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How To Create Career Longevity

Longevity is the length of time spent with each employer generally referring to longer time spans at each job. As a rule of thumb, a job that has lasted longer than two years is considered ‘job longevity’. Ideally, if you have several jobs in your past, you want at least a few that have lasted 3-5 years or longer. Jobs that last only a few months can often show the employer that you’re a ‘job hopper’ (someone who changes jobs frequently and is afraid to commit to any one job for a long period of time). Employers see this as unreliable and a waste of time, money and resources.

In order to decrease the likelihood of being a job hopper, and to increase the likelihood of career longevity, you should wait to find the job you are looking for rather than jumping at any new opportunity that arises. This is true especially for recent graduates as it is important for employers to eventually see what you have accomplished and excelled at in each job proving to them that you are working towards a meaningful career. It is important to note, however that employers do realize that there are plenty of reasons candidates might have left past jobs.  For example, maybe they moved to live with a spouse or maybe they switched career paths.

The topic of career longevity is pertinent when you consider that the average American changes jobs once every 2-3 years and the average under-30 millennial employee changes jobs approximately once a year. Jobs and Careers are different; you should look at shorter-term jobs to give you the training and experience you will need for your longer term career.

Although career longevity is important and illustrates commitment to employers, it is not the only thing candidates should focus on, as you will not be promoted for longevity alone.  If you change nothing, nothing will change. Loyalty is more likely to be demonstrated to a concept or a person rather than a simple commitment to the company ‘until retirement’. According to Roberta Shaler, PhD, “current research tells us that, in order to move up in your career, you will likely change positions or companies every two to five years. Not only that, the research suggests you MUST do that to progress.” Employees need to constantly be growing, learning, and applying new concepts and information while taking on responsibility. As the economy is evolving, we need to evolve as well. You can be certain that there will be options open 5 years from now that do not exist today.

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