Recruiters Looking for Complete Job History

By Roy Maurer Apr 10, 2015

Over half (54 percent) of recruiters said they want to see a job candidate’s entire professional experience on his or her resume, contradicting the notion that employers are only focused on recent work history.

Another 20 percent of 150 recruiters surveyed by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. felt that up to 20 years of job history should be included, while 8 percent said they’d like to see up to 10 years. Eighteen percent of respondents answered “other.”

“The main reason to include all work history is that hiring authorities want to see a clear timeline of your professional experience,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Above all, job seekers need to include work history relevant to the jobs for which they are applying. Early or impertinent information should be included, but can be brief.”

The convention that a resume should be contained to a single page was also undone by the survey, in which none of the respondents agreed that resumes should be limited to one page.

The majority (63 percent), however, still felt that most people’s experience could be summed up in two pages. Fourteen percent said four pages should be the maximum, and 17 percent said the resume should be as long as necessary to list all of the candidate’s accomplishments. Six percent of respondents marked “other.”

On the matter of resume length, respondents indicated that most application tracking systems utilize keywords, thus making length a nonissue, according to Challenger.

Respondents were more evenly split on whether to include previous salary figures. Just over 50 percent felt it can be useful when matching candidates to positions. But 9 percent said including past salaries would price candidates out of positions, and 33 percent believed this information should never be included. Six percent responded “other.”

“Job applications typically ask for previous salary information anyway, so it was surprising to see that many recruiters do not want job seekers to include it on the resume. However, the question of salary will almost always come up, in either the initial phone screening or the in-person interview,” said Challenger.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said candidates should include their LinkedIn URL on their resumes. Twenty-three percent felt that including this was unnecessary, and one recruiter stated that the company and their clients “do not have time to read through them, and therefore, it would serve no purpose to include it.” Six percent responded “other.”

“The biggest takeaway from this survey was that job seekers need to have a clear, concise chronology of their professional lives highlighting relevant experiences and accomplishments. This timeline will give hiring authorities and recruiters a strong picture of exactly what kind of employee you will be.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy


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