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Definition

job hopper

A job hopper is someone who works briefly in one position after another rather than staying at any one job or organization long-term. Although most people change jobs more frequently than was the case in the past, job hoppers do so more often. Job hopping is a pattern of changing companies every year or two of one's own volition rather than as a result of something like a layoff or company closure.

Years ago, it was not uncommon for people to work for the same employer their entire careers. Historically, employers have suspected that job applicants with a lot of short stints on their resumes were unreliable. In recent decades, however, people typically change jobs at least a few times through their careers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. worker has been with his current employer for 4.6 years. For workers aged 20-34, the average is 2.3 years.

Some employers are still reluctant to hire job hoppers. Others, however, would prefer to see applicants with a few jobs on their resumes to those who have stayed in one job for a long time. Employers often fear such individuals are resistant to change or simply unmotivated. People who have worked in a number of different capacities and in different corporate environments, on the other hand, are likely to have a broader range of skills and be more adaptable.  

 

This was last updated in April 2013

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