Here's how often you should change jobs early in your career, according to a global recruitment guru

Applicants at a Jobs Fair in the US. John Moore/Getty Images

Robert Walters, who started the UK-based global recruitment company which bears his name more than 20 years ago, has some simple advice on how to make it in the world and land that big job.

“Most people don’t know what they want to do,” he told Business Insider. “They think they do but it’s based on incomplete information.

“Because a mate’s doing it, they think it’s good. Do they even know what corporate finance is?”

When you’ve decided what you want to do in life and work, start thinking about your CV, the story of your working life.

“A good CV generally, apart from IT which is always different, would be qualifying in some form, then you spend four or five years in your first job, then you might then spend three years at another job,” he says.

There are blocks of time between your professional beginning and making it or not which add up to around 20 years.

“Normally you have blocks in that 20-year period or people will tell you you move too much or you haven’t moved enough,” Robert Walters says. “If you stay in the same place for 12 years in your first job, you get a lot of questions.”

However, this time period and progression of big and better jobs appears to be changing with Generation Y.

“It’s going to be quite different from what it used to be with Generation Y coming in; it’s a different way of looking at the world,” Robert Walter says.

“They will interview you as an employer and make sure your corporate social responsibility credentials are good. They see it as a partnership and they often don’t stay very long despite all that. But this is early days for that trend.”

Overall, a CV must show clear progression and reasons for leaving. Robert Walters says to be concise.

Having an MBA degree might help, depending on the company you want to be with and the type of work you do.

Some companies like MBAs and hire those who have one. Others don’t. And it depends where you do the MBA. Companies pay attention to the business school ratings.

“But it depends at what point in your career you do an MBA,” says Robert Walters.

“If you do it straight after university, it’s not as good as if you had two or three years’ experience. The case studies that you would be doing at a good MBA school, like a Wharton or a Stanford or a Harvard, you really don’t have the knowledge to do it.”

An MBA can also be useful if you want to move to another functional area, such as from finance to human resources.

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