Job Seeker “Employment Date Codes” | Personal Branding Blog - Stand Out In Your Career


  • Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Job Seeker “Employment Date Codes”

    I like milk. For my entire life I have purchased it based upon the date code on the carton. The assumption is that the later the date code, the fresher the milk. You have date codes, too. Few people talk about them, but they can have major effects on your employability. Let me explain what I mean….

    I had two lunches last week with two different recruiters. Both mentioned “employment date coding.” They just didn’t call it by that name. Why? Because the term employment date coding is a shorthand phrase I invented to describe one or more time stamps that many recruiters and hiring managers assign to job seekers. This may be the only article you ever read on this important concept, so I encourage you to read it thoroughly.

    What is an employment date code? It is a date derived from your employment history. Let me explain.

    Whether you are currently employed or unemployed, your employment date codes are on your resume. A recruiter or hiring manager can thus determine how long you have been at your current job, how long you were at your previous jobs, and the number of jobs you have had in the past five to ten years. In addition, if you are unemployed then they may also want to know your unemployed date code — when you left your last job.

    Managing your date codes properly will positively affect your overall brand and your employability. One of the recruiters I met volunteered that he will only consider job seekers who (1) have a “clean” job history, (2) are currently employed, and (3) can demonstrate quantified results that justify their experience. His first two criteria are related to date coding! When I asked what he meant by a clean job history, he said that he expects the person to have no more than two jobs in the past five years and no more than four in the last ten years. Obviously, since he wants only employed job seekers, he is looking for people whose unemployment date code is “not applicable.”

    Your brand is strongest and you are most employable when you have created a reasonably stable work history and are currently employed. But, of course, many people have had employment turbulence due to the major business downturns in the U.S. recessions of 2000/2001 and 2008/2009 as well as certain industry sector consolidations. This topic is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!) titled Career Satisfaction.

    What can you do if you have changed jobs several times in the past five or ten years? The most obvious solution is to stay with your current employer three or more years, to demonstrated longevity. If you are unemployed, then this may be a good goal in choosing your next employer. Find the best place you can where you feel you can stay for a while.

    If you are currently unemployed, some additional clarification is needed. Your dates of past employment that are shown on your resume are fixed. You may be able to get somewhat “creative” in how you present them, which could reduce downside effects. (This is a topic for another post) Your date when you left your last job and became unemployed is fixed, too. However, there is more to it than that….

    And here is where my milk story becomes more relevant. If you are unemployed, no one will tell you but you need to hear it from me: You are like a carton of milk. Although you do not have a literal expiration date, each month that passes will tend to make you appear more questionable as a candidate. And after six months or so, some people may consider you “expired” as a job candidate. For these reasons, it is important that you not take the first few months of your job search too casually. Even if you have considerable financial resources, dragging out your job search is likely to reduce your marketability. ”I decided to take a few months off” or “It’s a tough job market” are likely to fall on deaf ears.

    Here is my one sentence synopsis: Manage your career to demonstrate longevity with past employers, try to conduct your job searches when employed, and get moving quickly when unemployed to avoid reductions in your marketability.

    What do you think? Can you find a way to utilize this information to motivate yourself and succeed faster?

    Author:

    Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).

    avatar

    Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Following his successful job changes between employers as well as profession changes from engineering to HR to Marketing to Sales, he founded his career consulting practice. During the last 12 years, Richard has coached hundreds of executives and professionals to get the careers they deserve. Richard's coaching information site is www.executive-impact.com and his eBook is available at amazon.com and through iTunes. He is a Board Certified Coach (BCC) in career coaching and an ISO-recognized Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

    Tagged with: , , ,
    Posted in Career Development, Job Search, Personal Branding, Success Strategies
    Promote Yourself Newsletter
    Sign Up & Download For Free:
    10 Personal Branding Secrets You've Never Heard Before
    3 comments on “Job Seeker “Employment Date Codes”
    1. avatar
      EXPERT

      What do they do in the supermarket? They turn the milk cartons around so that the exp. date cannot be seen. And they stack the cartons so tightly that it’s difficult to see any dates. And they place the soon-to-expire milk conveniently in front of the shopper.

      What can we learn from this example?

      While date codes cannot be changed, the way of presentation can be adjusted to overcome a disadvantage. There is good advice on the Web about how to handle gaps and a series of short jobs when writing a resume. Whether it occurred yesterday or two years ago, anyone losing a job is facing a serious disadvantage, because recruiters are not paid a lot of money to find unemployed people. But there is a way out, following the advice of a retained executive recruiter: Create for yourself a consulting vehicle with a name not found on the Web. As long as there is not significant activity and liability not an issue (W2 consulting), incorporation is optional. And how can you overcome the disadvantage of consulting when looking for a full-time position? Atop the resume, create a strong profile summary that shows how you can meet and exceed an employer’s needs.

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      Richard Kirby says:

      Dietmar,
      Thank you for your comments and suggestions. They are excellent! I agree completely that creating a “consulting vehicle” and doing some demonstrable consulting work (even if pro bono) can help fill the gap between your last job and your next one. When an unemployed person is asked “What have you been doing with yourself since you left XYZ Corp?”, describing your consulting project(s) is a much better response than the default of “I have been looking for a job.”

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      Richard Kirby says:

      If you are in Australia, I can’t comment on the employment market there. In the U.S., it is fine to stay at one company for a long time as long as you are getting the income, opportunity, work/life balance, or other things you want from your job. The problem most people have is that the longer they stay at a company the more “stuck” they get, not getting what they want.

    1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Job Seeker “Employment Date Codes”"
    1. [...] than four in the last 10 years.” (Apparently, recruiters and hiring managers assign a sort of “employment date code” to job seekers’ employment [...]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    Content Partners
    As Seen In