How often should I change my job?

The job for life no longer exists. Modernisation of the world of work means many employees must now work harder to turn their dream career into reality. The old career paths have disappeared and you have to take responsibility for your career and progress.

Perhaps you feel you’ve reached a career ceiling but still have the drive and tenacity to rise further. You want to move on to fresh challenges and higher levels of creativity. Keeping your career afloat may feel like you’re navigating hazardous and murky waters, especially during times of company mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, ‘right sizing’, and ‘off-shoring’. If you need to reinvent your career then you need to understand your job market.

Keep an eye out for opportunities

Even if you’re happy where you are it’s smart to keep an eye on what’s out there. It fosters a healthy sense of possibility and adventure. It’s a good idea to peek your head over your laptop from time to time in case an interesting opportunity is in the offing. Chances are, you’ll change jobs at some point and when you get serious about finding a new role, then being familiar with the market will give you an advantage.

Moving jobs often used to be viewed with suspicion. However, this attitude is changing and the once negative image of job-hopping is now being seen as ambitious. In some industries, if you stayed at the same job for five years, you’d have some explaining to do.

This doesn’t mean the job-hopper stigma has completely vanished. If you’ve got too many jobs on your CV, you may be pigeon-holed as unstable, disloyal, or unable to work as part of a team, especially if these jobs are typically for terms of six months or less. You need to be able to show commitment. A pattern of frequent moves will begin to affect your credibility in the recruitment market. You can make one but not three mistakes.

Move for the challenge, show career progression

If your changing roles show a steady career progression, or a series of increasingly challenging assignments, then you should be able to turn it into an asset. If you left a job for a promotion, or a position with greater responsibilities, emphasise that aspect of the transition and how it has provided you with more experience and skills.

Recent graduates sometimes worry about leaving a job after only 10 or 12 months. Will they be thought flaky? Will they get another job? But sometimes things just don’t work out and employers understand that. If you’re moving into a different sector, especially if it’s early in your career, an employer will appreciate your honesty in explaining your position.

Take the opportunity to emphasise you’re taking charge of your career and looking for new challenges. It’s better to look elsewhere to develop your career if you feel your current job is not providing enough scope.

Michael is Chief Executive of 10Eighty. 10Eighty is a career and talent management consultancy that helps organizations maximize the contribution of their employees by ensuring satisfying jobs and careers for their employees. Michael is a Human Resources professional, having worked in the National Health Service, Insurance, Commodities and Derivatives industries. He has worked within the career coaching business for fifteen years, both managing a £7 million business and delivering bespoke, one to one career coaching. In the last 15 years Michael has run businesses that have helped 75,000 people make successful career transitions. He is a frequent commentator in the press/media, which includes a range of topics on “successfully managing your career” and talent management. Most recent media mentions have included BBC South, CNBC, Radio4, Financial Times, City AM, Financial News, Evening Standard, The Sunday Times, The Grapevine and HR Magazine, to name but a few. He writes a careers column for People Management, a blog for the Human Resources Magazine and is a regular contributor to The Thompson Reuters HR Portal. Michael is known as a thought provoking speaker in the HR industry. In the last 18 months, Michael spoke at the Careers Partner International Conference, NHS breakthrough conference, NHS North West Leadership Academy, London School of Economics, University of Westminster’s Talent Management Conference, ICAEW Finance Directors Conference, CIPD learning and development conference and CIPD branch seminars. He is also Chair of the CIPD’s Central London Branch. Additionally is a non executive director of Marshall ACM, an e-learning company and the Total Reward Group, a compensation and benefits consultancy. Michael plans to publish his book “The guide to everlasting employability” in the Autumn 2012. He has just launched an iphone app “careers snakes and ladders” and an online interactive version of the book in collaboration with Marshall ACM to coincide the launch of his new business 10Eighty. Michael has a degree in Economics, a MBA from Warwick Business School and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He holds an accreditation from the British Psychological Society for the use of psychometrics. Michael has completed the Fairplace Internal Accreditation Programme, the training element of which is externally recognised by the Association for Coaching. Michael Moran was until January 2012 Chief Executive of Fairplace and a main board director of Savile plc, the career and talent management consultancy. Fairplace is part of the Savile Group, an AIM listed plc. The Savile Group was placed 16th in the Sunday Times top 100 small companies in 2010.

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Michael Moran – CEO 10Eighty

A blog about career and talent management, things that might help you with your career and in your job.