The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Recall all the jobs you have ever held in your life. Maybe you’ve listed them on your resume. Calculate the years you worked at each job you’ve held. Add them together and then divide by the total number of jobs you’ve ever held. I believe my total comes to about a year and a half at each job. The longest job I’ve ever held was 4 years. I know a few people who have held their jobs for over 30 years. I’m also reminded of television shows that run for many years. The Showtime Drama series Dexter ran for 7 years from 2006 until 2013, and I think to myself, “Good for you, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, and all the other actors, for being able to hold a job for so long.”
There are people who are able to hold steady jobs throughout their lives, recalling that they only held a few jobs in their lifetime, while others have held a dozen or two dozen jobs. There are different conclusions about job hoppers and steady job holders. Both have their advantages and both have their disadvantages.
A steady job holder is someone who is more likely to hold a job for long-term positions, up to a year or more. The steady job holder shows more loyalty to the company, more faith in the company, and establishes more trust in their company. A steady job holder also likes to be more specialized in tasks and may also like to work steady hours with a steady paycheck. The steady job holder is more comfortable with their job, is more likely to tolerate stressful situation, and may even be more likely to avoid confrontation, for fear of losing their job.
A job hopper is someone who cannot seem to stay in one job for more than a few months at a time. A job hopper may not like confrontation or may even be very confrontational. A job hopper may love to multitask, have specialized skills, prefers to be well-rounded, and is able to handle multiple types of tasks.
Holding a job for more than a year shows loyalty to the employer and the company. If you are a frequent job hopper, while it may not mean that you are not loyal to a company, employers are likely to judge and make predictions about future performance based on how long previous jobs were held.
Hopping jobs, being unemployed for more than a year, or gaps in your employment history without a credible excuse will hinder your opportunity for employment. Unfortunately, being unable to find work is not an acceptable excuse for most employers. In fact, many employers are more likely to hire someone who already has a job and is looking for a new job than someone who has been unemployed for more than a year.
You may hate your job, or you may be unemployed and unwilling to settle for a lower paying job, but think about these things when an employer is reviewing your resume. They may certainly ask you questions about being unemployed for so long or why you haven’t been able to hold a steady job.
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Damages Employment Prospects More than Age or Unemployment
Despite people in their 30s being in highest demand, a 55-year-old with a steady employment history is easier for recruiters to place in a ew job than 30-year-old JOB HOPPER
According to recruiters, the biggest obstacles for an unemployed candidate in regaining employment are…
- 39% hopping jobs
- 31% being unemployed for more than a year
- 28% gaps in employment history
Age is not just a Number
- 70% of respondents say that the easiest age group to place in new jobs are candidates are in their 30s
- Respondents also said that there is a greater demand for candidates in their 40s
- 1% said candidates in their 50s
- 0% said candidates in their 60s
Unemployment can lead to being Unemployable
The range of time for which a candidate is unemployed before it becomes difficult for a recruiter to place them in a new job according to respondents:
- 36% say 6 months to a year
- 17% say few than 6 months
- 4% say it is difficult no matter the duration
You Skill Set could Kill your Chances
When asked about factors that make it hardest for recruiters to place unemployed candidates in jobs:
- 31% skills are no longer in demand
- 26% candidates are out of touch with modern technology / workplace
Getting Fired Cools your Prospects
No surprise here that 78% of recruiters ranked getting fired as the most severely damaging to a candidate’s future employment prospects.
However, only 2% of recruiters felt that being laid off would be the most serious future detriment.
Between August 23-28, 2012, Bullhorn conducted an anonymous survey of 1,500 staffing recruiters, corporate recruiters, and hiring managers. More information on the survey findings is available on the website of Bullhorn’s social recruitment product – Bullhorn Reach® – at www.bullhornreach.com/content/resources/main
Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.