have been working there for two months or two years. The trick is to highlight those accomplishments in your resume and cover letter, and to be clear about your reasons for wanting to move on so soon after starting at that position.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to quit a job, whether it’s more money or more opportunities to grow. Huhman suggests emphasizing the fact that you’re “looking for big challenges” and that you want a position that “you can grow with.”

Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman.