Volume 29: Gauging Experience

RoyWhen I look at a resume and see that someone has held a position for a few years, it leads me to one very simple question: does this person have five years of experience? Or does he/she have one year of experience five times?

In essence, are you learning and growing each year? Is your career evolving? Or are you just doing the same thing over and over again?

When I do reference checks, I want to know if the employee grew over their time at the company. Did they continue to make the same mistakes year after year? Or did they learn from their mistakes and grow?

Did they seek out opportunities to train in other areas? Or better themselves in their chosen area? Or did they just continue to do the same thing at the same level?

Within my company, I expect my teammates to evolve and grow as consultants
moving forward.

Stumbling through calls and leaving incomplete notes is understandable for a consultant that has been here for a few weeks, but is a little frustrating for one that has been here for fifteen months.

I fully expect my consultants to come into my office often when they first start to ask questions about the industry. Questions like “What is an EVOL?” “Why does porosity of paper matter?” and “What is de-lam?” are commonplace at first, and I’m more than happy to answer these questions.

I’m not so happy to be answering these questions for the 12th time when the teammate has been there a year and a half. I’m less than thrilled when I find that this teammate’s notes are incomplete and he or she isn’t reaching basic activity goals at that point in their time here. I want to see evolution and growth!

Essentially, the teammate I’ve described here has worked for 18 months, but rather than 18 months of experience, this teammate only has one month of experience 18 times. This teammate hasn’t learned about the industry and therefore his or her practice is still clumsy and inefficient.

So, I would encourage you to look at your own careers through this vantage point:

Do I have 30 years of experience? Or do I have five years of experience six times? Has my career evolved over time, or am I still doing the same things, wrong or right, that I did my first week on the phone?

And I’d encourage those of you that are managers and supervisors out there to look at the people that report to you and evaluate this as well:

How can you help your subordinates achieve growth and new experience? Is a lack of growth a reflection on you as a leader, something you can fix by tweaking some aspect of your leadership style? Or is it a personal issue with that particular subordinate, a lack of ambition or motivation to grow?

Bottom line, I would encourage everyone to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and evolve in their careers as they move forward so that the amount of experience they have truly matches the number of years worked on their resume.

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