A decade of recruitment in the Food & Beverage industry qualifies me to say that if you have less than a year maybe two of employment at one company–employers see a red flag.
Work experience and education are what employers focus on. You might have a full check list, meeting all the requirements but when an employer is looking at your resume, they also look for red flags.
Short Employment = Red Flag!
Resumes with red flags go to the bottom of the pile (or straight into the recycle).
That’s not to say that you might not get a chance to fight for your life. If there’s enough substance to your resume you might still get an interview, but are you ready to explain the ‘red flags’?
The first question I ask if I see that someone has worked somewhere less than a year is;
Why did you and your employer part ways?
I phrase it like that because it could have been by choice, or it could have been the employers decision. Either way, I listen with an open mind.
Without going deeper into why people leave companies or why companies leave people, the message I want to make abundantly clear at this point is, have your explanation ready. Make sure you are telling the truth (good or bad) because your reputation and integrity depend on it.
I would also add that speaking badly about a current or ex-employer (deserved or not) is never advisable.
The Gig Economy and Millennials
In today’s society particularly with regards to work and the work force (millennial generation) we see a lot of information ranging from how employers can attract young people to what the millennial generation are looking for.
The Gig Economy is said to be rising in 2017, due to that fact that it seems particularly attractive to millennials who make work-life balance a priority and who will change jobs and careers according to researchers many times during their lives.
The long term issue I see is that it legitimises the act of leaving a company to move to the next ‘gig’. If you are a consultant working for yourself that’s one thing, but if you are a full-time employee I firmly believe this approach will only hurt you, derailing your career goals not supporting them.
What Do Employers Want?
It takes at least 6 months to settle in. What does that really mean? Well I would argue that at the 6 month to 1 year mark you stop feeling like the ‘new guy’. You start to understand your role, how your role interacts with others (people and departments) you might just be scratching the surface of the company culture. So, how much depth, knowledge and commitment have you been able to demonstrate, I would say….not much.
In my experience, depth and knowledge of a position are the fundamentals to qualify you to take the next step. How can you possibly take the next step, ask for more, demand a change if you move on? Employers want to see depth of knowledge, enthusiasm, passion and above all commitment. Not just your previous employer, but the one you hope to be your next!
From the outside looking in, the Food Industry moves very slowly. An organization may develop 1 – 5 new products a year and company growth on average is at 5-10%. Much slower growth compared to other industries. Yet, on the inside the industry requires resourceful, entrepreneurial people who are able to multi-task and move very quickly.
Job Hopping is a Great Idea (at the same company!)
Gain real depth and knowledge in your position.
After you have shown commitment to your role, job hopping is a great idea, but do it within the same company if you can.
Ask another department for a project to work on, create opportunities for growth. If you demonstrate that you are employed to do A and B and never open your eyes to C, D and E, you might never get the chance to explore those areas.
Working in a silo is detrimental to your personal career growth. The Food & Beverage industry in particular needs people who crave depth and knowledge–across multiple departments–purely because of its complex nature.
The people that asked for more, crossed departments and took on projects that weren’t part of their ‘job description’ are the Operations Directors, R&D Leaders and Global QA Specialists etc. that you aim to become.
Skill Development, Career Advancement and Change
I left because I wanted training and development, but my company would not send me or pay for me…
I hear this a lot. I do not dispute that skill development and training is motivating and it gives employers the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty and commitment in return to their employees. The reality is that employers are much more lightly to invest in you if you have proven that you are invested in them, and this takes a lot longer than 1 year of service.
If you have taken on more responsibility (without expecting a pay rise after 6 months) and shown an interest in other departments (therefore broadening your knowledge base of both the company and the industry) then you are in control of career. You are developing your skills, positioning yourself for career advancement and each project provides ‘change’ that you might be craving.
You don’t have to leave the company, creating a ‘Red Flag’ later on.
Be in the Driving Seat of Your Career
You might have ‘Red Flags’ on your resume. Sometimes they are through no fault of your own and beyond your control–$h#t happens. HR Managers, recruiters, we’ve seen it all! Transparency and honesty is always the best policy because in time the truth always reveals itself.
If it is time to make a move, make a move.
Put yourself in the position to be able to talk about your role, your successes and challenges, the extra projects you asked for and were given (over and above your role) so that you could broaden your knowledge of the company and the industry as a whole.
Put yourself in the position to be able to explain why you wanted to broaden your knowledge base. For example;
I knew if I wanted to be a QA Manager I needed to have experience in all the roles that would one day be reporting to me. This would qualify me to make the best, most informed decisions (as the leader of the QA team and my company) based on the depth of knowledge I have”
I promise, you will reach your career goals as long as you have a plan. Don’t expect a company or anyone else to do it for you. Be in the driving seat of your own career.
As a recruiter/employer what are your views on ‘Job Hopping’? What advice do you have for those who are early in their career? Do you disagree and think that change = more opportunity/money? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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