The SXSW session on job hopping, Job Hopping: Turn A High Number to Your Advantage, offered some interesting facts about job hopping:
- As a general rule, 18 months is the magic timeframe – you must stay in a job longer than 18 months to avoid the label of job hopper.
- However, the larger the company, the longer the magic timeframe. Many larger companies view 3 years as the minimum amount of time you must stay in a job to avoid the label of job hopper.
Since the legal profession is not as forgiving of job hopping, many ideas shared in this session regarding overcoming the job hopping stigma would not work for lawyers. However, I managed to find three takeaways for lawyers who have job hopped:
- Timebox your achievements. You resume should timebox your achievements in a particular position–quantify what you did in a specific timeframe to illustrate your accomplishments in a short period of time. For example, “In my first 60 days at Miller Smith, LLP, I drafted a motion for summary judgment regarding ____ issue, argued the motion and obtained ____ for my client. “
- Don’t say, “I was recruited away.” If you left a job to take a new job that a recruiter brought to your attention, don’t say that you were “recruited away.” Recruited away is a red flag that you took a new position for more money. Instead, discuss the challenges and opportunities that you are seeking and would make you stay in a position for the long term.
- You need outstanding references. Choose your references wisely. If you left a position because of a bad experience, choose former colleagues who have first-hand knowledge of your experience and can speak about it. Consider your mentors as well — especially if they have mentored you over a long period of time and witnessed your various career moves.