During the conversations I have with tech employers, one of the key issues that often comes up is the length of time that a candidate stays within their role, before moving on. A lot of people believe that employers look unfavourably upon the job-hopping trend, just as spending three or four years in a role you enjoy can also be perceived as a negative. However, the idea that you have to sit squarely inside the window of the average job tenure is a misconception.
Whilst there are some employers that will want to know more about why you have jumped about or why you have spent several years in the same role without progressing, as long as you can portray it in a positive light, it’s not something you should be too concerned about.
Validate the Move with Reasons
Does your CV appear to jump around with regular moves to new roles? To avoid being seen as a flight risk, my best advice is to list the reasons for leaving past jobs. Provided those reasons are justified, it will help to assuage any doubts that an employer may have about your longevity. A good recruiter can also help you here, although keep in mind that positivity is key!
Potential employers don’t want to hear about why you didn’t like your previous manager, so think about how you might be able to show more validity behind a move (such as budget restrictions or lack of progression).
In the eyes of employers, the problem behind progression is that it is almost always linked to your job title. However, even if you have been in the role for some time, it doesn’t mean that you can’t show progression in other ways. Over time, have you been given additional responsibilities? Have you taken on any direct reports or become a mentor? Perhaps you’re now working on more technical aspects of the role or have taken a hands-on approach to a new system.
Whatever it is, ensure that your CV reflects this experience. Adding dates will help to solidify this and show that you have diversified your experience more than what your job title suggests.
There are always different approaches you can take to explain the longevity of roles you’ve worked in. So, wherever your career has taken you, the main point I want to get across is that, when it comes to the question of “how long should you stay at a job?”, there is no right or wrong answer – it’s all about portraying your career in a favourable light. When you feel you are ready to move on, don’t let your movement (or lack of it) stop you.
We’re here to help. If you need more advice to help get your CV into shape or any support with your IT job search, get in touch with the team at SustainAbility.