Are “Years of Experience” Really That Important?

Published by Jasmin Esse'ka Raye on

Let’s face a simple fact:

Engaging in any type of job search–regardless of industry or employment level–can really take a toll on a job-seeking professional.

That’s because, sometimes, it’s not so much about the amount of time you spend looking for the ‘right’ jobs, but about the amount of time you’ve put into the industry.

You know, the “years of experience” you have.

What is meant by “years of experience”

It’s simple: years of experience is the number of years you’ve spent performing the functions and, or duties of a specific role – while serving in a similar or equivalent role.

But, is actual industry experience really the only thing that can quantify years of experience?

Should a professional who is qualified in skill be overlooked simply because he or she does not have the requisite number of years of experience?

It happens…and often

Similar Read: Should Recruiters Know Where Else You’ve Applied?

Asking the experts

Given the popularity of this topic, I decided to solicit professional feedback from those that know first-hand what constitutes as industry experience: recruiters.

About half of the responses I received confirmed what most job-seeking professionals already thought: ‘years of experience’ is exactly what it sounds like….years of industry experience.

However, I did receive a few responses that hinted toward there potentially being other factors that are directly (or indirectly) proportional to industry experience.

Those factors included:
✓ Strengths in skillset
✓ Practical knowledge
✓ Key industry or role achievements
✓ Developmental level


There’s no denying that the amount of experience a professional has in his or her industry seasons them for (almost predictable) success in future roles.

And, clearly, it’s in the hands of the recruiter to decide whether or not a professional with a less-than-required amount of years of industry experience is worthy of filling the role.

Nevertheless, seeing as how the success of certain professional roles will largely depend on the sum of several factors, it’s time more recruiters become less stringent about requiring candidates to have a specific number of years in the industry in order to even be considered.

Have you applied for a job that required more years of experience than you actually have? What was the outcome?