Job-Hopping Is the Best Way to Get a Raise, but How Long Should You Stay at Each Gig?

Basically, at least long enough to get some training.

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Millennials, as MEL previously reported, are quitting their jobs in droves so they can rent a closet in a major city and land at a company that actually appreciates them:

Barely half of the millennials surveyed in a recent Gallup poll strongly agreed that they planned to be working at their company one year from now, suggesting that half the millennial workforce doesn’t see a future with their current employer. Not to mention that the average millennial will change jobs four different times by the age of 32.”

More recently, another survey found that 64 percent of employees support job-hopping, which is up by 22 percent from a similar survey performed only five years ago. Millennials, once again, were the most inclined to leave their current job for another, higher-paying one (which makes sense considering that, these days, leaving your job and finding another is the best way to make more money). Seventy-five percent of employees under the age of 34 stated that job-hopping could benefit their careers in the long term.

But like many things, while a little job-hopping can be beneficial, too much can end your career. After all, recruiters are less inclined to hire someone who may very well jump ship right after training and orientation, and replacing lost talent is expensive.

All this being the case, how long should you stay at a job before moving to the next?

“These days, it’s a lot more situational than it used to be,” says recruiter Marissa Rodgers. “If I see a resume and a candidate has been moving around every year for a while, it definitely makes me question why. But there are a lot more startups now, and more often than not, unfortunately, startups fail and leave people without a job. Or some people work on a contract basis, and sometimes contracts aren’t too long. So it really depends, and I always dig into why people left their last two or three companies when I talk to them.”

In other words, no matter how long you stay at a job, expect to explain why you left while interviewing for your next gig. That’s not to say you can hop jobs willy-nilly if you’re good at making up excuses, though. “While it depends on the situation, in general, recruiters still like to see that people have stayed at their company for one and a half or two years,” Rodgers says. “But if it’s a more senior-level role, like a manager or director, I’d ideally like them to have been there longer, like three-plus years.”

Recruiter Peter Moore shares this ideal scenario: “Two or three years is the perfect sweet spot for changing jobs,” he says. You do, however, have more leeway with short stints at jobs if you stuck around longer at previous gigs. For instance, if you stayed at one job for four years, that six-month job entry on your resume might seem a little less off-putting to recruiters. But again, don’t be surprised if you get asked about those brief jobs during an interview.

All of which unfortunately means that you’ll probably benefit from putting up with your overbearing boss for just a little bit longer.