Just what is “relevant experience”?
“Your CV looks good but you don’t have the relevant experience for this role. There are other candidates that are a better fit for the position” is the typical dismissive answer I get when speaking with headhunters.
But when I say I have already been interviewing with three large financial institutions, I get a slightly more positive response: “We will keep your CV on file and let you know when an opportunity comes up.”
Because another firm has opened a door, others will follow. Obviously the candidate has something that is not very visible on the CV and only emerges at interviews. And that something could well be personal experience.
I have worked for about three years in banking and insurance as an analyst and salesperson. I had to take some time out recently for health reasons and I’m now looking for work.
But the interviewing process has been frustrating. No one bothers to ask why I think I would be a good fit for that role because they are only considering those with the so-called relevant experience.
What about people who are switching sectors? What about people whose university education isn’t relevant to the job? I thought banks in Asia were suffering from a talent shortage and needed to broaden their scope.
I was recently told by a director of a headhunter firm that a particular position required (you guessed it) four years’ relevant experience. But did he consider my candidacy carefully enough?
I am someone who has lots of life, or personal experiences. My background means I am a confident person who doesn’t mind telling others what they have done wrong.
Living with a father who was a former high-profile CEO and a brother who is a buy-side analyst equals a candidate who has relevant experience as a person, even if she lacks work experience on paper. How so? Well…
· I know about marketing because it is linked to products I’ve sold at my previous firms. I know which presentations and marketing materials are good because I know which sort of campaigns have enhanced sales.
· I know client service (other than being trained on the job) because it’s a crucial skill for salespeople too.
· I know a bit of PR and IR from listening to my dad at road shows and seeing how he handled crisis management.
· I know the importance of good research because I’ve read many bad research reports.
· I know about business strategy and competitor analysis because this is all my dad talks about when I try to have a decent lunch or dinner with him.
And what don’t I know? Well sadly it’s the administrative stuff that most entry-level candidates are supposed to be doing. When you are slow on the scanner, forget to ask who called, or take a bad message, your boss thinks you are stupid and spoiled.
My job search continues, wish me well…