Leveling Up Your Life

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You often hear people say, “I have 10+ years experience, I should be paid more.”

…But why should you be paid more?

What does experience amount to? “Experience” is defined as the skills and knowledge you have after doing something. We all seek experiences in multiple areas of our private and professional lives. Experience usually demonstrates what we’ve done and how we got there.

But honestly, 10+ years of experience could mean you have accomplished doing the same thing over and over…for ten years. Hear me out.

A lot of jobs place an experience minimum ( i.e. like 10+ years). A lot of job descriptions also look an awful lot like a laundry list of job experience, previous roles, mastered skills and programs, etc. “Years of experience” has certainly been the reason people have gotten hired. It is usually a huge shortcut that “qualifies” candidates for particular jobs.

And why not? Years of experience tends to equate to knowledge. If someone has been performing a role for 10+ years, they MUST be good at it. Anything to avoid a potential risk.

But does experience really equal success or the future value to your company?

For example, a person could say they have been an avid skier for 20 years. Should that automatically imply that person is qualified for the next Winter Olympics? Have they been successful as a skier? Do they have achievements, accomplishments, or have they taught others how to ski just as well? Just because you have been doing a job for many, many years, does not mean you are great at your job.

A student could graduate from school with a degree in engineering. This does not guarantee the student has learned – just that they had the opportunity to do so. Achieving, accomplishing, and learning are up to YOU. Experience entails you have had the chance to learn a lot. But does that actually mean you’ve learned anything during your time?

I’m not putting down people who have worked hard to get where they are in their careers. Experience IS important – just not at the expense of everything else within a candidate.  Having things happen TO you does not qualify as experience. Progression, value, and success are far stronger qualities, in my opinion.

I find it especially interesting that current hiring managers are so stuck on this value of experience, but clearly favor young employees over older workers. Why is that when most young professionals don’t have the 10+ years experience the role requires? It makes me scratch my head.

Your resume should not reflect you being a cog in the wheel. Value should be based on results. Someone could be doing a job for 10+ years, and someone with 1 year of experience could enter the office. The employee with 1 year of experience could add more value to the company in one month than the 10+ years employee. Experience does not always equal performance and capability within a role. Quality over quantity.

Would you rather hire someone GOOD at their job with exactly the qualifications you’re looking OR someone GREAT who might take a little while to learn some new things?

You decide. But for me – I would hire the latter in a second.