The job hop

Switch­ing gigs can help you learn new skills – and give your ca­reer a leg up, too.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Work/Smart Leaps -

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.

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