Hiring managers and head hunters see resumes day in and day out. Their purpose is to determine which job applicants are best suited to take on roles within companies around the world. Head hunters are uniquely qualified to point out what works and what does not work in a resume.
Depending on the position being sought, the company doing the hiring and the economic climate at the time of hiring, resumes can look more appealing from one angle than from another. There is no golden rule about what inclusions on a resume will guarantee a job applicant the job. Yet there is one thing that head hunters and hiring managers can agree on regardless of the job being hired for or the company doing the hiring. According to Fortune magazine, on any and all resumes, it is “critical that job applicants show progression in their career” (Benjamin, 2015, p. 1).
This means that the age-old tale of staying in a job for fifteen years to show that you have “staying power” is not as important as your father’s generation thought it was. Companies today understand that individuals want to learn what jobs suit them just as much as businesses want to hire employees that suit the company. Head hunters and hiring managers understand this fact as well. A senior executive should have the wherewithal to know what steps will make the most sense in his own career. Head hunters understand that the resume of such an individual would reflect this. This resume may include gaps in career where an independent business venture was starting up. It may show a break in employment for time spent abroad volunteering.
Gone are the days of hiring employees to be loyal to a company until the day they retire. Hiring managers understand that businesses today change faster than ever before. Head hunters know that businesses need to remain flexible in order to be competitive in the marketplace. Hiring managers know that bringing on senior level executives who have taken changes with their own careers, means they will be bringing on staff with confidence in their own abilities and vision. Hiring managers know that a resume needs to actively reflect the authentic life that a job applicant has lived. However, a resume also needs to lay out the gains achieved in living that authentic life.
A job applicant that has lived an exciting life but boasts a career of waiting tables at different restaurants in different countries for fifteen years is not going to have the leadership potential that head hunters look for. Companies do not want employees who are happy continuing the status quo. This is why head hunters look for those world travelers who moved from waiting tables in one country to being the head waiter in another country. Progression is key because career progression shows career enthusiasm.
Regardless of the reasons there are holes on a resume, progression will encourage any head hunter or hiring manager to bring in that applicant for an interview. As long as the jobs after resume gaps are higher caliber jobs than those positions before resume gaps, applicants stand a chance. This desire for career progression in applicants comes from wanting to bring people into companies that will benefit the company. Hiring managers know this which is why reflecting career progression in a resume is so important.
Benjamin, Ambra. (2015). What do recruiters look for in a resume? Fortune. Retrieved from