When sending in a job application, your resume, of course, says a lot about you.
Aside from the obvious – such as your education, your skillset, and your accomplishments – your resume also provides valuable information to your prospective employers in terms of what they can expect should they decide to hire you.
While there are a number of things you can do to use your resume to present yourself in a positive light, you also want to take stock of what your employment history says about you – both in qualitative and quantitative terms.
Let’s explain what we mean in a bit more detail.
What Does Your Employment History Say About You?
While, for the most part, we often think of a resume as an individual’s documented work history, these documents definitely show much more than that.
For employers, a candidate’s resume doesn’t just show that they’ve worked in certain positions for certain periods of time – it also provides insight as to what that says about the person as a professional.
Are You Worth the Investment?
As an employee candidate, you might think that having a long list of jobs recorded in your employment history is, in itself, a good thing.
For employers, this may be a red flag that you are a “flight risk,” so to speak, in that you aren’t exactly likely to stick around, and may move on the second a better opportunity comes about. In other words, it simply might not make sense for the company to invest the time, money, and energy it costs into onboarding you, since there’s no guarantee that you’ll become a long-term employee.
Similarly, if you show a record of holding multiple jobs at one time, this might be a sign that you tend to spread yourself too thin. Prospective employers might see this as a sign that you’ll easily burn yourself out, equating to a lack of productivity in the long run.
In such cases, your ambition, unfortunately, doesn’t exactly seem all that appealing to your potential employers. This being the case, you may want to only include the most pertinent positions within your resume, and skip over the part-time jobs you held at the same time.
Are You Responsible?
Most everyone resigns from a position at least a few times in their life (and probably even more).
While, again, the average length of a given term of employment plays a role in your prospective employer’s decision to hire you, employers also take note of what happened directly after you left a given position.
Simply put: they’re looking for whether or not you had something lined up before leaving your original job. While being dismissed from a job is one thing (which, of course, prospective employers will certainly take into account), it’s another thing to voluntarily leave a job without preparing for your future.
To employers, this may be a sign that you don’t think ahead, act impulsively, and/or simply don’t care about anything but the “here and now.” Needless to say, this isn’t a good look for you as a potential employee.
Are You Employable?
Okay, obviously your resume is meant to prove that you’re employable.
But your prospective employer is definitely going to go beyond what your resume says on paper, and delve into what everything you’ve presented actually means.
Perhaps the most common example is as follows:
Say a given candidate’s resume is complete with a wide variety of skills, abilities, and experiences. While it certainly looks great, there’s a major problem: the candidate doesn’t list their previous employers – or even previous colleagues – as references (instead, they list personal acquaintances). In other words, they don’t want you speaking to their previous employers. Obviously, there’s a reason for this – and it probably isn’t a good thing.
The best course of action, then, is to only include career-related experiences that are not only 100% truthful, but that can be confirmed by an impartial third party. Including information that doesn’t fit these criteria is a surefire way to get your resume tossed in the “no thank you” pile.
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