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Since starting your professional career, you’ve probably been hearing the same advice: building a solid resume that reflects your skills and ability to work with the same company is critical. In other words, you should avoid job hopping at all costs.
In many cases, this holds true. But, if you think job hopping is right for you — like 57 percent of Millennials do, follow the tips below to use job hopping to benefit your career:
1. Look for new opportunities after the hop.
Once you’ve landed a new job opportunity, you’ve taken an all-important first step. Now, it’s time to stay on the lookout for new opportunities within the company to make sure you receive maximum benefits.
This new role is the perfect chance to start over. In order to take advantage of your “new employee on the block” status, consider:
- Building relationships with key players, especially those in management.
- Paying attention to company culture in your new role. Who are the decision makers? Who gets things done? These are the people you’ll want to align yourself with.
- Looking for new opportunities. As projects become available and new positions open up, put yourself out there.
By demonstrating that you’re ready for new opportunities, you’re more likely to land one.
2. Take steps to reach long-term goals.
If you recently made a career change, or are looking to switch to a new role or company, one of the most important things to consider is your long-term goal. If you’re reaching for a new long-term goal, think about:
- Where you’d like to be in five to 10 years. Create a career map and list exactly what you’ll need to get there.
- Enrolling in classes, joining a professional organization, and taking whatever step is necessary to get there. If it’s your true goal, it will be worth it in the long run.
- Making others aware of your ambitions. If people assume you’re happy where you’re at, they won’t consider you for new opportunities.
3. Think past the here and now.
It’s a hard fact: in some roles, advancement just isn’t possible. Sometimes moving forward means taking a step back. According to Matt Peterson, CEO of eFileCabinet, employees looking for greater opportunities must be willing to take a step backward for something better in the future.
If you’ve recently taken a “lesser” position, or are considering doing so:
- Remember that flexibility is key. You may need to practice patience to end up ahead.
- Ask about opportunities for advancement to make sure you’ll be able to move forward.
- Consistently prove your value. Make your accomplishments known by sending out project highlight emails that recognize all team members — including yourself.
- Quantify results that were achieved because of your efforts, and be prepared to speak about how you bring value to your new team.
4. Set new expectations.
One of the fastest ways to miss the benefits that you could reap by job hopping is to only do the minimum. Sometimes this happens as a result of confusion over a job description, sometimes it’s due to something else.
By job hopping, you’ve hit the reset button. To set new expectations this time around:
- Study your new job description. What are your responsibilities? What’s your new role?
- If there’s any confusion, ask in the beginning. It’s better to have questions during your first week than after expectations haven’t been met six months in.
- Look for ways to improve. Consider creating a 30-60-90 day plan. Share it with your new manager. Consider the current role, along with ideas for enrichment.
5. Use your new role to increase your paycheck quickly.
When you’re with the same company for an extended period of time — the average professional stays in a position for 4.6 years in the U.S. — there are certain steps and time frames that must be fulfilled before you become eligible for a promotion. Hopping between jobs cuts down on this time frame and gives you the opportunity to negotiate for more now.
- Demonstrate your value by showing exactly what you’ve accomplished in past roles. Look at all aspects of your job offer and look for areas in which you’re willing to negotiate, such as vacation time or sign-on bonuses.
- Ask the individual who made the offer who you’d need to speak with to negotiate details, then set up an appointment so it’s scheduled, rather than on the fly.
- Be ready to discuss what you bring to the table and why you deserve more, such as past experience, years worked, previous salary level, etc.
- Reach high, but be willing to accept less. It’s better to ask for more and face a “no” or a lesser pay increase than to not ask at all.
6. Go all in for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
If you’ve been dreaming of a job and it opens up, it’s time to act. Once you’ve gotten your foot in the door, through an interview or another position, you have the ultimate opportunity to reach your dream.
To go all in:
- Prepare: boost your LinkedIn profile and start building connections before any positions become available.
- Practice discussing your strengths. Remember, this is your dream job. Even if you don’t meet all of the qualifications, you want to look (and sound) like you do.
- If you’ve already landed the position, go above and beyond from Day 1. The goal is to keep that job. Throw yourself into any and all projects; be a “yes” person, and prove your dependability.
7. Build your network from Day 1.
To receive maximum benefits from a job hop, having the right individuals in your court from Day 1 is critical. This includes those in and out of your new role.
To build your network:
- Stay in touch with past professional connections. Just because you’ve left a role doesn’t mean you won’t have a need or opportunity for those connections in the future.
- Make yourself known in your new office. Something as simple as adding a candy dish to your desk gives co-workers a reason to come to you.
- Introduce yourself. Send out an email introduction to your new team and respond to those who welcome you.
- Take the time to introduce yourself in person to people throughout the office. Remember, there’s a reason open door policies are important.
- Join task forces, projects, and participate in meetings. Speaking up from the beginning will provide new opportunities for advancement.
8. Take what you can from your new role.
As you’ve just learned, job hopping has its benefits — so, there’s no reason not to stay open to it in the future. Think of your employment like dating: wait to settle down until you’ve found your perfect match.
In the meantime, take what you can from your new role:
- Become familiar with your new benefits. Can you go back to school? Benefit from a relocation? Take on new roles?
- Become familiar with the terms — like how long you must stay in the role without having to pay the company back — then take full advantage.
- Stay on the lookout for new opportunities at other companies. If you’ve built your network effectively, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Know when it’s time to go. You’ve done it once, there’s no reason not to do it again. When it’s time to leave, act before it’s too late.
There are many benefits to be had from job hopping — it’s up to you to take advantage of them.
About the Author
Sarah Landrum is a career blogger and freelance writer. Connect with Sarah on Twitter at @SarahLandrum.
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