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Is job hopping the best way to advance?

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I've found the most efficient way to make career jumps is to change jobs, especially since I'm in marketing. I'm on my 4th startup in 4 years and have gotten both a higher position and a significant raise at each company. How many times can I do this before it starts to do more harm than good and my resume and job history start to suggest that I'm only interested in my next stepping stone?

15 Replies

Katherine Sears
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Katherine Sears Entrepreneur
Chief Marketing Officer, Booktrope
I am also in marketing, although am a co-founder so slightly different scenario. I can tell you if your resume came my way, I would already be asking you about the jumps. It is really costly for a start-up to have to rehire, since there are typically so few resources as it is. If I were you, I would look for a company you have a genuine passion for, make yourself indispensable, and move up within the company. We always hire from within first, and only go outside when we have to. That is how we got our COO (she started with us two years ago and worked her way to the role).

In other words, I wouldn't jump again unless a dream situation presented itself unless you want to be explaining the short duration of your roles.
Steve Madere
5
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Steve Madere Entrepreneur • Advisor
Software Technology Consultant
In my experience as a software developer, I definitely found that job-hopping was
necessary to make advances at any significant pace.

I saw many people leave IBM, come back as a contractor at a 50% increase in
comp, then get hired as a full time employee at almost the same level (post-increase)

If they had stayed at IBM, HR policies would have limited their pay increase
to about 15% no matter how well they were performing.

Also, you get into a problem that your supervisor mentally puts you in a category
when you are hired and they find it very hard to imagine you out of that
category until you go somewhere else where someone else has put
you in the new category.

Yes, it costs the company to have the employee churn but the
employers bring this upon themselves by operating in such irrational ways.

This kind of problem does not happen at stock trading operations because
they *have to* be efficient. They do not have the choice to stick to their
prejudices over profitability. Most managers at other enterprises do though.
The workaround is job hopping.




Gustavo Do Valle
0
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Gustavo Do Valle Entrepreneur
CEO & Co-Founder Decora.do, Decora Inc
it really depends on where you company is established. My company is from Brazil, so it costs a lot to fire/re-adequate a person who is giving away every time.

If you see that in a CV, brazilian's entrepreneurs may not hire them.

Although I have another company in U.S, my opinion is the same. Be careful.


Geoff Tucker
1
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Geoff Tucker Entrepreneur
Is your marketing automation working for you -- or against you?

As a marketer who has done similar in the past few years - and for similar reasons - I think as long as you can continue to show that you created value at each move, and that you also progressed in your skills and abilities- then maybe a new employer won't be so shy about bringing you on. They should see more value in bringing you on than have concern about you leaving.

An alternate to consider if you're worried about being labeled a job hopper versus a value builder is to simply ask to be brought on as a contractor instead so you have a legitimate reason for start-stop dates. Recruiters won't look atyou as ahopper then.You can also potentially make more money this way if you do it right though self-employment can be difficult in its own ways.

Most job hoppers get labeled as such because they complain about the boss they had, the company culture, the commute, etc. They left company after company because they couldn't get along.

Build a great story explaining why you made each move and make sure it's a story thatis logical(e.g., "I wasn't actively looking and they called with an opportunity my current employer could not offer") or resonates (e.g., "I have a real passion for technology like yours and my current company was in healthcare which was not so interesting to me.").

Nonetheless, there comes a point where you need to stop it and grow within an organization where you feel happy and begin to work your way up. Hopping may build great skills but it gets exhausting along the way and can take a toll on your 401k if you don't do it right, too.

Michael Barnathan
0
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Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
The key isn't to randomly job hop but to make strategic jumps (both in terms of next step and whole-career positioning). You can make quite rapid advances this way, but it eventually does hit a ceiling.
Jerome Pineau
2
0
Jerome Pineau Advisor
Digital Transformation Consultant
That's a really tough question - it depends on why you switched every time. The important thing is to have a good reason and be able to justify it. Marketing and digital folks tend to have low tenure in successive positions - still you will find recruiters who won't even talk to you if you haven't been 6-10 years in each past spot - and that's just crazy IMO. In my case, I've had very many past consulting positions, and in my previous corporate job, I was hired then laid off 4 months later! It's not always about the person either, but often about the companies themselves. As expensive as acquisition costs are for people in our field, many companies simply don't value their people - it's a fact. Would you rather have someone who sticks it out and is miserable in a dead-end place, or someone who has the courage and determination to better his/her situation? In this day and age where employer loyalty and support are virtually non-existent (in the US anyway) one needs to learn to adapt and move quickly. That's just my opinion. Always remember that no one will ever care about your career except your mother - and even then not always ;)
Michael Barnathan
0
0
Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
Keep in mind the opportunity cost of staying in one place as well. I'm of the "always be closing" mindset: your profile and resume should always be selling you, your company should always be positioning itself with an acquisition or IPO in mind (if that's what you're aiming for), even what you do with your assets should make them more desirable to buyers. That way, when opportunities do come your way (and they will), you can seize them.

If you stay in one place instead of taking one of those opportunities up, you'll at best be delayed, and at worst will have lost a valuable opening.
Paul Stefunek
0
0
Paul Stefunek Advisor
Managing Director at ZRG Partners, LLC
This discussion string is very good feedback for you. Job changes are not uncommon for the millennials. Try to remember your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Another metric to defend you is that the average CMO stays in their role for 18 to 24 months.

What you will eventually be asked is what did you accomplish that is notable during your short time? Your accomplishments in each role are critical for your overall career. If your story has a constant theme of "I was recruited"... it screams that every time the phone rings you will leave and the next employer will most likely not hire them. Leave a positive mark where you are able along your career journey. Make each change carefully.
Victor Lombardi
0
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Victor Lombardi Advisor
Innovation and Digital Executive; Author; Educator
In the book "Kitchen Confidential"Anthony Bourdain compares his career as a cook to another's in New York City. Bourdain quickly reached the chef position and then rapidly jumped from restaurant to restaurant. At his best he was a very good chef, but he was not a great chef, and probably would never become a great chef.

The other chef first considered what he would need to do to become a great chef. He would need to master various positions in the kitchen. He would need to apprentice to various other chefs to master all the needed techniques. And that's what he did. The second chef had to wait longer to head his own kitchen, but when he finally did he was a great chef.

Jerome Pineau
0
0
Jerome Pineau Advisor
Digital Transformation Consultant
Paul, do you have stats on that CMO tenure figure? Thanks.
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