Much in the way that Paris Hilton has misunderstood her true level of musical talent, there seems to be a common misconception in the new generation of young bloods as to what looks good on the resume. Yes, there are all sorts of delicious, shimmering jobs out there whose shiny allure can seem too strong to resist, but try not to overdose yourself on too many positions. Whenever I pop my head into a second hand book shop, I too find it hard to resist from buying up all the stock and lugging it out in a sack with a demented grin on my face. But I don’t, because I would break my back. Chopping and changing too often in the beginning of your career is more likely to induce a Jack Nicholson-esque raise of eyebrows than gasps of awe from the person reviewing your resume.
Yes, having a varied skill set is a highly valuable asset, but where possible try to extract as many of these skills from the one employer before you move on. It’s rare that we find our dream job in our first year or two of being out on the proverbial market, and so have a little patience and foresight before you decide to cut and run. Seeing that you have worked with five different companies in the last two years is more likely to provoke the following chains of thought:
- You are unreliable – if you’ve been in so many positions for such a short period of time, how do we know that you won’t leave this one quick smart too?
- You are uncommitted – as with the three week pain barrier at the gym, most jobs require around three months for you to fully settle into the role and learn the skills required. Jumping ship too early tells us that you are not prepared to make that effort and invest your time.
- You’re not too popular with the boss – if you and your employer/co-workers have a good working relationship, you are not nearly so likely to want to leave. If you’ve had more jobs than Kim Kardashian has had boyfriends, then it looks as though you are unable to build long term and rewarding relationships.
- You don’t know what you want – particularly relevant if the roles you’ve held have been radically different, it makes your motives look erratic.
So, if you are new to the job market and are looking for tips, this is the key thing – choose your first one or two roles carefully (hell, choose all your roles carefully) and make sure that they will provide you with enough challenge and opportunities to learn so that you don’t need risk future roles by leaving after a few months.
If you have only been working somewhere for a few months and genuinely feel that the role is not for you, have a chat to your employer before you make your decision. It could be that they are able to provide you with additional tasks or allow you to work in a different section of the company which would re-ignite the passion for the role.
Of course, if you’re being beaten regularly with wooden spoons and your employer has a tendency to urinate in the pot plants, it might be best for you to pack up and go, just make sure you’re honest with your recruiter as to why you left.