Just what IS "Relevant Work Experience"?

Job seekers read it, hiring bodies write it: “relevant work experience.” But what does that mean? Do garage sales constitute sales experience? Can IT applicants confidently list “fixed my aunt’s PC” as work experience?

In practice, “relevant work experience” is something that employers decide on an individual basis. Much of it hinges on how the employee can relate their skills to this new profession. Skills such as problem solving, communicating and working as a team are skills that are important in many kinds of jobs, so identifying those skills may be almost as important as something more technical that can be taught on the job.

In the end, the employer has to be able to determine which skillsets are most important, and be open-minded about “work experience.” The job seeker has to be able to communicate their skills and experiences, and this sometimes requires the employer to recognize how the skills the prospective employees have can help the company.

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