Relevant Past Experience

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8:00 AM. Time to log in to the system and get to work. As soon as the system acknowledges me, both screens suddenly go blank. A tiny light shows up on the left hand corner of one screen, pulsing as if to say “I am here, you just cannot get through to me”.  Before I could finish my thought on that little light (that ominously reminded me of a life-support monitor), my phone line rings as if on cue and just like that I was laid off.

That was 4 years and near 1000 job applications (give or take a few) ago.  No fault or blame on me (or the multitude of others like myself that day), just your regular run-of-the-mill re-org. As if the reason would somehow make our lives quake less. It doesn’t.  The aftershocks are identical no matter how well gift-wrapped the reason.  So yeah the sudden quake sucked, as did I.  Sucked it up and moved forward that is.

Interviews? You ask. Check.

Networking? Check.

Additional Training and Certifications?  Volunteering?  Work for free to get the word out?

Check! Check! and Check!

The result? Nada.

The reason? “Relevant Past Experience” (or lack thereof)

1,460+ days of finding out that my professional past was the yardstick I was going to be measured by, for the rest of my professional life.  No amount of explaining that my resume only listed what I had done, not what I was good at, was enough to convince someone to hire me.  Neither were testimonials, results or sustained, solid and tangible proof of my strong suits. The resume won every time.

Everyone I knew, from HR professionals to CEOs, past colleagues and bosses to friends and family, board members and council members to non-profit leaders and clergy….. were left incredulous. Me perhaps most of all.  It just didn’t make any sense.  How does something on paper trump tangible evidence?

Enter Election 2016.

My rhetoric “give the job to talents not just to titles” suddenly became defunct. The job went to someone who had neither. He never held any political office or title, nor had any diplomatic or political talent and yet he was hired for the job. And not just any job; the job against which all other jobs of the world are seemingly measured.

Wait! Was this good news for those such as myself?  Will it be enough for us to now simply point to the Presidency when asked for “Relevant Past Experience”? I am curious enough to try it at my next interview.

This should be fun.

 

 

 

 

Image: Gnuckx on Flickr.com