Don’t Think Job Skills and Experience Are the Same Thing

Let’s do a little virtual wager. My side is that your job skills don’t match up well with your current job. On your side, you think you’ve got all those skills just because you have the experience.

Rodriguez ShirtIs it the same? Naw. Job skills trump experience in getting in the door for an initial phone interview.

1. You haven’t reviewed your job skills against the market

Just because you have all that experience doesn’t mean you have the job skills needed in today’s market. Don’t believe me? Go look at Dice job postings and look at that (daunting) list of skills needed to perform the job. Now, I personally don’t think you need ALL those job skills to do the job, but that’s the listing. It has a check mark box sitting next to the recruiter’s phone. The more check marks you have, the better your shot at a phone interview. How many check marks did you get? See?

2. You are in a new position and haven’t learned all the job skills

You might have 20 years of experience, but you just got (transferred) a new job. Saved you from a layoff, of course. Happy to have the job, of course. But your job skills don’t match what is needed for this job — you got it because you are a valuable employee and the company hopes you stay.

Not only do your job skills not match what’s needed in your current job (corporate reorganizations aren’t focused that well on your job skills matching a job…), but, worse, you are now in a position that doesn’t allow you to practice skills and learn new ones for the type of work you love to do. So you lose in relation to others doing the work you want. Plus, the probability of doing your new job well while not having the right skills will lead to poorer performance reviews. Great transfer, wasn’t it?

3. You missed the fact you need to learn new job skills in your current job

Or, even if you are in the job you love, you get complacent. Hey — you’ve been a project manager for ten years, what would you need to learn?

Well, ten years ago, project managers didn’t really need to know Microsoft Project. Now you do. Ten years ago, you didn’t need to know Project Server. Now you do. Ten years ago, you didn’t need a PMP certification. Now you won’t get an interview for a project manager job until all the PMP’s are done.

All jobs are like this. It’s like learning algebra in eighth grade now instead of high school 20 years ago. Time marches on — and so does what you need to learn.

The point in all of this is not to bash you about your job skills. The point is that you are responsible for your career and you need to consistently review your job skills in relation to the market, what you want to do and learn while on the job. Complacency doesn’t cut it. Resting on laurels doesn’t either. Only consistent review and execution on your job to build your skills helps you get to employment (not job) security.

Isn’t it time for a review of your job skills?

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