job hopper
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In the old days, a professional seeking advice about changing jobs would be met with an ear-shattering, “Don’t job-hop! It’s career suicide!” HR treated job-hoppers like professional lepers, sliding their resumes into the trash and dashing their hopes of career advancement.

Today, discussion about job-hopping is at an all-time high — and with good reason.

According to Businessweek , the average American worker changes jobs once every three years. Millennials prioritizing life-fulfillment above work commitments job-hop roughly once a year. Workers have less incentive to stay in one job because company-provided benefits, including vacations, pensions and health care, are seeing drastic cuts. Company loyalty rewards are also in decline, as businesses continue to focus more on measurable results instead of tenure.

There are some who still avoid job-hoppers and instead focus their recruiting energy on traditional, straight-line professionals who have been there, done that. Other employers, however, appreciate job-hoppers’ non-linear resumes , embracing their ability to learn and adapt, to be resilient and to network.

A heavy dose of skepticism is certainly expected when a resume sprinkled with a variety of short-term positions infiltrates your radar. But, when it comes to hiring in the modern workplace, job-hoppers shouldn’t be shunned; they should be welcomed. Here’s why:

They’re Courageous

A 2011 survey commissioned by Plateau and conducted by Harris Interactive found that 31 percent of employees were not satisfied in their current jobs. In especially tough economic times , many employees will forego happiness to keep a steady paycheck; not job-hoppers. Job-hoppers are insightful for recognizing that their jobs were the wrong fit and courageous for pursuing work they enjoy doing.

They Have a Wide Range of Skills and Experience

Quickly moving from job to job equips job-hoppers with technical and strategic skills. When job-hoppers make lateral moves in search of their passion, they increase their overall expertise and value. Before coming to you, they’ll have worked in different departments responsible for different functions, all the while learning the different responsibilities and best practices of each. So when they come to you, they consider problems from the viewpoints they acquired at each position.

They’re Better Performers

In the article, ” Job-Hopping: Career Killer or Savior ?,” Brazen Careerist founder Penelope Trunk says job-hoppers are usually better performers. Why? Professionals who are often in search of new jobs can’t coast without hurting their resumes. Job-hoppers also perform better because they have to combat unflattering stereotypes like being flaky and uncommitted.

They Have Growth Potential

Non-linear job movements demonstrate powerful emotional intelligence-based competencies like adaptability and relationship management, which differentiate high-achieving professionals from average performers. Additionally, non-linear movements show a professional’s curiosity and determination, both of which are ideal traits of leaders.

They May Be More Traveled

Job-hoppers vacate positions for more reasons than just unhappiness. People leave their jobs because they’re dissatisfied with their salaries, there is a lack of advancement opportunities or they desire to relocate. A recent survey found that college graduates who studied abroad landed career-related jobs sooner and with higher starting salaries. Job-hoppers who have been employed in different cities or countries should be viewed as these graduates are: traveled, experienced assets.

Have you ever hired a job-hopper? Was the risk worth the reward?

About the Author: Patrick Richard is the president and founder of ShinyNeedle , a job site that allows employers to submit challenges to job candidates and see how they can impact a business from day one, making the hiring process more interactive. You can connect with Patrick and ShinyNeedle on Twitter and Facebook.