The concept of job longevity is one of the most common I find myself promoting to job seekers daily. Longevity is the length of time spent with each employer, and generally refers to those longer time spans at each job. Obviously then, your resume showcases the strength, or absence, of it. Which, by the way, if you do not have dates on your resume you need to add them. Now, let me clarify what is and is not considered job longevity.
As a general rule, any job that you have kept for two or more years could be considered an example of job longevity. What you want to have is at least one or two jobs that you have maintained for a good three to five years or longer. The longer, the better. This means that having had a history of stints for three months, six months or one year at a time is not the best route. Seeing this kind of job timeline might cue the employer to think you are a job hopper. The jury is still out on whether or not you should ever hire a job hopper, but having longevity tells an employer several things about you.
For one, longevity tells an employer that you make wise choices for yourself. You don’t just take any job without fully thinking through your predicted happiness or success with it. A person who hops around a lot can be perceived either as desperate or foolish. Your potential employer wants to trust you when you say you’re interested in their opportunity. If it seems as though you’ve been wrong before, since you look like a job hopper, who says you won’t be again? You may just up and leave their company too.
On that note, longevity reflects commitment. In reference to the previous point, longevity can show that even if you didn’t like a job, you are capable of making the best of a situation and sticking it out. Your potential employer wants someone who will stick around if the going gets tough. Sticking out a job once you’ve accepted it for the sake of commitment shows that.
Longevity can also show development. If you’re fortunate enough to work for an employer who believes in advancement within, you’ll want to list each job role underneath the one company name with a total date range at the top. For example, lets say you were a cashier for one year. Then you were promoted to department manager for two years, and then to store manager for three years at Company XYZ. You would list Company XYZ first with a total range i.e. 2000-2006 at the top. Then list Store Manager 2003-2006, Dept. Manager 2001-2003 and then Cashier 2000-2011 underneath so that it is clear you remained employed by ONE employer for six years thus avoiding any confusion that you may be a job hopper. Doing this will also ensure that your employer notices your development within the company!
Lastly, and more importantly, longevity reflects reliability and dependability. Think of people you know who can’t seem to hold a job- why is that? Typically, people lose their jobs consistently due to excessive absences or poor performance. If these problems are not an accurate reflection of your work ethic, don’t make a habit of letting temporary boredom or a tempting new offer lure you away from your jobs and damage your overall job longevity.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Both Sides of the Table