Charlotte Newton
Charlotte Newton
Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

A new job or job longevity - what's better for my CV?

When you start thinking about moving jobs one of the questions you might ask yourself is: ‘is this the right time for me to move?’ This might be especially so if you’ve been in your role for a relatively short period of time. If you’ve been at a job for less than a year, should you stay on for the sake of your CV?

The honest answer:  it’s dependent on why you want to leave.

A recent case study

I spoke to a lawyer candidate last month who’d been with their current firm for just over six months and they were really unhappy, but they said to me “maybe I should just stay so it looks better on my CV…”

I asked them, “why do you want to leave?”, and they proceeded to tell me the following:

  • The location: I was promised I could work in the office that’s closer to me but in reality, I’m needed more and more in another office. This is unlikely to change as there’s no further investment planned for my local office.
  • The role isn't what I expected: I was promised a team and although there are other solicitors who dip into my discipline I’m the only one who’s focussed on it. I’m responsible for the marketing and business development but there’s hardly any budget for me.
  • I’d like to work for a law firm that has a bigger presence.

These reasons why are completely reasonable… don’t you agree?

Seek and you shall find…

Ultimately, in this scenario, there were substantial reasons to move and insubstantial, even illogical, reasons not to. If it’s not working, especially if it’s due to broken promises, get out. Holding on won’t do you any favours.

The lawyer candidate went on to interview, and got offered and accepted their dream job - a fantastic move for them. And guess what? The client had no qualms about the lawyer’s six month stint. Quite the contrary – they sympathised: “yes, I can see why they want to move – I think we can offer them a better opportunity.”

Ultimately, it comes down to your motivations. If your only motivation is money, this won’t be well received; whereas, if you have genuine and reasonable motivations, there’s not much stopping you.

Why not read, 'Are you truly happy in your legal career?'

Don’t stay out of fear

Don’t take a narrow view to job longevity on your CV and its affect on your career. If you’re searching for something, go out and look for it! (Complete disclosure: it might take a few unhappy jobs to get there.)

It’s 2019 and times have changed considerably. Long gone are the days of staying in one job (or career) for your entire life. If you’ve got the skills, you’re driven and you know what you want – this will radiate at an interview and I promise you, you’ll get far; more so than those who stay put.

Maybe we’ll get to a point where hirers view longevity as a potential negative: reflective of someone settling and not striving; someone who’s lazy; someone who lacks confidence in new environments; or, someone who’s resting on their laurels.

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