Mar 26, 2016 11:03 AM EDT

Appropriate Time Frame To Stay At A Job: What Is Not Too Much But Not Too Less?

By R S Ali

Changing jobs too often is a red flag many employees, hiring managers and recruiters keep a sharp eye out for. But stagnancy - staying in one place so long you've started molding your chair to yourself - is another problem. So what is the balance? How do you make sure you stay fresh and excited about work but don't turn into a bailer? Monster suggests some ways.

The jobs that you work have to have given you something. Having too many jobs on your resume that say nothing at all about you or the experience or skills you might have gained there would be better off being left off your CV.

According to many experts, the ideal time period to stay at a job is a year. This is especially true if it is your first "real" job. Unless you are in an extreme situation like one involving illegal acts or extreme abuse, your first job should at least last a year to show that you are stable and professional, and that you will stick to something once you've committed even if the going gets tough - as opposed to bailing at the first sign of discomfort.

An 18-month to two-year stint should be kept in mind as a general minimum duration of staying.

Job hopping is, however, relatively more acceptable in the current business market. It might not have been so around 10 years ago. Today, hiring managers know and understand that once an employee has gained a significant amount of skills and experience, he/she will try to get a better paying job or even get back on to the market for newer opportunities offering more advancement and/or challenges.

However, this being said, less than six months at the first or first few jobs is suspicious by default unless you manage to explain it away really well - and even if you can, try not to count on the opportunity. Less than six months is generally frowned upon universally - a fact you should remember.

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