Lack of experience is not necessarily a stumbling block

Don't be held back by a lack of experience. All things considered, in the end what employers mostly desire is competence, says Kerry Damons of Boston City Campus and Business College.
"When prospective employers or recruitment agencies advertise a position, they usually indicate that they will only consider applicants that have a certain number of years experience," she explains. "The reason they specify years of experience required is because they believe that is how long it would take for someone to develop the necessary know-how, or competence, to do the job they are advertising."

Generally, one can read two years experience as being basic level of competence while 10 years experience indicates that a high level of expertise is required. But, Damons points out, to generalise is dangerous and misunderstandings occasionally creep up when translating experience into competence.

"Experience means that you have done a certain type of job for certain period of time while competence refers to how well you can do that specific kind of job," she says. "It is up to you as the job seeker, to clearly show what your level of competence is and that you have what it takes to do the job you're applying for."

Your CV must show that you have developed the level of competence required by the job advertised. The bonus is that if you are able to show that you have reached a level of competence in less time than is the norm, you will be seen as an above average worker.

Note that part-time or volunteer work also counts as experience - you are bound to have gained some skills doing such work and at the very least you will have worked with a diverse group of people and learned how to deal with customers efficiently.

31 Jan 2012 12:28