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Insights: How Long to Stay in an Entry-level Job

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Question

Submitted by: WISE NYC Metromember | 0 years professional experience

As an entry-level professional, how long would you recommend staying with a company before moving on to another opportunity? If you leave a position after one year, will that be looked upon negatively by future employers?

Answer

These are valid questions that raise other questions. Under what circumstances would you leave a company after a year, rather than explore other internal opportunities? Is it a small organization with no room to advance or grow? Or, is it realizing that it isn’t a good fit and it isn’t going to change?

While a potential new company may be skeptical about your changing jobs after a year, an entry level position is meant to be the portal to next steps. It would, however, be important to assess the real reasons for your desire to leave and plan accordingly to pursue the next “good fit” job.

Part of that planning is how to strategically explain your leaving at job interviews. Go back to the basics of your goals and values. Then you’ll be able to impress why you’re the best person for the new position, based on skills, strengths and knowledge, and how your last position provided the experience and opportunity to move to the next level.

Of course, if you had to leave before getting hired at your next job or were in an impossible situation, be careful about critical comments about your old company, supervisor, or yourself, for that matter. It’s important to have an “exit’ reason that includes showing you at your most professional. Having your best references will also be key in obtaining your next position.

So, go for it. As with most transitions, planning with mindfulness will keep you more balanced and get you closer to your goal.

Lauren Gordon

About Lauren Gordon

Lauren Gordon, Career Counselor at Career Transition for Dancers, provides counseling, group programs, seminars and training. A psychotherapist, EAP consultant and career counselor in private practice in New York City, Lauren serves the arts, sports and other communities. She is on the program committee of Career Development Specialists Network and has written about career transition, including a chapter on athlete career transitions in "Applying Sport Psychology."

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