Breaking the “Catch 22”: Experience vs Qualifications

Many job seekers are being told they are missing out on jobs because they do not have enough experience or the right qualifications. Others, that they are “over qualified”.

It’s a problem faced by people across the whole spectrum of job seekers: from graduates, skilled migrants to an ageing workforce. It’s a symptom of a tougher job market and breeding ground for workplace discrimination to foster.

100 years ago this week Europe went to war in what we refer to as the Great War (or 1st World War). All those lost have been and will continue to be remembered.

In this period, with other 4 million Englishmen enlisted, there was a skills gap in the workforce. It was filled by women; many of whom not only lacked relevant experience but were also victims of social (and professional if they actually ever got into the workplace) discrimination in the workforce and beyond. Highlighted by Amy Elizabeth May’s example; as soon as the men returned from war, she lost her job.

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Discrimination aside, the point being that in a candidate poor job market, there are more opportunities for people who might otherwise be overlooked.

In a nutshell; experience is essential, qualifications make you stand above others, but neither will get you dream job unless your experience is relevant and your qualifications are both respected and recognised. They key part for both qualifications and experience is relevance.

Industry experience mid degree can lift academic results  despite a lack of research it seems logical that if you achieve high grades in a relevant field and gain relevant industry experience then your chances of securing employment in that chosen field would significantly higher too.

Deloitte’s recent CFO survey found that almost 70% of CFOs in Australia think the change in government will have a positive impact on businesses. With this in mind companies want the best talent available to them.

Leo Tolstoy wrote in the final years of his life: “Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.”. Continuous learning is important to development, relevant and respected academic qualifications are great too but experience is essential. Being a “better person” professionally comes from, among other things, continuous learning and experience.

It’s a competitive job market out there, so it’s harder to differentiate yourself. The only way to break the Catch 22 is to get both: relevant industry related experience and relevant (respected) qualifications.

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