Q&A: Experience Does Not Match Jobs

Juil Yoon

Here is a comment from an adult going back to school to qualify for jobs. It was originally posted on the DeniseMpls Facebook page.

It is very discouraging when you are forced into unpaid internships and low-paying jobs just so you can gain exposure to your chosen field. Even “entry-level jobs” demand 3-5 years of experience in that field. It seems a bit discouraging to have years of experience but not considered for new higher paying jobs.

I understand your frustration. It is difficult for anyone, especially someone who has been in the work world for several years, to feel like they have to “start over.” However, you likely have many transferable skills – skills that will give you a head start in a new career area.

Many job seekers benefit from going back to school or getting job training, but that doesn’t mean that they have no qualifications. Your first job in your new career area might not be at the same level as in your previous field, but you can move up quickly as you gain experience and network in the new area.

You can find out how the skills you gained from past jobs match other occupations with mySkills myFuture.

Are you looking for work in an area that is very different from your previous work? The more closely related your new career path is to your previous experience, the more likely you are to have skills that the new group of employers need.

For example, a restaurant chef with 10 years’ experience probably would not get hired in a high-level medical position, but they might qualify for a mid-level position working in hotel or other business related to the restaurant industry.

Remember these two things when job searching:

  1. Employers want to hire a person with the right set of technical skills (related to that career), and the right personality traits or soft skills.
  2. You have to present your skills so that the employer knows how hiring you can help their business.

Think about what you have to offer an employer. Then, be proactive in how you present yourself in networking situations, on your resume, in social media, and in job interviews. Be clear about your new #CareerID. 

When you view yourself as a qualified professional and not someone “asking permission” to enter a career area, employers will take notice and want to work with you.

Also pay attention to the economy and the job market. When its a tough economy, employers ask for candidates with several years of experience to apply for entry-level positions because they know they can find someone for the job. It might not seem fair, but those positions can be a foot-in-the-door for you at a good company.

Most people who changes careers feels like they are starting at a lower level than where they were. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn, make connections in your new career area, and discover how this new career fits your values, passions and goals. You will likely move into higher positions quickly. 

Keep looking up,

Also from DeniseMpls:

Originally posted September 2012