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What “Years of Experience Needed” Really Means

Posted by Price, MS, PHR, Joey at Saturday, 05/12/2012 2:34 pm
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3.0 from 45 votes

You’re fresh out of college, Sum Cum Laude (or hey maybe just a 3.0) and you’ve graduated from one of the top schools in your field.

You’re even the President of a few clubs and and organizations on campus.

All looks right in the world for you until you read entry-level job ad after entry-level job ad that says the following:

“Two Years of Experience Needed”

What does that mean? Well… It means a few things:

1) This is non-negotiable. Sorry, there’s no getting no around this one. When a company says that they want you to have x amount of years under your belt then they really mean it. You can really be ambitious about your career but if a company says they need you to come equipped with two or three (or ten) years then it means that they know there are certain things that you can only get after x amount of years on the job.

2) Experience trumps education almost every time. Ever since the Griggs vs. Dukes case companies have been obligated to hold years of experience in equal measure to education but there is a key difference between Education and Experience. Experience is results-based while Education is theory-based. Experience says “what you’ve gone through” where eduction says “what you might do [because the books told me what I should do].” While education is always a great supplement to experience, often times the real world and the academic world don’t align. Employers want someone who has gone through a few things.

3) “Honestly, we don’t want to have to train you.” As one of my good friends likes to say once the point is driven home in a discussion: “And there it is.” Human Resources is shifting to “Human Capital” for several reasons but one of the main reasons, in my opinion, is that bringing individuals on to a company through recruitment has become more like the larger practice of mergers and acquisitions. What do I mean? Simply stated, companies [rightfully] feel like hiring is an investment and to insure the greatest return on investment, they want to hire people that can produce immediate returns and come “ready to work.” The cost of turnover is already high when replacing a terminated employee and training budgets were the first to go in the age of the recession. While the value of training and investing in a new employee can yield unforeseen benefits for the company, most organizations stick to people who have already done the work and have a track record of being pretty darn good at it.

About The Author

Joey V. Price is the Managed HR Services Firm Jumpstart:HR. His HR and Career Management expertise has been featured in publications such as SHRM,,, Workforce Management Magazine,, and more. Joey is also the author of the high charting career management book entitled "Never Miss the Mark." It can be found on Amazon Kindle, Apple iTunes, Barnes and Nobles Nook and Sony Reader. To schedule a call or meeting with Joey, click here.

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