Career Napalm – 3 Jobs in 2 Years

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With the rabid demand for digital measurement professionals we are seeing too many well-qualified candidates killing their resumes by making two quick jumps in a row.

Fact: There are a lot of bad web analytics jobs out there.

Anyone can make a mistake and take a job that looked good at the start but turned out to be a lemon. But when you do this twice in a row, you become the lemon.

So what should you do if you just started your job a few months ago and you want to get out of there? Here is something you hardly ever hear a recruiter say: Hold. Sit tight for a year. Try to make it work. Come up with an action plan on how to improve the function at your company and spend the next 6-12 months trying to execute that plan.

If you do this, you will accomplish two things:
1. You will improve your resume by making it past the 1-year mark
2. You will have a much better story to tell. “The job sucked, so I left” is not particularly compelling to future employers. “The job sucked, so here are the 10 things that I did to try to turn it around” is a much better story.

I completely understand that this is easier said than done. Your phone rings 3x a week with new job opportunities and these can look like lifelines after a bad spell in your current job.

If you can’t or won’t sit tight and execute your turnaround plan, here is my advice: BE SURE. Be sure that that next job is going to be a better situation. Learn from the mistakes you made and be sure that the job not only matches your skills and your experience, but that the culture is a fit and the position lines up with what is motivating you…

… because now you can’t leave. No matter what happens in this position, you have to put on your big boy pants and survive for 18-months. If you don’t, you will become damaged goods.

Fact: There are a lot of bad web analysts out there.

Fact: If you have 3 jobs in 2 years most companies will think you are a bad investment.

I just tried to sell a car that my wife crashed. The car looked and ran perfectly, but the CarFax said that there was “Frame Damage” as a result of the accident. I sold it for a huge discount. Damaged goods.

You might be awesome at your job… You might have a great reason for having 3 jobs in 2 years… but your resume reads like the CarFax. Damaged Goods. Your value is going to take a nosedive.

The reality is that there is so much more demand than supply for your skill set that you are still going to be employable. It is not going to be the end of your career.

We see the same 20-30 terrible web analysts getting hired over and over again around the country… so 3 jobs in 2 years will not end your career. It will, however, be an extremely expensive mistake.

5 responses to “Career Napalm – 3 Jobs in 2 Years

  1. I have to assume that this does not appy to those of us who work as independent consultants? Often my contracts with clients are for 3-6 months and then I move on. I do have a few long-term clients, but my experience is peppered with shorter engagements.

    I do lump many of them under my experience with my LLC, however some previous clients standout and I really want them listed seperately on my resume because they are fairly big names.

  2. I love this post, specifically because of the “BE SURE” part.

    We are so fortunate to be in an incredible industry that is growing and where the good analysts are in ultra-high demand. Use this to your advantage.

    Don’t feel guilty for asking to meet a lot of people you’d be working with, across departments. Don’t feel guilty about asking why people leave the company you’re interviewing at, and ask to talk to people who have left recently. Ask really high-level questions about what the company as a whole is trying to accomplish. Use this as an opportunity to re-write the job description a little bit and set a precedent that you are there to affect the BUSINESS, not some small slice of it they have estimated an “average” candidate for this role can complete successfully.

    Most people in this industry have had jobs in times where people have been losing them, and companies have used this to their advantage. In the mid-90’s, companies used to work to convince applicants to work there. They would pursue them. Today, companies act as if working for them is a privilege. The truth is this: the company has far more to gain from you than you do from it. The company is always the winner when it hires true talent. Both are winners, but looking at the financial side of things, you are a hugely attractive investment. Don’t forget that. You are in control. Especially if they reached out to you and not the other way around. They want you.

  3. Expanding on the key advice in this article:

    1. when in a bad job situation, understand exactly why it is bad

    2. document it

    3. make a plan to improve the situation, fix the process, etc

    4. document the plan

    5. execute plan

    6. document what worked and why

    7. document what didn’t work and why

    8. what did you learn, what was the overall impact on the organization, what kind of feedback/support did you get from other employees?

    9. document it.

    10. You’re eyes are open for a new job, so you can afford to be bold and take some risks in executing your plan. (bold is not = stupid, though).

    11. How did you miss recognizing the situation at the interview stage?

    12. Now, go ahead and take your time looking for another job, using all of that information to ask the deep, hard, questions in your upcoming interviews.

    13. You’re in charge. Take command and be assertive in your upcoming interviews. Use what you just did and just learned in your current job to project confidence and authority. Be Picky, know what you want, and redefine the position if you need to.

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