Yes, you read the headline correctly. Years of experience do not get people hired. Why? Because experience does not equal success or future value. For example, I can claim 30+ years experience as a runner. Does that make me a candidate for the next Olympics? Could I be a track coach? Am I even a good runner? No. Just because I have been doing something for a long time does not mean I am good at it.
Which is more impressive:
30+ years experience running on asphalt, concrete, turf and trails in varying weather conditions ranging from sun to rain to snow.
Marathon runner, completing 22 marathons with an average time of less than 3 hours each. Leader of running team raising money for cancer patients. Led 19 individuals through a total of 83 races, increasing speed of average runner by 18% and raising more than $10,000 for charity.
Extensive experience presented without achievements and progressive successes may imply you just did the same thing over and over again without growth or improvement. It may also imply you’ve been doing things the same way for 30 years. Long and deep experience must show progression, increasing achievements and continual evolution if it is to be an asset in a job search.
Frustrated job seekers, especially older workers, often say “It seems like my years of experience don’t mean much.” They’re right, when you don’t present your experience in a way that matters to potential employers. Make your experience count by sifting through it and highlighting the quantifiable achievements as a demonstration of what you can do for your next employer.
Look over your resume. Does it shout “Years of doing tasks” or does it shout “Achiever with proven ability to solve problems and create value”?
Coming up, we will talk about the opposite problem: What to do when a job posting requires a minimum number of years of experience in certain skills.