Some of my friends change their jobs every two to three years; they say that each jump would get them a higher salary. What would potential employers think of such job-hoppers? What is an effective way of getting a better pay without being labelled a job hopper?
It is generally true that during the early stages of your career, you might enjoy a pay increment with each new job as you gain more work experience which is valued by employers. However, unless you deliberately build on your credentials and related work experience, subsequent increments with each new job will slowly decrease. In today’s volatile economic climate, it is unlikely that you will get a huge pay increment with each move unless you are a star performer with a solid track record.
While employers do not expect their employees to stay with them forever, they will not accept just any job applicant who comes their way. Some candidates switch from one job to another unrelated job. They lack focus and do not have a clear career progression path. Furthermore, they do not build their domain knowledge. Very often, these candidates fail to impress potential employers as it is clear that they are only interested in the additional money and fancy job titles.
Employers loathe these serial job-hoppers because their motives are questionable, and their expectations are unrealistic.
Yet, there are rock-solid star candidates who leap from one opportunity to another, concurrently moving up the corporate ladder. Employers have no qualms offering them a better remuneration package. They are real talents and are highly sought after for their skills and expertise. One clear trait of these star candidates is that they have strong profiles and a list of impressive achievements. Despite that, job hopping must stop at some point because a trail of continuous job hopping is detrimental to one’s career. And most employers do not want to incur additional resources to train hires only to have them leave the company before they are even productive.
Instead of being obsessed with higher pay, there is a more sustainable approach to a better job with corresponding remuneration.
First, understand your strengths and know your career goals. What exactly is it that you want to achieve in your career and life? Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Too many people are trapped in jobs that they dislike just to pay the bills, and they are not motivated to improve themselves.
The most effective approach to a better job is to take charge of your own learning and career. Be curious and build up your domain knowledge. Do not depend on others; you need to ignite the fire in your own belly. Develop a T-shaped career profile where you have the expertise in a single field and yet are able to collaborate with the other experts in different disciplines. Always ask yourself whether you have added value to your job. Are you productive? Could you do more by taking on additional responsibilities? Once you have found the passion, and are productive in what you do, the money will follow naturally.
Of course, if you love your job but dislike the workplace, then it’s understandable that you leave. But remember that, like any relationship, there is no perfect partner. You need to invest efforts to make the relationship work.