Is there a minimum time you need to stay at a job?

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“Baby boomers and previous generations have typically spent a large portion of their careers in one organization,” says Jamie Ladge, associate professor of management and organizational development at Northeastern University in Boston. “More current generations have evolved from this thought. Although there is no clear data to support the idea that young workers change jobs more than previous generations, most workers today expect to change jobs more than once in a while. during their careers in order to grow, learn new skills or get a better package. Job hopping is also more common in certain industries, such as technology.

“Moving a job has become a choice, which often says more about the employer than the employee,” says Smets. Workers are increasingly looking for workplaces that prioritize employee well-being and engagement, rather than staying with a “bad” employer. This change was dramatically accelerated by the pandemic, amid heightened sensitivities to burnout and unhealthy work practices – and in that environment came the so-called big resignation, leaving some employers struggling to fill positions.

Right now, “there is less stigma attached to changing jobs or to shorter periods than in previous years,” says Sullivan. “The pandemic is a major factor, which has caused many people to be unemployed, made redundant or quit for a variety of reasons ranging from caregiving to health and safety. Especially in today’s tight labor market, hiring managers have a better understanding of job gaps or brief overall changes.

Smets believes that while some of the stigma attached to quitting a job within a year persists, traditional ideas about the ideal length of tenure are being challenged, amid a “notable shift in power between employers and employees ”. But he also says that a new employer will want an explanation for a weirdly short tenure on your resume: “A critical part of the story is making it believable why the new job is a destination of choice, rather than an escape route.” , did he declare. said.

The best way to explain

All of this means that while an early departure from a company shouldn’t exclude you as a candidate for other jobs, it is essential to properly explain your move to convince hiring managers who will always favor candidates who have done so. proof of perseverance.

“Hiring managers want to know why you want to be there, just to make sure you stay,” says Smets. They might also want to know how you left things to your former employer. “Explain how you decided to leave your old organization, but still organized a solid transfer and agreed on a departure date that would not leave your team behind, even if only at the end of it. a month. If you can do it, you can show reliability and commitment even when moving jobs quickly.

If the job you left was significantly different from the one advertised, you can explain that, Lodge says. “A lot of times companies and hiring managers don’t take the time to give a realistic overview of a job, or they may not do the work necessary to get to know the job well and translate it for the employee,” Ladge explains. . “So the employee thinks that work is one thing and that it ends up being something totally different.

Sullivan also thinks that in general, to explain a quick start, “the key is to be upfront and able to provide context.” But she suggests focusing on positive topics related to the new role rather than delving deep into what went wrong in the previous one.

“If a potential employer asks about past experiences that you know weren’t ideal, it’s best to keep the discussion diplomatic and focus instead on why you’re excited. [about] that role or that potential business, ”says Sullivan. “What you bring to a job and why you are passionate about it matters now and means more to a hiring manager than what you left behind. “

Convincing a potential employer that you are the right hire, despite a few job changes, may ultimately come down to whether they think the skills you will bring outweigh the risks of keeping you. “Employers want someone they can invest in and who, in turn, will stay and grow within the company and their role,” says Sullivan.


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