Writing a resume can be a challenge for a wide variety of reasons. Most people know that having gaps in your employment history can send up a red flag to a potential employer, and they must be addressed in some fashion. On the flip side, having long stretches of employment on your resume can also give a negative perception, if it isn’t handled correctly. Why do potential employers sometimes shy away from such candidates, and what can you do to combat the negative impact?
Why Long-Term Employment Can be Perceived Negatively
If you have been at the same job for a number of years without a change in title, this may tell a potential employer that you have gone about as far as you are capable in your industry. They want people who are looking to grow and advance, rather than just come in day after day to do the same thing. They want motivated employees.
You may also be seen as someone who is not up-to-date. If you have been doing the same job the same way for the same employer for many years, they may reason that you only know one way to do the job. In today’s business climate, it is vital that companies and their employees be adaptable and flexible. Doing the same job for long stretches may make you look rigid or locked into a routine.
How to Structure Your Resume to Overcome These Perceptions
Unless the negative perceptions listed above really do describe you, being with the same employer for many years doesn’t have to be a negative. A lot depends on how you frame your experience and your advancement within the organization. For some examples of resumes that meet these challenges, look here and here.
If you received promotions or were transferred to different divisions, make note of these major changes on your resume. Show the dates you were in each position so that potential employers can see that you were advancing and taking on new responsibilities. If you had specific achievements in each position, break those down, too. Don’t just lump them all together. Show that you made a difference in each role you took on.
You should also list any training or continuing education you received along the way. This will help to demonstrate that you are indeed current in your field. It also shows that you are not in a rut, and are eager to learn and advance, even if it was with the same employer over the years. This will show that you are not outdated, and that you have the ability to learn new tasks and job skills.
Give a Reason for Changing Jobs
If a potential employer gets past the fact that you stayed at a job for a significant amount of time, and accepts that you are forward moving, another question crops up. Why would you leave a company that you seem to have been happy with for so long? If you have stayed up-to-date and are learning new job skills, the reason for leaving is a natural question. It is vital to never speak negatively of the former company. Simply state that you are looking for new opportunities to apply your skills in a new environment, that you want new experiences.