November 4, 2014
Millennials are more likely to change jobs than any generation before. In fact, 91 percent of workers born between 1991 and 1997 plan to stay in a job for less than three years, and the average 24-year-old today has already held 6.4 jobs.
There are many valid reasons to change jobs: a chance to learn a new skill, a sudden opening at the company of your dreams or even just a change of location. But with changing jobs every three years comes pressure to explain your background during job interviews. Unfortunately there are plenty of opportunities to make a mistake.
Here’s a look at seven important Dos and Don’ts for positioning yourself for a career change without jeopardizing your future:
- Have an online presence. You don’t have to maintain a daily blog, but you should have a simple landing page that directs people to your LinkedIn profile and contains a brief personal statement and photo. Consider investing in a simple website platform such as WordPress or SquareSpace to increase your personal brand SEO.
- Craft an intentional social media presence. While your online presence is revealed in search results, your social media presence is very specific and can be more easily searchable. If you want a hiring manager to take you seriously online, your Twitter, Facebook, Google + and every other platform must be 100 percent professional or 100 percent private. We recommend professional.
- Include short jobs on your resume. If you have experience that relates directly to the position you’re applying for, don’t be afraid to include it on your resume. Consider adding a section of “Seasonal employment practicums” and list positions that lasted six months or less in one place.
- Consider freelancing. Over 53 million Americans currently freelance for their income. Now that the term is not commonly misused to cover unemployment, consider building your name, reputation and portfolio within your field by freelancing on the side. Pepper your interview with pertinent examples of your work experience and how your freelancing efforts helped you understand the job.
- Say you’re “Up for anything.” Even if you have an array of different talents from taking on so many different jobs, it’s still important to present yourself as a professional with a specialty. The more sporadic your work history, the more consistent and professional your interview presentation needs to be. Lay that foundation by making firm statements about what kind of results you can provide, not how many different things you’re willing to do on the job.
- Be vague about why you’re leaving a job. Speaking of consistent and professional, your interviewer will know if you’re lying or being evasive about why you’re leaving a job. Make sure you’re up front with a professional reason behind this career change and be honest about your passion for (and experience in) this new venture.
- Imply you’ll be on the move soon. Unless explicitly stated in a contract, your hiring manager can’t expect you to stay onboard for a set number of years. However, that doesn’t mean you should “clear the air” by disclosing how long you plan to stay with the company. Approach every new job as if it might be “the one” that you stay at forever. And should you find you need to move on in two to three years, you will be able to move on guilt-and-expectation-free.
It’s no longer a sound career plan to find a company and stick with it for 15 years. Younger workers are taking on jobs, learning valuable skills and moving onto the next one. Do so strategically, and you’ll build a network of jobs that dovetail into a stunning career.