Recently, a friend approached me with an interesting dilemma…
They had recently made a decision to start looking for a new job. However, they were concerned because they had worked at their current company for over 10 years.
What’s a longtimer to do when they are looking to get hired in a world full of millennials and new technology?
Pros & Cons of Long-Term Employment
My longest stint with any employer at the time of writing has been 3 years. Some would say that is too short.
Still statistics show that the days of working at one company for your entire life are over. The average person will change jobs 10 to 15 times throughout their career with the average time at each company being less than 5 years.
That’s why it’s important to discuss the varying messages or red flags that having long-term employment on your resume could send.
The assumed positives of long-term employment?
- You’re very loyal.
- You enjoy consistency & stability.
- You have deep knowledge in your industry.
The assumed negatives of long-term employment?
- Your skills are likely stale.
- You might have low ambition.
- Your scope of experience is very narrow.
Those are generalizations, but it’s good to know what stereotypes you face.
This allows you to build your new resume with the right perspective. That knowledge also gives you an opportunity to play up your pros and ease concerns related to the cons your potential new employer may assume you bring to the table.
How To Position Long-Term Employment on Your Resume
The tips below will help you craft a brand new resume that looks fit for the current times. Here are a few things to help you get started:
Make it Look Modern
While the structural format of resumes has remained the same for the past few decades they have definitely changed in basic look and feel.
Modern resumes look… modern.
They have a bit more information than resumes of the past. They highlight career achievements, skills, and personal hobbies in addition to regular work experience. They sometimes include color, video, and customized timelines. They might even be delivered on the back of a candy bar, in a pizza box, or in the middle of a helium balloon.
If you’re unsure where to start, take a peek at a few resume templates over at CreativeMarket.com. Most are less than $20 and will go a long way in helping your work experience appear current.
Sign up for the their newsletter and you might even snag an awesome template for free during one of their complimentary downloads on Monday’s.
Use Lots of Keywords
Back in the day, you could feel pretty certain that when you submitted your resume to a company a real human would look at it. The same can’t be said in today’s world.
Play up your long-term role by inserting a good volume of keywords that reflect the current language being used in your industry. This does 2 things…
- It gives your resume more visibility in a time when most never see the outside of a database. If your desired employer uses a big box system (ex: Taleo) your resume goes into a huge digital pile with everyone else. Recruiters will search through masses of resumes looking for specific keywords to appear before they’ll take the time to really look at a candidate.
- It shows that even through you’ve been with the same company for years, your knowledge is still fresh. Don’t just add a few more bullet points to the resume you used to get your current job and call it a day. That will only feed a hiring managers fear of you being stale. Instead, jazz it up by using relevant keywords and you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.
Andrew Paradi breaks down the benefits of resume SEO over on his blog if you need a deeper dive. (click here)
Break Out Your Experiences
When you’re in the day-to-day of a long-term role it’s easy to forget the massive impact your work plays in the business.
Hear is the truth… if you’ve done the same thing everyday (or working at the same company for years) you are doing something that someone finds value in. Learn what that value is and own it. Don’t sell yourself short by downplaying your role in various projects throughout the years.
When I crafted a new resume for my friend, I was able to add experiences they completely overlooked by asking a few simple questions. If you’ve been with the same employer for a while there is a good chance these may apply to you too:
- How many budgets & $$$$ have you managed?
- Been through any mergers or acquisitions?
- Survived a rebrand? A website migration?
- Any new store openings?
- Do you oversee any events?
- Have you (or the company) won any awards?
- Done any volunteer work?
- Raised any money for charity?
- Taken any intentional trips for business or education (yes, college still counts)?
In addition, if you’ve changed roles or gotten promotions you should be sure to list them separately. This highlights growth and recognition of your value throughout your tenure.
Include Your Continued Education
Traditional degrees are the foundation of your education. But non-traditional learning has a place on your resume too. It only needs to be relevant to the types of roles you hope to land.
Online courses, seminars, and industry conferences all offer you a chance to brush up your skills. You can find classes on just about any topic at all prices (including free) on sites like Udemy and Lynda.
In addition, you could consider taking courses offered by experts in your industry.
For example, social media professionals might consider taking a Facebook course offered by the “Queen of Facebook” Mari Smith. Someone who wants to learn to code could head over to their local General Assembly and learn new skills.
Including your continued education is about changing your story. You aren’t Jane Doe who’s been stagnant in the same role for years. You are Jane Doe who’s learning new skills to be a competitive candidate against her peers.
Finding a new job after long-term employment can be daunting, but it’s possible. Use the tips above to make the process easier.
Updating your resume isn’t something that has to be done overnight. Consider setting aside an hour or two each day for a few weeks to make sure the process less intimidating. Once you’ve gotten things to a good point, have a trusted friend take a look and share their initial thoughts.
If you’re still uncertain, you could also hire a copywriter to craft a new resume for you.
Are you considering a job change after long-term employment? Lt’s chat about it in the comments below.