Friday, April 3, 2015

is experience overrated?

Have you ever applied for a job that you thought you could do only to be told that you didn’t have enough experience?

I have and it is frustrating.

It is especially frustrating if you know that you could do the job perfectly well or quickly pick up the skills required if you were trained and allowed to learn on the job.

How are you supposed to get experience without someone giving you a foot in the door?
How can employers expect applicants to come ready formed and knowing everything about that particular job, industry or sector?  

This is especially unfair but is sadly a sign of the times.

Everything has become the responsibility of the employee and this education and training. If you want to do a course to pick up skills to advance at work, most of the time you’ll have to pay for it and do it in your own time.    

The employer doesn’t want the responsibility to train people up or give them a sustainable livelihood. It is all about them and their bottom line.

We all know that there are so many things and many parts of every job that you can’t learn in the classroom but somehow you’re expected to get experience to complement your education. It is as if you are expected to walk into a job post graduation knowing how to do everything.    

In my humble experience, they are unwilling to acknowledge the skills that you’ve picked up doing volunteer work or extracurricular activities at university can be used in paid employment.

Participating in Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Young Achievement Australia, or leadership of student clubs and other such voluntary programmes have no value because apparently, the skills you pick up cannot be transferred elsewhere. Internships (either in Australia or abroad) are meaningless because they are not paid despite the fact that you’ve used and developed many skills in the process.

Once a university degree and other such activities were signs that you were motivated, disciplined, willing to contribute as well as keen and able to learn but now they are meaningless.      
They don’t want to put effort into someone’s development and are hell bent on picking people who fit in their tiny mould. So if you haven’t had the same background as the mainstream person, good luck to you.

I guess it is human nature for recruiters to hire people who are like them and who they connect with but with all this rhetoric of diversity, you would think that they would make the effort to hire different kinds of people.    

My advice to employers would be to start to appreciate the different ways in which people have learnt many skills, they might not have learnt them while working but it doesn’t mean that they are less valuable or aren’t transferable to paid employment.

They need take more responsibility to teach people the specific competence that they need to do a job because how else are they going to learn?

My last piece of advice would be to be more aware of prejudice and give someone ago. You might be surprised!

1 comment:

  1. really thought provoking post, and i love the humor thrown in!


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