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The Pros And Cons of Job-Hopping, By: Fahmida Shaily Islam

Whether you’re a student or a graduate, finding jobs can be difficult. 'Job-hopping' refers to having worked, or working, multiple positions within a short time, and it has become more common due to the pandemic. Before landing a more stable career, people may job hop throughout university or college - or after graduating. As a recent graduate, my career path did not go as planned during the pandemic, and I found myself taking different temporary jobs instead. While that was not my plan, I’ve noticed both the advantages and disadvantages. 

The Advantages of Job-Hopping:

  1. You Gain an Array of experience: Job-hopping is one of the most effective ways to try different career paths, learn more about them, and determine if they are right for you. Unlike volunteering, you receive monetary compensation and have more roles and responsibilities. In my own experience, temporary job positions and internships were also more lenient to students and graduates. Job hopping is a perfect way to try different roles and different work cultures, hours, and pay. A variety of experiences and positions on your resume now shows employers your willingness to try new things, flex your skills, and adapt.
  2. Building a Wider network: Job-hopping provided me, so far, with a wide network of people to call on and seek out support or guidance from. By working within environments where I met more people - from my different supervisors, managers to colleagues. I ended up meeting people I could not have met otherwise, and they offered me different perspectives. I was also introduced to new roles that I did not know existed.
  3. You Attain the Advantage of Different Types of References: Another benefit I've learned from job-hopping throughout the pandemic was that different supervisors could advocate for the breadth of my skillset from different positions I've held. I now have a wider array of strengths and experience and can lean into my contacts at each role to vouch for my skills to employers for various prospective roles. Although the references knew me for less time, I fing myself walking away with different perspectives and advice on what I could improve on and what I was already good at! The increased number of references available also allowed me to have a more well-rounded view of my performance. Not relying solely on one person to give the full scope of my performance and skills further offered me more flexibility in asking for a reference for a specific role - as mentioned above, this is worth its weight in gold.
  4. Liberate Yourself With Fewer Restraints and Stagnation: Job hopping allows one to move to different companies and organizations and fill various roles - this goes without saying. Fact is, by doing this, there are fewer possibilities of getting stuck in the same routine or position and, in turn, becoming disinterested in it. There are also fewer restraints in terms of time commitment. It also allows a person to become more adaptable to changing environment - critical in building a long-term career path.

The Disadvantages of Job-Hopping:

  1. Less Stability: Contract or part-time work means that you will need to keep moving and keep up the pace when it comes to seeking out new roles and keeping doors open. This constant cycle and commitment can also lead to more significant gaps in a resume - if you don't find a job immediately after their current contract ends. If you have to move or commute for their work, it could also mean less stability in schedule and place of living. This can be especially tricky for students who have to balance studying with work.
  2. No Long-term Experience: Job-hopping often means changing roles and positions unless you stay in the same roles - just in different organizations. Holding these positions for a shorter time may limit future jobs, where recruiters may be looking for longer-term experience. It also may lead to prospective employers asking why the job let you go, or didn’t extend your contract, or why you switched jobs so often. However, it should be noted that if you’re honest about it and can show how that experience was still critical and you have the skills, this may change people's perspectives.
  3. Fewer Benefits: Sad fact, job-hopping means that you’re less likely to get health or other benefits, which can cost more in the long run. It also means unpaid lunch, and sick days, and vacations. You also miss out on pay increases over time. When it comes to laying off employees, temporary workers are usually also the first to go. Lastly, the changes in salary range can also be tricky.

If you’re reading this and are worried about job-hopping during the pandemic and how employees will view it...don't. Worrying solves nothing, and (most importantly) job-hopping has been more common as of late, so all you need to do is be honest with your prospective employer. No one is unaware of the limiting effects of this global pandemic on our global economy and how we are all impacted. We have all been working against a tide of restrictions and a 'new normal' and employers, well, good employers, should understand this. This means that they should take away from your resume that you have committed to improvement and gaining experience and skills throughout a trying time globally - that you are resilient. If they don't? You can always hop on over to another prospective employer...

Editor's Note: Job-hopping during a pandemic is a far cry from 'job-hoppers syndrome' which is when you hop from job to job and are never happy where you land. If you feel this way, it's important to assess why and try to discover how you can hone your strengths toward something more deeply aligned with your personality - with what makes you happy. :)