Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nick's Notes: Experience Trumps Everything

What in the world have I gotten myself in to? The new phenomenon sweeping the twitterverse and blogosphere is the "blog-off". What innocently started as a couple bloggers comparing opinions on a given topic has blossomed in to an exceptionally organized event(see awesome-cool button above). The given topic for today was a fairly straight forward one- "Are today's college graduates ready for the working world?"

So while I should play by the rules and just give me opinion, it just isn't going to happen. I'd rather talk about experience- it'll play along with the topic, and perhaps even answer the aforementioned question. 

More people than not have seen "experience preferred" on a job posting. The bigger question in my mind is just exactly what is experience? Every day I experience something new; a new situation should present itself to you each and every day. There are never days where I have to make no decisions about a particular subject, not just professionally but personally. In a service industry like ours, our personal take on many things effect our professional opinions and decisions. Professional experience is always valuable. To any size business, a previously skilled employee is one that requires minimal training, saving time and money. The argument may also be made that an inexperienced worker can be trained to fit the particular system that you operate, perhaps creating an employee that will operate with less resistance. 

So what is better? A fresh graduate or a seasoned veteran?

I'm honestly not sure.

A quick story and some advice and I'm done: While I was away at school, I had a friend who had never mowed a lawn. Now, I know there are plenty of people that live in urban areas that simply don't have lawns, and that's fine... he didn't. Growing up at our house, the day we could reach the pedals on the lawnmower that job became part of what we were expected to do(not always voluntarily). After I showed him how to crank a simple pushmower, you'd thought I had started the earth in motion. Let's just put it this way... I didn't cut a blade of grass that year.

Super nice guy- hadn't experienced the world yet. 

*By the way, my answer to the big question? Sure, some of them are and some are not... that's why we have job interviews, ya know?

Want to read more? Check out these posts by friends of ours:

Rufus Dogg(@dogwalkblog)             
Veronika Miller(@Modenus)
Paul Anater(@Paul_Anater)
Becky Shankle(@ecomod)
Bob Borson(@bobborson)
Bonnie Harris(@waxgirl333)
Tim Elmore(@timelmore)
Tamara Dalton(@tammyjdalton)
Sean Lintow, Sr.(@SLSConstruction)
Amy Good(@SplinterGirl)
Richard Holschuh(@concretedetail)
Cindy Frewenwuellner(@Urbanverse)
Tim Bogan(@TimBogan)
Hollie Holcombe(@GreenRascal)
Steve Mouzon(@stevemouzon)


  1. Great post, Nick...as a recent grad (within the last 5 years), I was always (and still am to a degree)hoping someone would give me a chance to show my fresh ideas. And, like you said, everyday my experience grows...the trick is to maintain those fresh ideas and not let them be tarnished by your experience.

  2. Great post nick and exactly right. Experience and willingness. But how do we get the experience? By doing it. Somehow we have to get into the door. Some of us are just plain noisy (blushing) others more subtle but prove themselves worthy by just always being a good choice. As is your blog by the way....now I really have to read about those cupcakes.

  3. Ashleigh- Agree with you completely about your ideas... I felt the same way, and still do to a degree. Each year that passes(I'll be 30 next month), I realize a way to make those original ideas better- it's always so rewarding to think about how much better it will be to accomplish them NOW rather than then. Thanks a lot for the comment!

    Veronika- You're right about getting in to the door, and I'm with you on the noisy bit(me all the way). Thanks for the comment, and don't just read about those cupcakes... try them! Lots of ice cream recipes sprinkled in here, too.

  4. You rabble-rouster :-)

    A fresh graduate or a seasoned veteran? or somewhere in between.. I used to be in Human Resources in a previous life and placed far too many ads. Not once did I ever ask myself, "What do they mean be 'experience preferred'?" I really probably should have! I think the hiring manager has one assumption, the interviewee might have another. Too often, though I saw hiring managers skip over a resume that did not have experience in the industry and I coached it back into his/her hands (it was a very, very narrow industry) Most of the people who interviewed with broader skills outside the industry lasted a lot longer than those with "experience."

    Great post. Thanks for breaking the rules!

  5. Ha, you probably had lots of drinking and eating experience, you rascal you! When I was in the tour business, I used to hire people based on their team player-ness. We all worked so closely (physically and metaphorically) that I went 90% by personality and only 10% by work experience.
    Now, when I advise college grads, I tell them to talk about their ideas and plans, and to establish a reputation for work ethic, honesty and being a team player. The rest can be taught. Well written. Go have a Klondike Bar.


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