Who are job-jumpers and what should you do if you were named one?

Yana Shvets
10 June 2020

There are people who hold on to their job for years just to avoid changes, even though they don’t like it. Despite this, there are more and more opposite cases appearing – people who are not afraid of change, they are inspired by it. These specialists are quick to accept a job. It is required to be attentive: rapid career changes can move you into the category of job-jumpers. Yana Shvetz, the recruiter from Boosta IT company, is exploring what kind of people are they and are these “flyers” welcomed to work.

Who are job-jumpers

Job-jumpers are people who have repeatedly changed their jobs in a short period of time. There are other names for this employee category: job-hoppers, jumpers, hoppers, and flyers.

There are no established criteria for assigning a job seeker such a status in terms of time spent at a particular position or their number. Usually, these are people those who change their job several times per year.

The majority of job-jumpers are representatives of Generation Z. This is not the only “professional” specific of this new generation. It is acknowledged that young individuals are way more flexible and dynamic. They travel more, they value themselves and their time more, and they strive to self-development and self-realization.

Youth is more eager to leave old things behind and more open to new experiences. This manifests in a shortening of time spent on one job and readiness to change a company and even occupation. Yes, according to numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, people under the age of 25 are working in one place for less than a year. For 25-34 year-olds this indicator is 2.8 years, for 34-44 year-olds it is 4.9 years, for 45-54 year-olds it is 7.6 years, and for people aged 55+ it exceeds 10 years.

There are several reasons for this phenomenon:

  • First and foremost – psychological changes. An increase in the number of representatives of Generation Z is causing changes in trends of general behavioral standards. In the modern world, no-one will judge you based on the decision to change a job just because it does not inspire you anymore. Yet, the situation was radically different only 10 years ago as this kind of behavior was deemed as light-headed and weird.
  • Changes in approaches to upbringing. Values were created by the Soviet ideology just until recent times, and generations X and Y were brought up with these standards in mind. Since childhood, people were told that stability is the most important thing, and there are behavioral principles according to which a frequent change of job is a bad habit. However, weakening censorship caused a shift in values, and people stopped being afraid of acting the way they wanted to.
  • Rapid development of technologies and the emergence of new professions, of course. Considering modern conditions, successful people are the ones who are not afraid to experiment and try something new, as well as the first ones to enter a new sphere and adopt a new profession. This, in turn, leads to a necessity to be able to change roles quickly and maintain a constant state of search.

Is it that bad to be a job-jumper?

There is an idea that recruiters do not even consider looking into resumes of the candidates who change their job frequently. Yes, such a tendency does exist in the labor market. Still, I can state, based on my own experience, that a company with such a stoic stance on the matter is not suitable for you if you are not seeking stability at this point.

It is very important to find that equilibrium when both an employer and employee are able to satisfy each others’ needs. Most likely, even if a job-jumper manages to use one’s cunning and get in a company that is oriented on long-term employment, this sort of relationship will not benefit any side. The company will lose its time and resources, thus having to seek a replacement, and an employee will not acquire any experience and self-realization, because internal company processes are tuned for prolonged adaptation and long-term commitment. This is the reason why both sides should look for a win-win relationship.

Nonetheless, there are many companies fine with (and even eager) to hire job-hunters. After all, there are advantages in cooperating with these people:

  • Project employment. Companies are looking for employees for a particular project very often. For example, we have been looking for an Event Manager during preparation for a corporate event, here at Boosta. We immediately highlighted that this position presupposes project employment lasting three months. This way, we were able to get in touch with people that wanted exactly this sort of contract. As a result, we got a win-win situation and parted with great mutual reviews and positive experiences.
  • Rapid adaptation. Usually, these people are quick to adapt and bring lots of value in short terms. A job-jumper is a person to show great results very soon, with proper selection. Sometimes, this is the main criterion.
  • Easy to communicate with and team players. People who take a while to get in touch with colleagues are usually experiencing difficulties changing a job. Vice versa, those who are easy in getting along with others can join the team quickly and painlessly.
  • Startup companies often value “Hoppers”. If frequent job changes are tied to one’s desire for self-development, a startup company is a place with perfect conditions for growth that receives value in return.

How to find a job if you have a resume of a job-jumper?

  1. Be honest

First and foremost — be honest during an interview. It is imperative to avoid lying about previous employment time or trying to hide reasons for transmission. A qualified recruiter will recognize insincerity and fact manipulation immediately. Even if your prior employment history does not raise concerns, lying during an interview will definitely terminate any possibilities for future dialogue.

  1. Get recommendations from previous employers

The idea that an employee takes a year to “adapt” and begin bringing value at one’s workplace is very outdated. This is especially applicable to dynamic industries such as IT.

Short-term employment does not necessarily mean that you were a bad employee. Ask your previous employers for reference letters and add them to your resume. Trust me, positive feedback is definitely going to tip the scales in your favor despite a time spent at the job.

  1. Choose a proper resume format

If you have a relevant skill set but lots of previous jobs and/or short breaks between them — pick a functional resume format. Formulate a list of crucial skills and indicate where you utilized them and what results you achieved.

It is also possible to pick a mixed resume format and add a classic block with a list of previous jobs. In any case, it is required to feature only the information that is relevant to the position that you are considering. The same applies to skills and previous employers. Do not be afraid to remove anything irrelevant — it only distracts a recruiter and increases chances of having really important information go unnoticed.

  1. Show your advantages in a motivational letter

Pay enough attention to writing a motivational letter. Identify and describe your strong sides that will allow you to perform better than others at a particular position. Show your competitive advantages and achievements. Tell why you want to get this position and what the company will get from cooperating with you.

Keep in mind that if a job seeker sends two separate files with a resume and motivational letter, recruiters are most likely to read a resume firsthand. That is why add a motivational letter as the first page of your resume if you think that it boosts your value as a candidate.

Just like a resume, a motivational letter cannot be the same for many positions. Always adapt it for each particular job.

Finally – a little bit about unpleasant things. Just like with any category of employees, there are absolutely toxic people among job-jumpers. All the above-mentioned things concern rapid job change due to various reasons but not because of a lack of soft skills and emotional intelligence of an employee. These are directions for constant improvement, as it is not possible to achieve perfection.

So, if you realize that you changed like ten workplaces and parted ways on a minor note and there is bad blood — try some deep self-reflection. The earlier you identify a problem and start working on it, the earlier you will find that win-win with an employer and create a successful career path.

The appearance of job-jumpers is not a negative phenomenon. This is just one of the trends in the development of the labor market that both employers and employees have to adapt to in order to reach a win-win situation.

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