Fifty years ago, much could be said about an employee who stayed at their company in the same position their entire career. All of those things were positive. It was a sign of loyalty, competency, and congeniality.
It’s not the same story today. Now there’s a delicate balance to master between job-hopping and what some experts like Terina Allen, MSA, SPHR call “job clinging.” Both ends of the spectrum can derail your future job search. Here are some tips to get it right.
- The sweet spot for job tenure these days is 2 to 4 years. Monster reports that workers change jobs on average every 4.2 years, with the median tenure of workers ages 25 to 34 years old being 2.8 years. Exceptions to this rule are public-sector workers with a longer median tenure of 6.8 years and tech workers, who average less than two years.
- That doesn’t mean you need to switch companies that often, but it does mean that recruiters and hiring managers expect to see career advancement at least every four years. Being promoted at one company periodically qualifies but be sure to highlight those advancing titles and duties on your resume so that they aren’t overlooked.
- If you haven’t been promoted every few years, you’ll need to get crafty. Has your job included learning new skills, working with an increasing number of diverse teams, or handling increased responsibilities? If so, be sure to highlight those. Otherwise, consider the skills and requirements of the jobs you want: Perhaps gaining certifications or other professional development can show that you’re advancing in those areas.
- Don’t change jobs just to change jobs. Remember that career advancement is the key. If you love your job, find ways to evolve in it as time goes on. When the time comes to look for a new one, be prepared to discuss that evolution: reference how the job changed over time, new skills you acquired, changes you adapted to (or, better yet, changes you spearheaded), your goals for the future and how much more you’d like to accomplish, and more.
- Don’t wholly scrub your resume of dates, but do be aware of overt ageism and unconscious bias. The tech industry is particularly age biased. Take this advice from Dice.com and focus only on the qualifications of the job opening at hand. That means, if the job calls for 5-7 years of experience, focus on those years of work. Also, focus on current technology and skills, not outdated ones (no matter how cool they were back in the day). And use the cover letter as an opportunity to explain your experience, your tenure, and why you’re ready to embrace a new opportunity now.
Remember that your HT Group recruiter can help you prepare for a job search by coaching you through these types of challenges. Take advantage of that help today!
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