Throwback Thursday: Get Qualified for the Job or Else .... This Time We Aren't Kidding Around!

Let’s say you have the training certificates and education as well as the experience just to get in the door.

It’s frustrating seeing others without your work experience, walk in and take the same job you may have the experience and extra specific training for. So, why didn’t you get the job?

We can’t really argue which is better in this case. Training, education or work experience. Sometimes it’s one of the above, two of the above, or all of the above, or none of the above. Every employer has his or her own reasons. We can’t assume that it is the lack of any qualification that disqualified us from the job.

Maybe they just didn’t like us; there was no chemistry. Most of the time, it’s all about fitting in. We all want to fit in, but we don’t always. Personally, I’d rather have that job where I fit in and the hiring folks agree.

In some cases, to just to go beyond a certain level in your job you have to have a degree. It’s in the job description as a requirement even if there is not really a good reason for it. I have a super smart sister who made straight “A”s in high school, and could have named her ticket to any major university. She chose instead to work. She enjoyed her work, but she became stuck at one level and watched several people, not nearly as smart or as good at their job, progress when she couldn’t because she didn’t have a degree.

At the time she began working, the degree didn’t seem important. For some people, it just doesn’t fit in their plans for a variety of reasons, including financial at that particular time.

Human Resources does put a value on education and training as well as experience. They write down just what the potential employer wants them to; sometimes, the qualifications are so specific as intended to be so the employer can hire a specific person.

In government especially, a national search must be made with veterans and minorities getting extra points that can move them to the top of the list if they are otherwise qualified. So the more specific the qualifications, the less likely anyone but the person the employer has in mind will make the cut. It’s against the law, but hard to prove, and it happens often to manipulate the system.

An education is more than specific training for a job, or it wouldn’t be called education. But education is general and has to be applied. What it does show is the ability to start something and see it through to the end. Certification is a little different since it is more a validation of specific knowledge–usually a product of training. I wanted to get at why this debate happens. We don’t realize, especially when it affects us personally, just how many people out there are looking for work. Some are very qualified either in experience or education. Want someone younger, you go with education. Want maturity find the experienced person. With both–you win. At least sometimes or so you would think.

It’s not a perfect system. I have degrees that by themselves are rather worthless unless you want to teach, but combine them with practical experience and use the knowledge in a way that makes sense such as training and development, and we suddenly seem very qualified, but we may not fit the mold exactly. Not an architect, an engineer, an MBA? The liberal arts degrees don’t always match the job, but does that make them any less valid in most cases?

Another example, colleges and universities love PhDs and would rather have one over a Masters degree–even if the person with a Masters degree or several Masters had tons of experience. Colleges and universities are competing for credibility and the more PhDs, the more respectability. Logical. Not at all. It’s about image and attracting students. Who cares at that point if they are bored out of their minds?

To the employer, there is a logic to playing the system to getting exactly who they think they want. Choosing kids who can play a sport to play a game makes sense. Choosing friends who can’t play so well doesn’t make sense to anyone but those in on the reason. It’s all a matter of image, rather than perspective.

The years of experience we proudly display on our resume are not necessarily in our favor. While we think those years of experience should increase our chances as valuable candidates, think again; in fact it may hurt our chances because it automatically the interviewer or screener how old we are, which means the employer would have to pay us more, which may be an eliminating factor. And despite the fact employers aren’t supposed to discriminate at all, this would be age discrimination. It happens. However, it is all about getting the employee employers want, remember–not necessarily the best qualified.

You don’t have to be a different race or sexual persuasion to be discriminated against. How about not getting it because you didn’t go to a particular school, an Ivy League school, for example? If the employer is a prestigious firm and all its executives are from Ivy League schools or because you were a blond, or short, or fat? Or not handsome or pretty enough? Image places a part, like it or not. And when people need to eliminate people from the pool, anything is game–unofficially, of course. Then, of course, state businesses that like to hire from state and local universities. I kind of get that.

However, getting the interview is important, and attitude still makes a huge difference. I don’t care how good you are at your job, a bad attitude will make someone want to sacrifice your experience and know how to train someone who’s enthusiastic and wants to do it the way they want them to do it.

I have quite a few good years left. I doubt it is my positive attitude, lack of education and experience holding me back…

All anyone can do is his or her best and try to fit in, get the qualifications as best as you can afford and do the best you can, be you, make a good impression and try to fit in. Be proud of your accomplishments and don’t consider yourself a failure because you didn’t get this job. Go on to the next and the next, until you find the right fit. You and your employer have a better chance of being happy.

Then, there’s always re-inventing yourself, but always aim to do what you love. Make re-inventing a last resort. I have had to re-invent myself, but it was drastic measure.

For most of you who follow this blog, you know from whence I speak. Where I used to be a professional actor and speaker, I have had to concentrate more on writing, teaching, directing and being the artistic director for a community theatre. It is much easier to re-invent when you have already retired from one career as I did from the Federal government. Since then I have published a novel, Harry’s Reality, which I am very proud, my best-seller so far, The Cave Man Guide to Training and Development, and two books on theatre.

Happy training.

*Every Thursday, GovLoop is combing through our archives to bring you stories of yore that could help you in your job today. So stay tuned for Throwback Thursday!

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