I’ve had a few one and two-year stints at various jobs and have found myself explaining why when I applied for other roles in the past.
I’ve often felt like it was a black mark on my resume, but there’s so much more to me than why I was only in a position for a short period of time, and that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be a good fit for another role or mean that I will quickly jump ship.
I can’t really tell a hiring manager that I was pushed out of one job by a female boss who was threatened by me, or can I? Can I talk about the fact that I just made a mistake with another job and I forced myself to stick it out for a year? Or that my mom had passed away from cancer and I just needed a break from law firms for a bit?
I’ve had plenty of long tenures at companies too over my 20-year career, but it’s always the short stints that are called out.
So if you are in the position to hire employees, it’s time to reframe your usual thinking about moving jobs too often or having gaps on your resume or even staying too long in a job. All of these are completely okay (and really always should have been). This will be the norm especially as employees become younger – millennials and Generation Z are both more likely to move around jobs according to statistics.
Instead of automatically assuming the worst about why people have moved around jobs too often in your eyes, instead ask them:
- How they navigated changes and adjustments to their career path and what they learned about themselves
- The things they’re most excited about in this next stage of their career
Our careers zig and zag all the time for a million reasons. We are all human, so let’s not pass too much judgment on each other. You may miss out on an amazing candidate as a result. Let’s normalize the idea that our career paths are not linear.
We all have unique stories and we are so much more than the length of time we spent at a job and much more than what a resume says about us. I have pivoted as a consultant and a full-time employee a few times in my career and I’m proud of it – this is the new norm – especially after the pandemic. I promise not to judge your professional path if you promise not to judge mine.