So you find your first job (or your most recent job), does this mean you are “done”? Can you now delete your resumes, stop following me for advice and information on how to be ready for your next step?
I mean, you could but it gets even harder to prepare for your next step when it is a sudden change and you wind up losing your positions and need to find something new. Instead, it is important to always be managing your career much like my tips and techniques in my first book in the Entrepreneur-ING series Using Entrepreneurial Skills to Launch your Own Business or be the Boss of Your Career. Learn more or order your copy today here Entrepreneur-ING Books.
When I started my career in 1999, it was considered a bad thing to jump around and the rule of thumb was to have at least 1-5 years (or more) at your first job. I have shared before that my first role after my MBA in International Finance was with Merrill Lynch and I only lasted there for 6 months before a dot-com doubled my salary and more and I was out the door. When I left, all of my co-workers told me, “No one leaves mother Merrill – why would you leave this firm?” At the time, this was true as evidenced by one of my 90+ year old co-workers. It was something to just stay with the big company and move around internally job by job (and sometimes with promotions, too).
Now, however, there are actual studies that show that if you stay for more than 3 years with any one company that you are risking a salary jump of upwards of 50% by not moving on. What do you think? Is it worth it to jump around or no?
For me, I think it is important to be entrepreneurial in your career and as such that means not being afraid of the unknown. However, when you have a mortgage and 3 kids, that is easier said than done. The unknown can be one of the most dangerous things.
It is important to maintain job history as best you can and to keep growing your career. For many people, though, this is too risky (like the example above of someone with a mortgage and 3 kids). It is important to keep the resume in perfect shape and be ready for the inevitable and also to maintain networking relationships and build out potential new opportunities for your career to continue to grow. It is also important to always network and keep your relationships current and "well-fed" - more on that here How to Network.
Job hopping is no longer a curse for your resume – it used to be if you had too many short term assignments, you were considered un-hirable or flaky. Now we have this idea of a gig economy where so many people float around from job to job because there are not as many opportunities as there once was. My old “mother Merrill” no longer existed anymore – within a few years of my leaving, most of my department had moved on or been pushed out / laid off.
However you plan out your career, know that the best plan is to be flexible and ready for your next step at all times. Consider hiring me to make sure you have a great brand and resumes on the ready, of course! Happy hunting!
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Lisa Vento Nielsen