The most frustrating part of a job search is sifting through job listings and making sense of the dreaded “Requirements” section. Here are a few examples taken from a recent LinkedIn job posting:
- 6+ years of management experience (mandatory)
- 2+ years of blockchain industry experience (preferred). A deep understanding of the blockchain industry, tokenomics and decentralized product development would be a strong plus
- Exceptional interpersonal and collaboration skills
- A positive can-do attitude and sense of urgency
Like most Requirements, this list is a combination of skills (interpersonal skills), attributes (positive can-do attitude) and experience (management experience.)
The building blocks of success
Let’s break this down…
Skills are specific abilities you’ve developed through education or practice. They can be foundational skills like typing or reading or higher level skills like brain surgery or engineering a motherboard. The common thing is that skills are typically specific to a task.
Attributes are innate characteristics that can be developed but are very broad and used in many situations. (Typically called “cross functional attributes.”) Positive attitude, leadership, ambition or drive are all examples of attributes.
Finally, we have Experience which is the application of skills and attributes in a certain job setting. In fact, you could think of skills and attributes as the building blocks of experience.
Experience is… not great
So… experience is made up of skills and attributes, but experience is where so many of us start our job seeking. We think “I have experience in manufacturing, so I should find a manufacturing job.” The bad thing about experience though… is that it’s mostly non-transferrable.
Experience is specific to the industry, company or even department of the job it was earned in.
That’s why bullet points like the first in our list are so misleading. 6+ years of management experience? Managing how many employees? There’s certainly a difference between 2 and 20. What level of employees? There’s certainly a difference between entry-level and executives. The specific situations that the job poster has in mind and the job seeker has in mind could be miles apart!
What’s the solution? Instead of focusing on experience, we should be looking at the building blocks. Here’s the key: The skills and attributes we have (and gain through time and effort) apply across any number of industries, companies or jobs.
But how can you quantify the skills and attributes you have and the potential jobs those skills could be used in? At SkillBank, we’ve mapped it out so when you pick your skills and attributes (we call them competencies) our free Job Discovery app gives you a list of job ideas where your competencies can be put to work.