Does experience really matter?

In this exclusive article from Go Zambia Jobs we explore whether experience really matters when applying for jobs in Zambia.

Why do employers ask for experience?

Employers like candidates with work experience for many reasons. Candidates with work experience are often able to deliver results immediately and without the cost of any additional training. Furthermore, applicants with work experience are perceived to have a better understanding of how to present themselves in a professional work environment.

Does experience matter?

The key point to remember when searching for jobs is that most job adverts contain lots of requirements – one of which might be the number of years of work experience you have. If you look at the job adverts at you will see that there can be anywhere from 1 to 50 requirements.

These requirements can include:

  1. Skill requirements (e.g. I.T, communication, time-management, research and analysis etc.)
  2. Academic requirements (Grade 12 school certificate, diploma, degree and/or professional qualifications etc.)
  3. Knowledge requirements (understanding of a particular subject, industry, function, task, environment etc.)
  4. Experience requirements (The number of years experience in a particular job, sector or level).

The key to understanding job adverts

In the list of example requirements above we have listed 15 requirements in 4 categories ONLY 3 of which relate to experience. Many job adverts will go into much greater detail so there will be many more requirements than this. The key then is to ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how you meet as many of the requirements as possible. The more requirements you meet and demonstrate the greater your chances of success. If there are 50 requirements for a job and the only one you miss is the requirement to have a bit more experience then you will still have met the other 49 requirements. This could still put you in a strong position to be called for an interview even though you do not meet the other requirements. However, if you only meet 1 requirement out of 50 then you may be better focusing your time and energy on applying for the jobs were you meet more of the of the requirements.

How to decide whether to apply for a job

We always suggest writing out and numbering all of the requirements stipulated in the job advertisement. You can then match your skills, knowledge and experience so that you can see how many of the requirements you meet and how strong your application could be.

You can find out more about whether to apply for jobs at: Understanding job requirements

Further Information

To find more careers articles visit: Careers Advice

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5 thoughts on “Does experience really matter?”

  1. Organizations should learn to train their own staff. That’s when they’ll treasure them and keep improving their working conditions for fear of sinking the costs of training and developing the staff, through Labor Turnover.
    Many of the organizations that like to place experience as a strong component of Job requirements usually do not give good conditions of service to the hired staff and do not care much about Labor Turnover because they don’t feel the pressure of losing an internally trained and developed staff.
    *So I think many such employers are just horrible and socially irresponsible employers.

  2. It’s just too Much of wako ni wako more especially in our country Zambia, u can be qualified for the job having all the requirements but just because u don’t know anyone in that company which is not fair.

  3. Namasiku Tembo,
    I tell you its demoralising especially NGOs. Personally I think they do this in order for not only narrow the applicants base but corruption to prevail. You will find fresh graduates getting such jobs but advert say experience in NGO.

  4. Good morning, it is quiet understood on the requirements for the jobs advertised, but surely there is a bit of some unrealistics in my opinion, because, one company, organization or an institution will for example ask, experience and a preferred institutions that they feel you should have worked for in cases like NGOs, they will ask and require some one who has worked for an NGO, sure everything should have a starting point, in as much as we understand the experience point of view, we also feel that opportunities are just opened to those who have worked already, In my case I have done public relation and I am a professional driver, but I have not worked in an NGO, and I have since seen a lot of these driving adverts for NGOs now despite me having driven for many years and in one two company not NGOs I can’t qualify I think in my opinion its not Fair… On the other hand I am a PRO graduated in 2017 I can’t still find a job…I think you guys should really advocate for people like us really, I can do customer service, customer care, public relation and drive both automated and manual propelled vehicle.
    Sincere regards.

    • Experience matters but in a situation where someone with experience is lacking only a Grade 12 Certificate, that person’s chance of working is doomed coz of not having a Grade 12 Certificate. I would rather someone is given a chance to work and in the long run be told to go back to School to do GCE. That’s just my opinion.

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