Learn How Long Should You Stay at a Job (Expert Tips)

How long should you stay at a job? You may question if quitting a career is the correct decision for you at some point, whether you have accomplished what you set out to do or simply want to try something new.

How long should you stay at a job?

how long should you stay at a job

The length of time you stay at a job is determined by the company and your professional objectives. One of your ambitions while working for a firm will almost certainly be to get promoted or to make a lateral shift to a new position. If your present employer lacks the resources and availability to help you, it may be time to move on to another firm with your skills, experience, and expertise.

According to experts, you should stay at your current job for at least two years. It's long enough to acquire new skills and broaden your qualifications, yet short enough to demonstrate your commitment to professional development.

How long does a typical person stay at a job?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years wage and pay workers have been with their present employers has fallen significantly from 4.2 years in January 2018 to 4.1 years in January 2020.

However, if you spend every workday feeling underpaid, under-appreciated, or dissatisfied, four years might seem like an eternity—don't feel obligated to remain that long. But, before you say goodbye to your boss, think about the implications your resume's dates are sending to potential employers.

Leaving a job on your own after a year doesn't seem that awful. If you have more than one non-contract, full-time employment where you didn't last the entire year, that's a red flag to future employers, regardless of why you left.

Tip: Job hopping is when you stay at a job for less than a few months. Hiring managers don't want to hire a "job hopper," since they don't stay in their jobs for very long. Make sure you aren't this person. Focus on meeting a minimum of two years at your job.

What happens if you leave your job in less than a year?

Employers used to view a shorter stay at a job as a negative trait, but that is no longer the case. Employers increasingly recognize that individuals expect specific things from their employment and that it is sometimes essential to work numerous jobs in order to advance in a career.

There is, nevertheless, a balance. Employers may be wary of a possible new recruit who has held a large number of jobs over their career. The reason for this is that hiring, training, and keeping talent is an expense that firms would rather avoid for short-term workers. Instead, they want to employ someone who will stay with them long enough to offset the training costs and provide value.

Here's how long you should stay: two years.

how long should you stay at a job

How to explain a short job tenure

Although it may appear so, a short tenure does not always imply that you will be passed over for a new position. Instead, there are methods to explain your brief term so that a recruiting manager understands why you changed jobs.

Acquired skills and experience

Make sure you've earned information and abilities that you can use to a new position before switching roles. Discuss your education as well as any initiatives you were in charge of that will demonstrate your abilities. Discuss how each position has prepared you for your desired professional path.

Be honest about the move

It's fine to discuss the drawbacks of a previous job since employers respect candor, but do it in a favorable light. You may say, for example, that the company culture didn't represent your work values as you had hoped, or that the job duties didn't match the job description that prompted you to apply in the first place.

Make sure to conclude your description of the employment experience by stating what you learnt to demonstrate the value it provided.

how long should you stay at a job

Talk about career goals

Focus on your professional objectives and what you can offer to the company based on your previous experience throughout the interview. Tell the recruiting manager what you like about their firm and why you want to work there.

What happens when you stay at a job too long?

There are certain advantages to gaining experience at a profession, but switching positions may also be beneficial. It allows you to take on new tasks and expand your knowledge. Employers value loyalty, but they also recognize that in order to advance in your career, you may need to move jobs.

While remaining in a job for a long time conveys that you are dedicated to your profession, it can also convey that you have gotten complacent.

Questions to ask yourself before moving onto a new job

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • What's the remainder of your work experience like? In other words, is this the first or fifth time you've been dissatisfied with your job? When it appears that there is a trend of brief stays, the difficulty develops. Most employers want to see that you've worked at least one job for three to five years because it shows you're reliable.
  • In your line of work, what is considered acceptable? If you work in technology, how long should you stay at a job? What if you're a teacher, for example? Because various sectors and jobs have varying requirements, this is the case.
  • Do you think you'll be able to find work? If you can hold out until you have another job lined up, you will be in a better bargaining position. When you are not already employed, you may be perceived as less appealing as a candidate.
  • What is your age? Employers are more tolerant of professionals who bounce from job to job early in their careers while still figuring out what they want to do with their lives. However, as you gain experience in your field, prospective employers will expect you to know what works best for you and will be less inclined to compromise.

how long should you stay at a job

Is this going to help my career?

The answer to this question will be determined by your present company as well as your new employment prospects. Consider if your present employer is providing you with the chances you desire and whether they offer the type of training you know you will benefit from.

How does my job history look?

Examine your resume/CV from the perspective of an employer to understand how a hiring manager may read your work history, but also to be honest with yourself about the reasons for any previous employment changes.

Can I improve my situation first?

Instead of quickly shifting employment, consider your existing position and see if there are any ways to enhance it. For example, perhaps you enjoy your job and work with wonderful people, but you want to advance to a position of leadership.

During your performance review, make sure you've addressed your objectives with your boss and asked what extra you can do or what projects you can take on to position yourself as a leader in the workplace.

What are the industry standards for my field?

Information technology, for example, has a higher rate of career turnover than other industries. Take the effort to learn about industry standards before quitting your present position. If your sector is ever-changing, you may find that more individuals are changing jobs to ensure that they are remaining current with growing trends and the abilities required for the position.

how long should you stay at a job

Do I have an explanation on why I'm moving on?

Your hiring manager will almost certainly inquire why you're searching for a new job throughout the interview process for any new position. This is because they want to make sure you're leaving your present job for the correct reasons and that they can offer you something new, guaranteeing a long-term mutually beneficial working relationship. Consider whether you can effectively express your desire for a new position.

Tip: Seek career advice from a close friend before starting your job search. You may want to consider improving your job within the company, first. Before moving onto the next employer. Want to leave still? Learn how to quit professionally.

Am I leaving for the right reasons?

Consider your reasons for leaving and whether they are still valid in the long run. Perhaps your boss chose a coworker for a promotion instead of you, and now you want to accept a position with a different company as a result. Instead, consider all of the aspects that go into making a workplace great, such as perks, culture, training opportunities, and more, to see if this is the perfect place for you to stay.

Consider that there might be a significant reason you didn't obtain a promotion to a leadership position in the promotion scenario. Perhaps your boss has different ideas for you or believes it is critical that you gain valuable job experience first. Schedule a meeting with your boss to learn more about their plans for your future with the firm.

how long should you stay at a job

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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