It used to be that career success began at the bottom, in an entry-level position, and that you slowly worked your way up the corporate ladder within a single company, earning new responsibilities and promotions based on hard work. As long as you worked hard enough, someone would take notice, and you would move up. Rung by rung, you just had to focus on doing your best and you would be rewarded. This career concept has now retired and is collecting dust in the back of a shed somewhere. The reality is that in the current workforce, passively waiting for promotions is now regarded negatively, along with a career that consists of experience with only one company. Career success is now fueled by embracing change and taking risks, being self-sufficient, taking initiative, perhaps even starting your own business, and having the drive and determination to actively go after what you want.
The 21st Century Keys to Career Success
As the workforce has evolved from industrialized trades to an environment that requires a wide skill-base, individuals have come to acquire those skills through multiple positions, forcing company loyalty lower down on the priority list over an impressive skill-set and experience record. Once upon a time being able to say that you dedicated 30 years to a company was a thing of pride and admiration. Now, however, flexibility and varied experience is most desirable and rewarded, which has also enhanced the perception of the value of freelancing. In the digital age, companies such as 1&1 have made build websites more accessible to people from a range of professions, not just in the tech industry. In this way, people in the modern workforce can demonstrate that their self-starter credentials and prove they can add value to any company, rather than simply toe the line.
The top skills that employers are looking for in the current workforce are:
- A Well-Rounded Skill-set and Experience
- Drive and Determination
- Ability to Take Initiative
How Job Hopping Fosters These Skills
Although “job hopping” was originally regarded negatively, as a person moving between companies and roles was seen as unfocused and uncommitted, this thinking has drastically changed. Now, moving between companies and taking on new roles are signs of a well-rounded career and a go-getter personality that refuses to settle-in and become stagnant in their career. As you gain skills and vital experience in every role you take on, it stands to reason that the more quality roles and experience under your belt the better.
This is not only encouraged but is accepted as essential for career growth at present. A survey conducted by PWC of Millennials entering the workforce found that in 2008 “75% expected to have between two and five employers in their lifetime” and that “over a quarter now expect to have six employers or more.” Simply put, people don’t stay with one company too long anymore, and in general the consensus is that more experience and varied experience counts a whole lot more than dedicated service to any one company. In fact, outdated conventions of loyalty can actual hinder a career instead of helping it, as was mentioned in a Fortune article by Anne Fisher,
“more employers are reluctant to hire people who have been at one place for several years, or for their whole work history. Interviewers may feel that those people are not ambitious enough, or are so ingrained in a particular culture or way of thinking that they won’t be able to adapt to a new environment.”
Not only does a varied career show more extensive work experience and a well-developed skill-set, but it also shows that individuals are adaptable. If a person is willing to switch roles and companies, they display themselves as more flexible. This can be essential to progress – whether within a company or securing a role with a new company – because being open and available to whatever new challenges come their way and ready and willing to relocate if need be shows the company that this individual can be used far beyond the immediate role that the company is currently filling. Flexibility is a trait especially coveted by businesses growing and develop into new markets.