The job hop
Switching gigs can help you learn new skills – and give your career a leg up, too.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that your parents’ advice about staying put in your 20s to patiently climb the corporate ladder is outdated.
That’s because changing jobs, when done right, can help you get ahead faster; call it career cross-training. “To be successful in today’s complex, techheavy workplaces, you need a variety of skills – and the ability to adapt quickly,” says Joan Kuhl, founder of consulting company Why Millennials Matter. Here’s how to make smart leaps forward.
1 Move with purpose
“Make job hopping an intentional decision,” says Emily Miethner, founder and CEO of Findspark.com, an online networking community. In other words, switch gigs because it will bring you closer to your goals or help you learn new skills, not simply because a more fun or better-paying option comes along. “You want to demonstrate that you’re developing your focus and passion,” agrees Joan.
2 Build your network
“Relationships are everything,” Joan says. So work hard to build yours and maintain them. While changing jobs helps you meet lots of people, it’s easy to let those relationships flounder when you move on to the next thing. Keep in touch with your network through email, lunches and social media. But don’t just focus on casual contacts. Develop deep, enduring connections with mentors who inspire you.
3 Add to your expertise
Want to try something different, but worried you’re not qualified to change gears? There are plenty of ways to pick up new skills outside the office. “Volunteer, take online classes or start a side project,” says Emily. Then talk up these experiences in your next interview.