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The Dos and Don'ts of Job Hopping

10/23/2015 08:18 EDT | Updated 10/23/2016 05:12 EDT
Ekaterina Minaeva via Getty Images
Stack of resumes on a blue background.

For many -- if not most -- of us, the first job we get post-graduation is not going to be the one we remain in for our entire career. The days of spending decades at the same company are, by and large, behind us.

Some may switch jobs once or twice, but others may have to cut their teeth in a dozen positions before finding the right fit. And that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Whether you've changed jobs a few times or are considering making your first jump to a new company, there are some steps you can take to help make the most of your diverse experience.

Look inward before you leap

If you're thinking about switching jobs, take the time to reflect on what's pushing you out the door. Is it a lack of opportunity, or inadequate work/life balance, or something else?

Money can be a primary motivator for switching jobs, but it is rarely the only one -- nor should it be.

Whatever the reason, do some soul-searching to identify what you're looking for the most in a new role. Think about what would make you happy and what type of job you could see yourself doing.

Develop a resume that showcases your skills

So, you've moved around to a few different jobs and now you may be wondering: what should you do with your resume? How should you address any gaps or short stretches?

Make a list of the jobs you've had, the duties you were assigned and the skills you developed. Identify common threads between jobs and then structure your resume with category skill sets rather than a timeline. This will place the focus on what you have to offer. You can then tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills for the position you apply for.

Be prepared to answer tough questions

If you leave a job sooner than the one-year mark, this may raise questions from potential employers --this is even more likely if you've had a number of short stints.

Before heading into an interview with a potential employer, be armed with thoughtful, sensible answers that will help neutralize the issue.

If you've job-hopped into increasingly challenging roles, you can emphasize your increased responsibilities and talk about the specific experience you gained. If you're a relatively recent grad, you can talk about your career goals, such as a desire to apply your transferable skills or grow in a new industry.

Be confident, be straightforward and above all, be positive. Don't disparage past employers.

Make your personal growth your primary priority

Say you've been in your current role for a number of years and find yourself aching for a new challenge. You may feel that you've peaked in your position or the potential to move up further may not exist. Switching jobs can be daunting, but remember that you are your best advocate.

Everyone's career trajectory is different, so don't feel you need to follow a prescribed path. A jump -- or three -- might be necessary for you to find the role that makes you excited to go to work in the morning.

At Monster, we believe that whether you're looking for your first job, shifting careers or making your way up the ladder, you shouldn't have to settle. You can find better -- the right position is out there for you if you're willing to make the jump.

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