6 Months Experience doesn’t make you Experienced
“I have 6 months experience in bla bla bla under my belt”. 6 months? That’s basically a probation period, right? This does not count as experience. Trust me. It’s just not.
The number of candidates I speak to who are early in their careers and are genuinely trying to sell themselves as having experience when they’ve done the job for 6 months is staggering. Trying to put a silk hat on a pig and trying to sell it is something the odd chancer will do. But this is way beyond any chancers. I’ll speak to between 5 and 10 people a month who try to sell me their experience considering 6 months as “experience”. If you went to a surgeon and they told you that they had 6 months experience would you be comfortable with them operating on you independently?
The Job Hopper and the 6 monther
On the one hand you have a job hopper. Sure, they won’t call it job hopping. They’ll call it career advancement, but in the nicest way they haven’t spent long enough in a job to give it a chance. But job hoppers are 18 month people. You know the types who tell you it wasn’t for them and this company wasn’t nice. Yet in reality, they probably were on the verge of getting found out for being cr*p and jumped before being pushed.
The 6 monther is something else though. Even a struggling Premier League Football manager gets longer than 6 months. I can understand if they fail probation. But if they genuinely go job hunting every 6 months it verges on ridiculous. You haven’t given a job a chance at 6 months. If you were pregnant, you’d only be in your 2nd trimester!
Trying to sell it as experience
I used to think that people who considered working somewhere for 6 months and trying to sell that as experience were simply putting a silk hat on a pig of a CV. But I’ve come to realise that most of these people genuinely consider 6 months to be experience. That is delusional. It’s just madness. A degree is 3 years. An apprenticeship is 3 years. But you’ve hardly taken off your training wheels and you’ve convinced yourself that 6 months is experience in a profession.
Try arguing this point though. I dare you. Most of these people just think you are rude, unsympathetic and you’re offending their feelings. No. I’m just pointing out that 6 months is not anywhere near enough to consider yourself experienced in a profession. The fact that most companies have probation periods lasting up to 6 months tells you something, right?
Why is this a big deal?
The average tenure of staying in a job has dropped dramatically over the last few years. On the one hand you could say that recruitment headhunt companies trying to sell the dream to passive talent is one reason. But on the other hand, you also have people strategically trying to advance their careers and see the benefit in moving to pastures new to facilitate this tactic.
But on the third hand (just keep following my mutated hands example and ignore the strangeness of a 3 handed person) see’s people who keep jumping job to job so rapidly it’s costing companies serious money. In most jobs it takes 6 months plus to break even on a hire. Sure, some are quicker in the big outfits, but for the sake of argument 90% of companies are SME’s and they’re the one’s hit hardest. If you leave at 6 months before they’ve got a return on investment you’ve made the company a loss.
But they can afford it
Can they? You can’t keep having people leaving jobs without it causing serious issues.
Furthermore, consider why people keep jumping job after just 6 months. When you speak to these people it’s clear that they aren’t sure what to do for a job. Personally, I can understand this. And instead of chastising these people, if I’m honest, I want to put myself in their shoes and therefore here’s how I see it.
You spend 11 years in school of which 90% is pointless information you will never use in the real world. You’ll have one half hour lesson with your form tutor who’s trying to go through career planning from a 1995 outdated textbook whilst the naughty kids at the back chuck paper airplanes and distract you.
Then because the school is worried about getting sued for mental health they’ll paint you a fictitious picture of the real world and that a degree is golden only for you then to find that despite a lifetime of education when you finally do leave the cotton wool of the curriculum system you’re none the wiser of what the hell to do with your career. But you don’t want to admit it because you’ll sound stupid. So, you jump job to job trying to find the dream you’ve been told exists and in the meantime use the cover story of gaining experience to justify your rapid career hops. Let’s just be honest.
I get the 6 months experience thing. It doesn’t mean it’s experience though. I just think the system is screwed and it is fuelling this problem for young people entering the jobs market. The problem is that nobody wants to admit that this is a problem. If you’re a young savvy person entering the jobs market you don’t want to say you haven’t a clue want to do and just want to try your hand at something to see if it’s for you. By doing that you’ll not get a chance. And so the cycle continues.
What we really need is a dedicated education area focused around career routes. Bringing technical schools back would be one idea too. It needs more than just an afterthought.
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