"What sets me apart is that I've been in the same position for 12 years and with the same company for 23 years."
Yes, that kind of longevity is certainly a big differentiator and, as I wrote a while back, potentially attractive to some employers. However, in the rapidly shifting employment landscape, what was once looked at as the hallmark of a great employee is now – by many – side-eyed with some skepticism. If that sounds crazy to you, let me provide some insight into the negative perceptions that are associated with longevity and tips for how to overcome those potential perceptions:
The candidate is unambitious – The easiest way to combat this especially negative perception is to highlight a track record of taking on new challenges. Make sure to clearly outline ways in which you’ve expanded or stepped outside of your role. Speak to specific projects you’ve taken on or responsibilities you’ve assumed. Most critically, highlight clear, quantified achievements.
The candidate lacks agility – Unlike candidates with several positions within multiple organizations, agility isn’t implied by your professional timeline. In this case, make sure to speak to overcoming obstacles in your role. Use your achievements to speak to managing transitions and, perhaps, adopting to new technologies. Speak to instances of adapting to a changing organization or industry.
The candidate's skills are stagnant – This is a perception that is fairly easy to combat, but no less critical to be mindful of. In addition to highlighting achievements that show clear growth in the role, make sure your resume is clearly outlining recent and relevant training. Show professional affiliations and, even higher impact, thought leadership through professional social media profiles.
The good news is that longevity still translates to “loyalty” in the minds of many readers, which will certainly set you apart. But times and perceptions are changing. Knowing the potentially negative way readers can view longevity means you can manage perceptions while highlighting a quality that is increasingly rare.