Why changing jobs regularly is good for your IT career
There is one piece of universally accepted recruitment wisdom; don’t be a job hopper. Regularly changing jobs ie every six months or so, or even more often than that, will make employers hesitant about hiring you. What’s the point in investing in getting you up to speed if you will be leaving again soon. Did you know that staying in a job for too long can do just as much damage to your career prospects though?
Why does it put employers off?
The nature of IT means that technologies are rapidly changing. Employers are looking for people who have a broad range of experience using different methodologies, in different environments and using a wide range of technologies and versions. You might be lucky that your existing employers allow you to do that, but they would be the exception rather than the norm. A lack of variety can be off-putting to hiring managers.
Certain roles are expected to have a high turnover; developers for example are expected to regularly change roles to keep up to date with the latest versions and technologies. Someone who bucks that trend might be overlooked by an employer.
If you have been in the same role for several years without being promoted or progressing, then, depending on the role, there might be a question mark about why you haven’t. This is more of an issue for lower level/less technical positions, such as 1st/2nd line support
How can you stop employers being put off by your career stability?
When a recruiter or hiring manager looks at your CV they will initially just scan it. Studies vary but this can be for anywhere between 3 and 30 seconds. During this time they are looking for a reason to read on or not. If you look like a “plodder” then they’ll probably move on. You can overcome this hurdle when writing your CV though with some clever formatting. Write the company name and dates of employment as normal but, if possible, list each new job title/promotion as a separate section. This will show that you’ve progressed within your role. If your job title hasn’t changed but you work on different projects or the focus of your role has changed over time then you can use this instead.
What should you do moving forwards?
In short, make sure you are always mindful of your career as a whole, even when you love the job you are already in. If you have been in the same role, with the same company, for a few years now it might be time to take a step back. Ask yourself what you can do to progress your career. This doesn’t have to mean a company change, particularly if you like your current role, it could be an internal move either as a sideways move or step up. You could also look to get involved with a different team or project, to broaden your exposure to different technologies and ways of working
There are no hard and fast rules. It does depend on seniority, job role and moving for the right reasons but changing roles every few years can be good for your career. Besides, a change is as good as a holiday!!
Victoria Watkins is Office Manager here at Corriculo Ltd. After working as a Recruitment Consultant for 5 years she moved to Office Management for an IT consultancy 7 years ago. Victoria was one of the first members of our team and deals with all of our administration and accounts. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+