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Job hoppers needs to look before they leap Add to ...

Career moves: After taking a new job in March, 2008, he left after four months because his manager moved to a new company and took him along to become director of customer management. That job lasted only a year before a downsizing and a severance put him out of work in July, 2009. Previously, he had held three other jobs, two for nine years and one for seven.

Major issue encountered in job hunt: Any position that lasts less than three years raises red flags, he found. He said hiring managers asked him: "If you left them after four months, what is to stop you from leaving us in four months?"

How he answered: "I turned what might have been negatives into positives," he said. For example, about the four-month job: "I said it was a unique situation. I was very happy with the job and they treated me well and in fact I was doing things so well that the manager took me with him."

Keep it short: In interviews with potential employers about the short stints, he has learned to keep things concise. "I spoke positively about the employers and said the jobs were valuable experiences. Anything I would say beyond that would potentially raise further questions. As long as they get a satisfactory answer, they will accept it and move on."

Insight: "I think organizations now accept the fact that it can take time to get traction and some jobs don't work out. But it better not happen often."


Hopping is broadening: A variety of successful roles translates into broader skills and experiences that can make you more employable.

It highlights flexibility: If you have experience only in one role or organization, employers may question your flexibility and enthusiasm for change and growth.

Short may be a trend: More employers are hiring on short-term contracts and may be looking for someone who doesn't expect loyalty.

It broadens your reach: Experiences in different organizations will expand your network and industry insights.

Perks can be greener: Competitors looking to fill a gap with your skills may be willing to pay you a lot more than your current employer.

It can speed growth: Upward mobility these days often means going from a large, mature company to a smaller, entrepreneurial one.

It can avoid a dead end :The recession has highlighted a reality that some industries are stagnating. Survival depends on looking for growth opportunities.

You can dodge a bullet: If your industry is facing layoffs, moving voluntarily looks better on a résumé than a long stint of joblessness.

Sources: Career coach Daisy Wright, principal of Wright Career Solution in Brampton, Ont., and recruiter David Perry, managing partner of Perry-Martel International Inc. in Ottawa .


Resign with thanks: Tell your employer, in writing, how much you enjoyed working there but you've received an offer you just can't refuse

Smooth the transition: Stay long enough to help transfer your responsibilities, and do it with a smile, not a smirk, on your face.

Don't burn bridges: Avoid the temptation to be critical of others in the exit interview.

Provide adequate notice: Future potential employers will check back to make sure you didn't leave a mess behind in previous jobs.

Update your status: Post an explanation of your move on industry association and social media websites to inform your network of positive reasons you left, and quell any potential rumours about the change.

Source: David Perry .


Don't list blips: If a job lasted only a month or two and was not related to your career, you may choose to leave it off your résumé. But don't cover it up if asked about it.

Group them together: Create a heading on your résumé such as "contract assignments" or "projects" or "consulting."

Source: Daisy Wright .


Human resources consultancy Right Management Inc. asked 1,308 Canadians and Americans why they changed jobs in the past year. (The numbers add up to more than 100 per cent because people had more than one reason.)


Percentage who switched because of downsizing or restructuring.


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