Back with another edition of the Millennial Minute. I am going to use this quote to guide our chat today.
“It’s not about how many years of experience you have. It’s about the quality of your year’s of experience.”
Backstory on why we are talking quality of experience this week. I’m sure by now you have seen or heard that for the first time in the workplace, there are up to five generations working together. Of course, this varies by organization, but this is much more common than not. In this multi-generational office space the topic of experience comes up a lot and the debate begins. I have watched and discussed this topic with various scenarios more often in the last five years that I have been in the workforce. I have personally experienced unfair treatment and pre-judgement for being a “twenty-something” with less than a decade in the industry trying to take on larger roles where I have to manage people with years of experience to match my years on the Earth.
Is experience valued? Yes. Does that guarantee a job or promotion? No. But let me be clear on what I mean, because your girl is not trying to get millennial hate mail from seasoned vets! I mean, that with ANYONE, years of experience alone should not instantly qualify you as the best person for a role. Experience should also be accompanied by current and past accomplishments and recent achievements. It should be filled out with stellar references, continued knowledge of your industry, and a portfolio of work. And the list goes on.
Think about it… if you only listed you years of experience on your resume, what would that tell us? Nothing, because it would look something like this:
Broadcast Professional, ABC Media – Large Market, USA 14 years
Media Assistant, XYZ Communications – Medium Market, USA 3 years
Radio Intern, 123 Media – Small Market, USA 6 months
So… I hope we all see the problem here. Where is the content? Where is the work? Where is the proof of your years worked? I think the key here is that you should never get too comfortable or content in your years worked alone. You should continue to learn, continue to grow, be a resource, become invaluable. Makes sense?
While we are on the topic of experience and resumes, let’s talk resumes. My quick two cents.
Don’t get cute with the format. (K.I.S.S. keep it simple stupid). Standing out, being creative is one thing. Creating an arts and craft project is another. In general, many hiring managers are scanning resumes quickly the first time just to get through the clutter. Don’t make it difficult for them to read or understand. Keep is clean, to the highlights, and use things like bold or italics to add emphasis. A note on this: There are exceptions to this, of course. There are many jobs where the use of art and creativity with your resume will have you at the top of the pile. Make sure you tailor your resume for the role. In this case, one size does not always fit all!
Positive bragging time. (Yes, you can brag about yourself and not sound like a jerk.) This is where many people stumble at all levels of a career. Far too many candidates are listing job descriptions (what your job is) vs. job accomplishments (what you actually did in the job you just described). I am not saying to ditch the job description completely, just limit it to a couple sentences and take the rest of that space to highlight your key accomplishments in the role. Make sure they are specific and unique to you.
Run the numbers. (I’m in sales, but I still hate math, funny how that works out.) But I’ll tell you one thing, I now love to find a positive, quantifiable, numbers story for myself and for our sales team! Think about what you have done. Are you able to quantify any of your accomplishments? Did you exceed an annual revenue budget? Did you increase retention from year to year? Did you increase social media engagement? Hard facts are great on a resume.
Simply, sell your strengths and skills on the resume. Don’t just put together a vague, meaningless job bio. A hiring manager wants to see a positive track record of your abilities. Quick link for a quality resume checklist: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/resume-critique-checklist
The wrap up: Don’t let the years of experience be a crutch, and this goes both ways. If you are newer to the workforce and you don’t have 20 years of experience, IT’S OK! We all start somewhere and you still have valuable skills and talents to being to the table. Once you are in the role, talk to the vets and use their valued knowledge to get better. If you need some encouragement, refer back to Millennial Minute: Am I Qualified. Now to the flip-side, if you do have 20+ years of experience, don’t assume that alone will get you the next job or promotion. Seniority and tenure are not SOLE justifications for a role. As grandmomma and momma would say,”the proof is in the pudding.” Continue to look for ways to grow and remain valuable in your current and future role. Bring it!
Until next time, stay dope Gen Y!