Job Length: How Long is Long Enough?

 In Career Tips

Job Length: How Long is Long Enough?What is the best job length of time? I get this question a lot.

The answer: It depends.

Recently, industry experts revealed on Bloomberg News that the average job length only lasts 3.68 years.

Wow.

The era of having a job length that stretched from when you graduated until you retire is long gone.

The workforce is now dominated by agile, quick learners who get bored easily and want more challenges.

It’s not so much about upward mobility now, but more about intellectual stimulation.

But from an employer’s perspective, this requires a complete overhaul on how they think about managing their employees.

With such short job length from employees, a lot of history is lost when workers depart for other jobs.  Project momentum can be stalled while a search ensues for a replacement.  Shifting dynamics mean team reshuffles.

The benefit to employers is that having new hires also brings fresh new ideas to the company on how they do business.

But the question still remains: How long is long enough at a job?

The answer has many shades of grey.

The best bet: match posted job requirements as closely as possible.  Take the time to research multiple job listings for similar positions, which should give you a clue of what the minimum might be.

While loyalty is becoming a faded, antique term, having some maturity in the type of work you do is also actually a valuable asset.

There is a big difference between “knowing” how to do a job vs. actually doing it. You may feel that you are up to the challenge, but that is very different from being able to step in and know exactly what to do.

Another thing to consider about job length isn’t as much about how long you have been there… more about what you actually did while you worked.  If you are toiling just to put in “time” and don’t have much to show for it, you really aren’t any better off than when you started.

It’s more important to get in there and demonstrate results.

Oftentimes, those results are what attract employers to you… versus you having to go looking for them.

If you are being courted by another employer or stalked by a recruiter anxious to present you to one of their clients, this means you’ve already proven your worth.  Value reigns supreme over job length these days.

My advice: concentrate on building up your value through positive contributions… versus looking at the clock and saying: “Am I there yet?”

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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