Employment history has been a long standing requirement in regards to applying for a job and being taken seriously for the position that you are applying for. It tells the recruiter or hiring manager what you have done, for how long, and with what organization, all in the hopes of assisting them determine, just initially looking at your application or resume, whether or not you meet the minimum requirements of the position.
What Employment History Tells us
However, employment history usually also tells us a little more in way of longevity. How likely is this candidate going to work for me over “x” duration of time based on their longevity with previous employers? Many recruiters look at longevity as a crucial component of whether or not they want to consider someone – heck, I couldn’t agree more. Who wants to employ someone who has had fifteen jobs in a matter of a year? I surely would not.
Yet I am starting to see a shift in the workforce when it comes to employment history. Yes, you can still find those people who have a decent track record of employment history (i.e., four years at this organization, three years here, etc.), but what is becoming increasingly alarming is the number of people – across all generational groups – with sporadic, broken employment history. Why is this?
There are a couple of reasons I have seen the uptick in sporadic, broken employment history:
- Economy – the economy has not been nice to workers over the past four to five years. Therefore, it is understandable if layoffs have impacted someone’s work history
- Choice – more and more people are making the choice to leave their employers – pay sucks, boss mean, etc. However, many have made the choice time and time again without any real duration of employment at an organization
The latter of these two – choice – is what I am concerned with. It is important for you to be happy in what you do and where you work, but having a new job every nine months tells me part of it might be you. Even more concerning is a lot of the people I see with the many changes in jobs are industry colleagues (i.e., recruiters, HR generalists, etc.). And HR is typically the first group to condemn a candidate for poor employment history.
As I see it, it is time for us to take a look in the mirror.
Give it Some Thought
I know Generation Y has changed the workforce in way if they are not happy, they will talk with their feet. But have we ever given it some thought that eventually there won’t be a job for them to go to – the options run out. And unfortunately, it is proving true day in and day out in today’s economy.
With any relationship, it requires some give and take. The work relationship is no different. Sure there are going to be situations where the boss makes us unhappy or we do not get our way on a project, but is this a reason to quit your job every six to nine months? No, it is not.
Instead, take these opportunities you face in the workplace and grow your skill sets. Make yourself a stronger player in the mix. Work with a mentor to get some perspective. Take charge of your development and growth versus always walking way. Keeping in mind, all this takes some time – nothing will happen overnight.
To get some reflection on your employment history, take a look at your resume? Would you initially consider you for a position simply based on your employment history? If your answer is no, then let’s work on that!
Article by Chris Ponder
Chris Ponder II is a human resources professional who has harnessed his human resources knowledge and experience across the casino, retail, and service industries, while pushing the extreme in: talent acquisition, employee engagement, training and development, human resources information systems, employee relations, process development and redesign, performance improvement, project management, and human resources analytics. Chris shares his knowledge and experiences at his contributor blog, Performance I Create. You can also follow him on Twitter at @ChrisPonder.
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