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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    After being COVID laid off in 2020; I spent the next year floundering, and looking for work. I had my resume up on all the different sites, and applied to anything that was even close to a good fit. No luck, and very few calls or email responses. Until one day out of nowhere Helen contacted me. Helen was extremely personable, positive, and prepared. After speaking for some time, completing the initial introductions, and basic information. Helen already had a position in mind for me. I sent her all of my relevant documents, and she worked her magic. Just a couple days later she emailed back my beautifully reworked resume, and double checked that I was ready for her to submit to potential employers. Then things went very fast! The next day on a Tuesday I had 2 phone interviews. Then Thursday another interview with the Director. Helen kept in touch every step of the way; calling even when I had forgotten to keep her posted. Then the General Manager contacted me on a Saturday followed by the VP!! Less than a week after Helen had submitted me I had completed the interview process, and was waiting on an offer pending reference & background checks. Helen, again was in amazing communication with me. Discussing my needs from the offer to ensure that when the offer was made; it included everything I wanted. It worked out exactly like that too! In the midst of the whirlwind offer that was exactly what I wanted (something I've never experienced before), and all the different company leaders reaching out to me. Helen was right there with me too. Checking in, sharing in my excitement, and giving me all her congratulations. Again, I had never experienced a hiring process with this much of a personal touch before ever! Definitely never one that was this smooth, and fast. If the Company went a day not talking to me, Helen was on it and reaching out to push the process forward.
    13 months of the unconscionable COVID under employment; with all the stress, worry, and insecurity, doing anything and everything to scrape together as many dollars as possible, to finally land a dream position that is a perfect fit, in my ideal location, industry, and salary. It is all still so unbelievable, and I know Helen was more than a major player. She was the key! The difference maker! I cannot express my level of gratitude for her help, and perseverance. Helen is the most gifted recruiter I have ever interacted with, and should I ever be looking for work, Helen will absolutely be my first call.
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