The Most Popular Misconception About Work Experience

Most people misunderstand work experience. Or better said, they take it for what it is not. Honestly, I did, too, for many years. I will elaborate.   

Imagine you are recruiting for a project and need to select from two resumes. Applicant 1 has five years of experience versus Applicant 2 who has 15 years in the field. Who should you hire?

Let’s hope you did not choose the person with 15 years of experience. Why? If you did, you just made the mistake that most hiring managers make. This is the kind of miscalculation that hurts both companies and talented professionals and eventually leads to stagnation across the board.

The assumption that a candidate with 15 years of work experience is more qualified or has more expertise than the one with five years of experience is misleading at best. Indeed, 15 years of experience looks good on paper. But in reality, it might also mean that the person has followed the same routine over and over again for 15 years without making adjustments and changes.

Simply put, years of experience don’t always equate with expertise and mastery. In other words, experience and expertise are not the same.

Fifteen years of experience might mean working for fifteen years without seeking to sharpen and increase one’s knowledge and skills. Whereas a professional with five years of experience might have worked intentionally and consistently to innovate, expand her knowledge and improve her performance and abilities

Work experience is not expertise

For example, having 35 years of driving experience does not qualify you to chauffer the U.S. President. “Why not?” you ask.

POTUS’s chauffeur is an expert driver. People who drive for a President specialize in driving around dignitaries and their high-level security, and they have worked continuously to keep their skills as sharp as a razor

Allow me to ask: are you gaining work experience or building expertise?  

Have questions about how to build expertise? Shoot the CBL Team an email and check out our book: Creating Winning Career Systems.

PS: A few posts that you might have missed:

The coach
Coach Teddy Edouard is a lifelong learner, public speaker, writer, blogger and vlogger. He is the founder of Coaching for Better Learning, where he helps people and institutions build systems that lead to lasting improvement, growth, and success. He also teaches professionals how to protect their careers and use artificial intelligence (AI) as a career improvement ally.

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