My Executive


    Jul 23, 2013

    Build credentials to advance at work

    Q: Some of my friends change their jobs every two to three years and they say that each jump gets them a higher salary. What would potential employers think of such job hoppers? What is an effective way of getting better pay without being labelled a job hopper?

    A: It is generally true that during the early stages of your career, you might enjoy a pay increment with each new job as you gain more work experience, which is valued by employers.

    However, unless you build your credentials and related work experience, subsequent increments with each new job will slowly decrease.

    In today's volatile economic climate, it is unlikely that you will get a huge pay increment with each move, unless you are a star performer with a solid track record.

    Employers do not expect their employees to stay with them forever. They will also not accept any job applicant who comes their way.

    Some employees switch to unrelated jobs. They lack focus and do not have a clear career-progression path. Furthermore, they do not build their domain knowledge.

    Very often, these candidates fail to impress potential employers as it is clear that they are interested only in the additional money and fancy job titles. Employers loathe these serial job hoppers because their motives are questionable and their expectations are unrealistic.

    Yet, there are rock-solid star candidates who leap from one opportunity to another, concurrently moving up the corporate ladder.

    Employers have no qualms offering them a better remuneration package. They are real talents and are highly sought after for their skills and expertise. One clear trait of these star candidates is that they have strong profiles and a list of impressive achievements.

    Despite that, job hopping must stop at some point because a trail of continual job hopping is detrimental to one's career. And most employers do not want to incur additional resources to train new staff, only to have them leave the company before they are even productive.

    Instead of being obsessed with higher pay, there is a more sustainable approach to securing a better job with corresponding remuneration.

    First, understand your strengths and know your career goals. What exactly is it that you want to achieve in your career and life?

    Confucius said: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

    Too many people are trapped in jobs that they dislike just to pay the bills, and they are not motivated to improve themselves.

    The most effective way to get a better job is to take charge of your own learning and career. Be curious and build up your domain knowledge. Do not depend on others. You need to ignite the fire in your belly.

    Develop a T-shaped career profile where you have the expertise in a single field and yet are able to collaborate with other experts in different disciplines.

    Always ask yourself whether you have added value to your job. Are you productive? Could you do more by taking on additional responsibilities?

    Once you have found the passion, and are productive in what you do, then the money will follow naturally.

    Of course, if you love your job, but dislike the workplace, then it's understandable that you leave.

    But, remember that, like any relationship, there is no such thing as a perfect partner. You need to invest effort to make the relationship work.

    Do you have a question related to your job, career or workplace? Send it to (with "Ask The Career Coach" as the subject header) and we will help you ask industry experts for advice.

    For information on career opportunities, visit the website of recruitment and human-resource consultancy The GMP Group at