There’s nothing quite like the experience of seeking out a new career path. It can be exciting and scary, especially if you’ve been at your current job for long enough that you wonder if moving on is ideal or not. Drafting a proper resume, potentially writing a cover letter and submitting it, waiting on pins and needles to see if you’ll be contacted for an interview and then getting through said interview without turning your shirt into a sweat-soaked sponge… But life is nothing if not an adventure, and sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind.
It can also be exceptionally stressful, if the financial safety and well-being of your family depends on said change of career path. Obviously, unless you’re applying for some form of seasonal position, the holidays aren’t the best time to seek out a new job. But the timing of my post doesn’t necessarily coincide with actually seeking out a job; this is simply my soapbox and I intend to stand on it for a few moments.
Now, I’m no expert… No, wait! Yes, I am! I’ve worked most of my adult life being on both sides of the table and have been the interviewer and interviewee. I’ve dealt with the job-hunting environment on many different levels. In fact, if you happen to be job-hunting at the moment you can even check out some tips for interviewing that I provided last September in my post The Answer Is Only Important If You Ask The Right Question. And I can say with firm honesty that one of the most frustrating things to see on any job application, regardless of what side of the table you’re sitting on, is the phrase “previous experience required.”
This can be extremely frustrating because if you’re just starting out and trying to make a name for yourself, the safe bet is you won’t have a great deal of previous experience to provide. It’s like the chicken and the egg; employers want previous experience, but you can’t accumulate that experience until someone hires you and you start working. It can be just as frustrating for an experienced employee, and this is the aspect I’m focusing on today.
So, here’s the scenario: you choose your desired career path. Maybe this requires some training or perhaps you need to obtain some post-secondary education in order to get the job you’re looking for. For the sake of argument, we’ll say that you successfully get that job. For years, you pour your heart and soul into your career, advancing early, networking and making contacts and gathering additional training that makes you even better at the various positions within your organization.
Sounds good, right? Now, let’s assume that you’ve been doing this job for well over a decade and either you start having issues on the job that you can’t accommodate or you simply feel that there’s no longer any growth for you in your current job. You start to look for work in your field, but despite that decade or more of experience, you’re still asked to undergo the same extensive recruitment processes that someone green without experience would be expected to.
This begs the question: what good is having previous experience if potential employers ignore and simply make you jump through ALL the hoops anyway? And should employers be permitted to REQUIRE previous experience if preferential or streamlined recruitment processes aren’t used? I’m doing something different on this post, in that I’d like to hear from you. I’ve included a poll in the next paragraph and if my readers could take the time to answer the question or provide their thoughts in the comments, that’d be great.
There it is! I’ll step off my soapbox and let y’all get on with your day. If you’re out in the job market, best of luck to you. It’s been made all the more difficult to navigate with quarantine measures in place, and I totally feel for anyone actively hunting for a new job right now. Be safe and best of luck. ☯