Can Staying At One Job For Too Long Ruin Your Career?

I’m sure at some point during your job search you’ve heard people say that job-hopping is a career killer (we actually debunked this myth in a previous blog), but could the opposite be true?

Just like moving from job to job can be damaging when it comes to your future job hunt, so can staying put in one company for years on end. Let me explain…

Years ago it would be considered impressive if a candidate had stayed at a company for a long time, proving their loyalty and commitment to a role, but these days with the recession and unemployment issues it’s just not a viable option.

Staying in one job for a number of years may no longer paint a picture of a perfect employee, but of an unmotivated one who’s set in their ways.

These days, employers may look at a candidate’s career history as a problem financially. For example, employees tend to receive pay rises and bonuses based on the time spent at a company, as well as performance, so a candidate who has spent years in the same role could be a lot more expensive to hire than one who has held two or three positions over the space of about five years.

The candidate who’s been at the same company for a long time may not need training so the employee will save cash that’s normally spent on that, but increased salary and promised bonuses to match the candidate’s current package will far outweigh that.

Also, being at a job too long means that the candidate’s probably very settled in the role and used to working in a certain way, so the employer will be asking themselves how easy the candidate will be able to transition to the company’s way of working.

In the same breath, will this particular candidate be motivated enough to take on a new challenge? Will they have the drive and ambition that was present when they started in their current role or has that spark died out?

There’s no magic number of years for when you should start worrying about being in a job too long – but if you’re starting to get concerned, there’s some things you can do to avoid putting potential employers off hiring you.

Emphasise your adaptability and willingness to learn on your CV by explaining the variety of roles you have taken on during your time at your current job. Prove to the employer that you’re not stuck in a rut and are more than capable to face new challenges and take on different responsibilities.

With all this in mind, having a stable job with examples of progression is certainly not a kiss of death when job seeking, but it can trick you into feeling a false sense of security and make you too comfortable.

As ever I’d like to hear what you think about this. Is staying in one job too long detrimental to your job search, or does it prove your commitment to any future employers? Let me know in the comments below.

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