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Do Short Stints Create Red Flags?

How long should someone stay in a job? How soon is too soon to make a move?  Will employers think negatively if you leave after a year (or less)?  These questions come up fairly often, as job seekers are concerned that shorter job stints on their resumes will create a red flag for employers.

The first piece of good news is that a single short stint normally won’t cause problems. After all, people leave jobs for many legitimate and understandable reasons; some of which include:

  • Outgrowing their job
  • Seeking a different organizational culture
  • Moving or relocating
  • Caring for a new child or another family member
  • A dream opportunity
  • Many other reasons!

Workers of all ages are also changing jobs more frequently now. According to a 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics news release, the average person born between 1957 and 1964 will have held 11.7 jobs from the ages of 18-48.  In addition, the recent Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 indicates that 66% of millennials expect to leave their job within the next two years; and 25% expect to leave within one year.

Finally, some industries, such as technology, customer service, and sales, also turn over more frequently. Research your field to determine the normal turnover frequency.

So, in general, a single short stint of a year or less shouldn’t raise a red flag, particularly if there is a reasonable explanation.

On the other hand, multiple short stints will concern employers, as this demonstrates a pattern and can indicate that the candidate has difficulty remaining employed. An unsatisfactory explanation for a short stint could also be problematic, particularly if the candidate makes negative comments about their former employer or manager.

In short, if you need to resign a job after a year or less, have a reasonable explanation. And if you already have one or more stints on your resume that are shorter than your industry norm, particularly if they are recent, consider staying a bit longer.

For more resume tips, check out our webinar, “Key Strategy: Targeted Resumes”.