How Resumes Showing Years of Employment with the Same Employer Can Hurt You (and how to fix it)
We often hear that employment gaps in a resume can hurt a candidate, but did you know long term employment at the same employer can also be perceived negatively?
Having stable employment is certainly not a bad thing. However, if it is with the same employer and your resume doesn’t show you made progress, it is not an impressive mark for a potential employer viewing your resume.
When a candidate has stayed with the same employer for many years, it can be considered in two ways: 1) You are lucky to have found a good employer and enjoy what you do, or, 2) You are afraid to take on new challenges and do not like stepping out of your comfort zone.
A potential employer may view your long term stay with an employer negatively for several reasons:
- Questions of Ambition and Motivation. If you have been working with the same employer for several years and your resume shows you have the same title as when you started, it can lead an employer to wonder if you have reached the peak of your career. Employers want people who have the ambition and motivation to progress.
- Marketable Skills. When you have been with the same employer for a long period of time, your skills may grow stale and an employer may think you only know one way of doing things. Do you have what it takes to be effective and competitive? Are you willing to try things differently and can you learn new skills? How well would you adapt to a new environment, one that may require you to stretch into new and different skills requirements?
Here are ways in which your long tenure with an employer can impress potential employers rather than scare them away.
- Show Advancement. Whether you received promotions or transferred to work in different departments within the company, make note of these changes and advancements on your resume. Specify the dates you were in certain roles so the potential employer sees that you made advancements in your career.
- Detail Your Achievements. Rather than group achievements as a whole with the same employer, break it down on your resume. Under each title and the specific dates you held the position, specify the challenge and accomplishments. This will indicate to a potential employer that you have continued to acquire knowledge, achieve new outcomes, and excel in new capabilities throughout your career with the long term employer and that you have taken on new challenges or projects.
- Advanced Training and Education. If you continued to pursue education or took particular courses or training relevant to the job with your employer, make note of it on your resume. This shows a potential employer that you have a desire to continue to improve your abilities and your job skills have not gone outdated. You also have the initiative to acquire new job skills.
- Provide a Reason for Leaving Your Long Term Employer. A potential employer always has this question in mind for candidates in these situations. They want to know that you are serious about your decision to move on from your long term employer and that you are not leaving for reasons of a bailout – perhaps your performance has grown stale and you are simply looking for a way out.
Never talk negatively about your employer. Simply indicate you have valued the experience and skills gained from you previous position and you are looking for new challenges where you can apply your marketable skills and continue to grow with new experiences.
Your loyalty and dedication is an impressive sign for potential employers, but they have to know you have grown over the years, and still have ambition, motivation, up-to-date skills, and good intentions for wanting to leave your long term employer. Doubt in any of the particular areas mentioned above can lead a potential employer to pass on your resume and application, so use these tips to make sure you get noticed.