NEW YORK (MainStreet) Leaving one job for a better one can be a smart career move, but too many employment changes in a short time span can give human resources managers cause for concern unless, that is, you're a Millennial.
An average of five job changes in ten years usually will prompt worries of job hopping, according to a survey by Robert Half.
"The job market has been unpredictable in recent years, and employers understand job candidates may have had short stints in some positions," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director with Robert Half. "However, businesses look for people who will be committed to the organization, can contribute to the company and help it reach its short- and long-term goals. Too much voluntary job hopping can be a red flag."
Yet Millennials may have nothing to worry about in the future as the stigma around job hopping fades in an uncertain economic environment.
<"p>America's current work environment is drastically changing," said Halley Bock, president and CEO with Fierce. "It's incredibly rare that someone retires with the company they joined as a young adult."
Millennial workers are known for seeking out knowledge no matter the perceived consequences.
"They aren't afraid to change jobs when it means an opportunity to advance their knowledge base," Bock told MainStreet. "The bottom line is if a company is concerned you'll change jobs two years after being hired, the problem may not be you. It may be the staid, non-challenging work environment they've created."
When HR managers were asked how many job changes over a ten-year period it would take for a professional to be viewed as a job hopper, the mean response was five.
"Job hopping is suspect for HR professionals because the average time to train and fully orientate an employee to a new role is about four to six months," said Lesley Nygaard, senior recruiter of talent acquisition with TriNet. "Depending on the role, this can represent a significant financial investment for a firm. They do not really start to see the benefit of the hire until after that six-month time frame."
Upgrading the image of a job hopper on paper requires some effort.
"Include a solid explanation in the cover letter that directly addresses their movements," Nygaard told MainStreet. "Confront the issue head on. Often, candidates just attach a resume with no cover letter or explanation to their unique circumstances. An 'other interests' section on a resume could also help highlight long-term commitments to sports teams, social group affiliations and professional groups, which can provide assurance of the applicant's ability to sustain longer term commitments in other areas of life."
Workers would do well to stick with one position for at least three years when trying to repair a history of job hopping.
<"p>At some point the cost of too much moving will outweigh the immediate benefit of additional salary or experiences gained, and this definitely needs to be well-thought-out prior to making a job move," said Nygaard.
Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet