Short-term versus Long-term Job Experience

One big question in today’s career world asks which resume is more beneficial, one that shows numerous types of jobs performed for the short term, or a few jobs in the same field where the employee remained for the long term? Most career professionals would state that the latter is more valuable when applying for a job. Here are what three career professionals had to say about the topic:

Craig Novack, McGraw-Hill Construction:

"The jumping around from job to job thing looks first and foremost like you don’t like staying at the same place for a long period of time. A hiring manager wants someone who is willing to stay at their job for, well almost forever, that way they don’t have to try to find someone else for that same position say in a year or so later. That takes a lot of time and energy.

Staying at the same job can certainly offer you the chance to have a lot of experiences, especially if you change jobs within that company or have been promoted up the ranks. To assess your career properly, you must place an emphasis on longevity. When you remain at a job for longer than a year, you tend to be respected more. When you apply for a new job, and the hiring manager sees that you’ve stayed at previous jobs for longer than a year, this conveys a signal that you are stable and competent.

What really impresses potential employers is when you move up from a low paying job to one that pays more. For example, if you have a resume where you started off working at a fast food restaurant, and you made your way up to becoming manager of a prominent company, this shows that you are ambitious, and it also shows that you have upwards mobility. In many cases, employers will prefer long term job experience to job experience which is short term.

Jon Baris, Saint Louis University Law School

I would say that ultimately it depends on what type of job you are looking at, and often will change from employer to employer. The bottom line though is that I would advise someone along the lines that employers would rather see loyalty and long-term commitment than somebody who jumps from job to job. The jumping from job to job can raise many red flags about a person, which could make a potential employer shy away from that person.

Employers’ most important concern (other than qualifications for the job, of course) is often the risks they run of hiring someone and investing a lot of time, effort, and money into training someone, only to see them leave after a short period of time and ultimately not get any of the benefits from that effort and expense of training. That is a huge concern that law firms especially have.

Jumping from job to job when right out of school, or even when in school, may be more explainable for a younger person right out of school or in their mid-20’s. A person can justify that as their opportunity to get varied experience or find the right fit for what they want to do. I think it gets more difficult to explain, however, as a person gets older and the concerns expressed above are more difficult to justify.

Dan Plofsky, Loomis Sayles

Mostly it depends on the job you’re applying for. Every job has different needs. Only thing I’d say for the other side is if you can acquire some valuable skill for a growing industry, like an oil industry engineer, computer programming, health care, banking, finance, it would matter a lot less. Best thing to do in my opinion is get in at a lower level to a growing industry where you can get experience and move up.

If a salesman learned how to repair Swiss watches, he could transition right to that field without anyone caring whether he had jumped from job to job. If you want to assess your career properly, place an emphasis on starting a career where you will remain for a few years. This will give you long term job experience, and if you should switch careers or jobs, you will have the rock solid foundation that will allow you to easily get hired by a new company.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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