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BLOGExperiences, not Experience

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet, New JobTagged as: ,

People collect the craziest things: movies, music, books, shoes, coins, and spoons are just some examples. But what about collecting experiences?

Experiences are activities that either give you new skills, or improve existing ones. Experiences give you perspective, flexibility, and develop your business acumen: all critical for your career success. Unlike collectible coins, we can’t buy experiences on eBay: we collect them on the job, with our community leadership, and with our families.

When our jobs go stale, often it is simply that we aren’t collecting any new experiences. Solution? Actively look for new experiences and sign up: they go by names like special projects, task forces, market research, job rotation, cross-training, and secondments. Sometimes they can be found by a simple question to your manager: “is there a task that has been put off or delayed, that I might take on…?” It doesn’t matter what the task is – so long as it is new to you.


What experiences have you collected during the last few months – and what experiences do you want to give yourself during the next few? Identify three new experiences that you would like, and work to putting them in your calendar.

A caveat: many people equate experience with experiences. Experience is more about the amount of time spent doing a job. Experiences speak to the breadth of your understsanding earned through doing a number of different things. Remember this if you’re looking for a promotion or a new role: interviewers care more about specific experiences than generic experience. If you don’t have them, you won’t get the call.

Professional insight:  The same holds true for professionals pitching new work.  Prospective clients care more about specific experiences than generic experience.  If you don’t have them, you won’t get the engagement.

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