For those of you old enough to remember, there was a Smith Barney commercial in the 80s featuring the actor John Houseman that said, “We make money the old-fashioned way – we earn it.”

While the 80s were wrong-minded in so many ways (leg-warmers and Steve Guttenberg, anyone?), the times did tout working hard as a means to achieving one’s professional goals.

Flash-forward to the “00s” or “Aughts” or whatever you want to deem the last decade. Of late, we’ve encountered quite a few young souls who thought it was perfectly acceptable to ask for a raise or promotion for personal reasons, not because they had earned it by working hard, taking on more responsibility, exceeding expectations or being a true asset to their company, boss, coworkers or clients. Instead, they believed themselves deserving of more money or recognition at work because they were, for example, facing a rent hike; feeling frustrated or ashamed that friends of the same age had reached a higher rung at work; believing that he/she should receive more than the cost-of-living increase everyone at the company was getting (but giving no concrete explanation as to why they deserved more), and — our favorite — it was embarrassing for his/her parents that their golden child hadn’t yet been promoted.

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It’s not news that workers today feel the need to jump around to get the money, experience or accolades they desire (and feel that they deserve). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median years a person stays in one job is 4.1 years (2008) and an average person will have to have 7-10 jobs over their careers.

Given that today’s workplace narrative has shifted from a loyalty tale to one where varied experience is king, your resume should be crafted to reflect who you are and where you want to go.  And, perhaps more importantly, when you walk into an interview, knowing how to share your resume story will be crucial to locking in any new opportunity.

Do you flit or sit?

FLIT: If you’re a “Butterfly” (i.e. candidates that have a long list of positions on their resume, each held for only a year or two), it begs the question: If the candidate is hired and the time (and money!) is spent on training, will he/she stick around long enough to make it worthwhile for the company?

SIT: On the flip side, maybe you’re more like a “Beagle” — someone who has been at the same company for years, who has demonstrated loyalty and dedication.   The one watch out: You may be seen as set in your ways or not as tapped into what’s happen in the current marketplace.

Whoever you are, when walking into a job interview, you should be prepared with a strong story about why you did/did not make the jumps:

  • Have you stuck it out at your company for a long time? Talk about qualities like loyalty and commitment and the opportunities that have been offered to you.  Come ready to share stories about your various victories and accolades earned.
  • Do you move around every few years? Focus on sharing the evolution of your experience and what that varied background can add to a potential employer.  Underscore your interest in finding a place to learn and grow for a while.
  • Are there gaps in your work experience?  It’s not unusual in today’s economy to have some gaps.  Maybe there were layoffs or shifts in directions that created the need to separate from your employer.   No worries, just make sure you’re prepared to talk about alternative experience (e.g. volunteering, school, externships) and that you can explain simply/easily why you and the companies in question parted ways.

Tell us, do you relate more to the butterfly or beagle?  What’s the story that you’ll tell to a potential employer about your work experiences?   Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter (@bestpublicist).