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When should you change jobs?

Have you spent your whole career in one particular organisation, or are you forever changing jobs?

When a professional starts a new job, the first year is generally spent getting to know the business and the role, building relationships both internally and externally, as well as understanding how the business and team works. 

During years two and three a candidate can really start adding value. People who leave before this point may find it very difficult to demonstrate how they have contributed to the business.

Some hiring managers believe professionals who move jobs frequently don't have the appetite to learn and think they know it all already. Others believe they are simply not serious about their careers. And there is the added issue of cost - replacing a staff member is costly and potential employers are becoming increasingly wary of candidates who have moved around a lot.

Some hiring managers believe professionals who move jobs frequently don't have the appetite to learn and think they know it all already. Others believe they are simply not serious about their careers.

"If you are serious about your career progression, moving jobs too often can be damaging," says Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager at Robert Walters South Africa. 

Professionals who aspire to reach the top should have a CV that hiring managers can admire - one that gets across how you know your role inside out, how you have made your mark in the organisation as well as the industry and how you have worked exceptionally hard for long stretches at one firm.

"Candidates who have changed jobs more frequently will need to explain why," Nic adds.

At the other end of the scale there are employees who have managed to spend two or three decades or longer with the one organisation. Some hiring managers may be concerned that such individuals are reluctant to embrace change or challenges.

However, large international companies such as Robert Walters can offer employees the chance to grow their career across different countries and divisions. And providing your career is progressing, a long stretch at a large employer won't harm your future prospects.

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