As everyone knows, the days of working for the same company for 40 years have long since passed. These days, people change jobs like they change shirts, and there’s nothing wrong with jumping ship whenever you get the urge. Right?
Not necessarily, according to Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite. In a Daily Muse post titled “4 Ways to Become Known as a ‘Career Builder’ — Not a ‘Job Hopper,'” Bitte says that leaping around too much can still raise red flags with potential employers. Her advice: make each job count, so you can point to every entry on your resume as a worthwhile experience.
Bitte’s first tip is to “learn something new” wherever you go. This might entail becoming proficient on a new software program or helping to develop innovative strategies for your company — or doing any number of things that make you a more valuable employee. As Bitte says, many companies offer their workforce these types of opportunities, and even when they don’t, it’s possible to pursue professional development outside the office. It just takes a little initiative.
Speaking of initiative, Bitte’s next tip is to “accomplish something hard.” As she puts it, people who change jobs frequently fall into two categories: the perpetually bored and the motivated go-getters. You want to seem like the latter, and since individuals dedicated to furthering their careers generally thrive on new challenges, you want to test your abilities and tackle a big project of some kind before give your notice at any job.
Pushing yourself and accepting new responsibilities can be scary, but as Bitte says, you’ve got to “make mistakes and learn from them” — tip No. 3. Bitte suggests trying something you’re not totally sure you’re ready for, knowing full well that failure isn’t the worst thing in the world, and that everyone learns through trial and error. “You’ll show people you’re not afraid to test a theory and see what happens,” she says, adding that the process might even make you see the value of your current position and make you decide to stick around longer.
Finally, Bitte says you should never say goodbye to a job before you establish connections with coworkers and build relationships that are going to last. Part of the reason no one stays at jobs any more is that LinkedIn and other such platforms have made networking faster and easier than ever before, and personal relationships have become the key for most jobseekers. It’s who you know, in other words, and just knowing names isn’t enough. “Keep in mind that connecting — truly connecting — is about a lot more than just friending someone,” Bitte says. “It’s about taking the time to get to know each person you add to your circle.”