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Job Switching: How Often Should You Switch Jobs to Keep Growing

Job switching while you have leverage can lead to career growth and potential increases in salary and benefits.

Chris Scott

Contributing Writer at Tally

October 21, 2021

The days of working for a single employer for decades have passed. 

According to a long-term study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between the ages of 18 and 54, the average American will work 12.4 jobs. In fact, job switching can be beneficial, allowing you to grow in your field and increase your salary. 

If you’re wondering whether you should go job-hopping, this article should prove helpful. We'll discuss a variety of career-related topics, including:

  • How you can benefit from job switching 

  • How often to look for a new role

  • How to negotiate your offer package 

By the end of this post, you should feel more comfortable with the prospects of a job change. 

How you could benefit from job switching 

Even if you feel comfortable in your current job and haven't considered testing the waters of the job market, you might benefit from switching positions. This is perhaps the best time to become a job seeker due to the leverage you have and the ability to leave on your terms. 

When you’ve been laid off or forced into the labor market, you’re more likely to accept mediocre offers because you’re not negotiating from a position of strength. But when you are a job switcher, you set yourself up for career growth, both in salary and development. New companies may offer more room for advancement, especially if your career path is unclear at your current company. 

Additionally, changing jobs allows you to keep developing your career skills. When you change jobs, you are more likely to be engaged and not suffer from stagnation. 

Furthermore, you can use new job offers to boost your salary and benefits. When you have a position of leverage, you can negotiate wages and things like more time off to improve your work-life balance. If you’re not happy with the offer, then you merely stay at your existing job. 

How often should you be looking for a new role 

In 2020, one in five workers changed jobs, 33% of those being Gen Z and 25% millennials. Experts expect one in four workers to change jobs in 2021. Additionally, according to respondents of a Gallup poll, six in 10 millennials are open to new job opportunities. But, is there a rule as to how often you should be changing jobs?

The guidelines for how often you should be looking for a new role can be a bit ambiguous. As Perminus Wainaina, Chief Executive Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, wrote on LinkedIn, "Employers will consider you a high risk hire if you change jobs now and then. Stay in a company for too long and employers will wonder whether you are flexible." 

Wainaina recommends that you change employers every three to four years as you settle into your career. He notes that it’s more common to change jobs earlier in your career and that as you rise within a company, you should change less and less. 

Essentially, you should avoid changing jobs too frequently so that you aren't seen as a job-hopper, but if you are a new grad or within the first three years of your career, some job switching is expected. 

How to negotiate job offers and salaries 

If you receive a job offer, you likely have some room to negotiate, especially if the proposed salary is not what you were expecting. Unfortunately, a CareerBuilder survey found that 56% of workers don't negotiate for more money when offered a job, even though 52% of employers indicate that when they extend a job offer, the proposed salary is often lower than what they’re willing to pay. 

It's important to set your non-negotiables before receiving an offer. These are things that you are not willing to budge on and are your bottom-line requirements. You should be willing to walk away from a job offer if you don’t receive these. 

From there, set your negotiables. These things are "icing on the cake." You should show some willingness to be flexible with these. Doing so helps demonstrate that you’re willing to negotiate and not ask for absurd demands. 

You only have one chance to propose a counter-offer. When you write a counteroffer, you want it to be concise and clear in what you're asking for. Avoid a scenario where you ask for a better salary, receive it, and then go back to the table and ask for more. 

Draft up a counter offer letter in writing that outlines exactly what you're looking for. If you have a recruiter, work with them during this process. Your recruiter may have insight into what is likely to be accepted and what will come off as over the top. 

After you counter, the prospective employer should extend you one last offer. At this point, you're in a "take it or leave it" situation. This is likely the employer's best and final offer. You should be prepared to walk away if you're not happy with the proposed terms. 


Below are a few tips that can generally help during the negotiating counter-offer process: 

  • Demonstrate your interest: An employer doesn’t want to be strung along or used as leverage. Convey a genuine interest in the position, and express that you are very interested in making a career change and joining their company.

  • Develop a "likeability" factor: If a hiring manager or interviewer likes you, they’re more likely to want to bring you on board. Spend time getting to know your recruiter and develop a relationship with them. If there is a connection, the process will go smoother, and you’re more likely to receive what you're looking for.

  • Have a rationale for your requests: If your requests are justified, they’re more likely to be heard and considered. Make sure you do your homework and back up your requests with data supporting your position. 

There's one last thing to note regarding job-hopping and negotiations. Even if you end up passing on a job offer, the opportunity to hone your negotiation skills should only serve to benefit you in the long run. 

Keeping your negotiation skills sharp can help you if you seek a raise from your current employer or search for another job down the road. No matter who it's with, negotiating gives you the chance to showcase your value and leverage your skills for upward mobility. 

How to ask for a raise in your current role 

If you’re happy in your current role but feel as though you're underpaid, you can ask for a raise instead of leaving for a new job entirely. Before you do so, it's important that you do your research. 

Start by comparing your day-to-day activities with others in your position. If you’ve taken on more responsibilities and can demonstrate this to your boss, you have the leverage to ask for a raise. Additionally, you'll want to collect salary data for people in your role and area. 

Set up a meeting with your boss and mention that you'd like to discuss career growth and opportunities. Request the number that you have in mind. If your employer counters with something lower, remain strong using the compiled data to back yourself off. If your employer won't budge on salary, consider requesting things like additional vacation time, tuition reimbursement or a work-from-home arrangement. 

Job switching can lead to career advancement 

If you’re wondering whether you should switch jobs, there's no harm in doing a job search and exploring your options. Talking with a recruiter or other companies can give you a better idea of the available opportunities and whether your current employer compensates you fairly. 

Job-hopping while you have leverage can prove advantageous to your career growth, salary and benefits. It's generally expected that you change jobs more often early in your career and less frequently as you settle into higher-level positions.

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