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I’m relatively early on in my career, and as such have worked for two companies. A very approximate example of what roles I’ve had is:

  • 2010-2013 Apple Company B
  • 2009-2010 Senior Banana Company A
  • 2008-2009 Banana Company A
  • 2007-2008 Junior Banana Company A

And I currently on my CV only show 2 roles, namely of Apple (2010-2013) and Senior Banana (2007-2010) as I originally felt that showing four roles might get too cluttered. The questions around this I have are

  1. If I put a job title and length of service, will prospective employers assume I have done that role for the whole period? And if so should I make it clear that I wasn’t always a Senior Banana in Company A?

  2. If I put in specific promotions, will this devalue the current title? My concern around putting all roles in is that if I switch industry / sector it might make the seniority of the last title seem less important.

I found this related question, but felt this didn’t extent to address the scope of my specific questions.

Edit to include more detail:

Each level of Banana had different responsibilities - i.e. Junior Banana was help with XXX, Banana was be primary / lead contact for XXX, Senior was run / get new clients for XXX. Promotion for each title is kind of expected on an annual basis within the industry.

I'm actually interested in being an Orange, and as such that industry might not know how a banana's career progression would typically change.

I'm unsure if this is relevant, but contemporaries / friends I know who also worked as a Junior / Senior Banana have grouped all three titles into one as I have tended to in the past - could this be an industry specific trend? [I am aware this this may not be answerable!]

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9  
"senior banana", that made me laugh :) –  Fredrik Jan 8 '13 at 12:30
1  
+1 for senior banana :) –  Michael Jan 8 '13 at 14:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If I put a job title and length of service, will prospective employers assume I have done that role for the whole period?

Yes, they will. A role against a period would indicate that you have done that role throughout the period.

And if so should I make it clear that I wasn’t always a Senior Banana in Company A?

Yes, you should. The thing to do is split the period into the different roles and how long you were doing each.

If I put in specific promotions, will this devalue the current title?

No, of course not. The opposite is true - you got promoted within the company, that shows that you have what it takes, that others valued you enough to promote you (and probably over others in the same position).

In fact, this is something to highlight.

2010-2013 Apple   Company B
  details of role and responsibilities

2009-2010 Promoted to Senior Banana - Company A    
  details of role and responsibilities

2008-2009 Promoted to Banana - Company A
  details of role and responsibilities

2007-2008 Junior Banana - Company A
  details of role and responsibilities

Alternatively:

Company B - 2010-2013:
-----------------------
2010-2013 Apple
  details of role and responsibilities

Company A - 2007-2010:
----------------------
2009-2010 Promoted to Senior Banana
  details of role and responsibilities

2008-2009 Promoted to Banana
  details of role and responsibilities

2007-2008 Junior Banana 
  details of role and responsibilities
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There are a couple of different issues here.

First, are you planning to go on being an Apple or a Banana? If an Apple, I would be inclined to list Banana, with no particular prefix, for the full period of your first employment. The reason for this is that I want to focus their minds on the latest employment.

This might change if being a Banana specifically helped me become an Apple.

Second question you have to ask yourself is, did your roles and responsibilities change with the promotions? If so then there is more advantage to showing all three roles, each with specifics as to what I'd achieved in each role.

However, if the promotions were largely arbitrary (I had three promotions in my first job because it was the only way they could convince their bosses to give me more money, but I was never TRULY a senior anything), I would pick a single title and go into detail as to what I achieved at the company as a whole.

I will tell you that I've trashe- err, filed CVs where a candidate has overvalued their real position -- eg. claimed to be a Senior Orange, after one year of experience, but never showed any indication of mentoring a single Junior Orange, or anything else that I would consider a Senior responsibility. So think hard about it.

In the end, you have to ask yourself what message you want to convey, then figure out how to convey it most efficiently. That's the challenge in writing a CV.

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I would go so far as to say that people thinking you've done one role for [x] years is absolutely terrible if that's not the case. Promotions and advancement are regarded as positives, they show you're not just drifting along, that you rise to challenges and that you seek to better yourself.

It becomes a bit grey if the changes are sideways (Or even worse, downwards), but ultimately, you should treat every single role / promotion as a new job and list it as such. e.g:

Oranges Inc, Senior Developer (Seattle, 2010 - 2013)

Accomplishments etc here

Banana Inc, Senior Developer (New York, 2009 - 2010)

Accomplishments etc here

Banana Inc, Development Engineer (New York, 2008 - 2009)

Accomplishments etc here

Banana Inc, Junior Developer (New York, 2007 - 2008)

Accomplishments etc here

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, in my personal case, one of the jobs which I list on my CV (And make a point of, too, as it was the sort of role I wanted) was actually a 6 month secondment. If it had been unimportant I may have rolled it into my 'day job' but I wanted to highlight it, so listed it separately.

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2  
Do not write roles and responsibilities. You should put in accomplishments. I will put a much lower priority on hiring someone who presents himself in terms of what he was responsible for rather than what he did. It just doesn't impress a hiring manager. –  HLGEM Jan 8 '13 at 14:52
1  
@HLGEM Actually, I completely agree. Bad wording on my part. –  Dan Jan 8 '13 at 15:15

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