Hop ScotchIn an interview last week, David Wade, HR Director of technology consulting firm Sogeti USA, remarked that when it comes to hiring, the company prefers IT professionals who will be committed for the long term. To him, a record of job hopping doesn't look good. On the other hand, in a recent post on how to reply when a hiring manager asks “Do you have any questions for me?”, Software Engineering Community Guide Catherine Powell suggested inquiring about career paths could make you appear  ambivalent about the position being offered. On other words, even early on don't waver when it comes to showing a long-term view. Despite all this, job hopping is increasingly the norm for the new generation of workers. So,mass Forbes, companies' expectations might be out of sync. Among Millennials – those born between 1977 and 1997 – 91 percent expect to stay in a job for less than three years, according to Multiple Generations @ Work, a survey conducted by executive development firm Future Workplace. Like Wade, many HR directors are wary of resumes filled with one- or two-year stints, questioning the candidate's motivation, skill level and ability to get along with others. Yet some experts see the 20s as an age when young workers experiment with jobs to find the right fit. It can keep them from being stuck in a job that offers little hope of advancement. On top of that, the economic downturn has convinced many that long-term loyalty doesn't necessarily pay off. Writes Forbes's Jeanne Meister:
Workers today know they could be laid off at any time – after all, they saw it happen to their parents – so they plan defensively and essentially consider themselves “free agents.
Vincent Milich, director of the IT Effectiveness Practice at Hay Group, told me that IT professionals especially want to see a clear career path for themselves. Too often recruiters can lay that out for them while their current employers don't. For employers, providing employees with that long-term view can be an effective strategy for retaining talent. Says Meister:
So, hiring managers, before dismissing a scattershot resume, consider the context; it may demonstrate ambition, motivation and the desire to learn new skills more than it shows flakiness. More employers are realizing that this is the new normal, and coming around to appreciating its advantages.
For those with plenty of moves, it means being able to effectively explain them. The same goes for those who stay. Have you grown in skills, responsibility and accomplishments?

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