Education vs Experience: Which is more important on your CV?
On the topic of education vs experience, education is important and the more qualifications you have the better but in my opinion, it is your previous experience that will land you an interview.
The focus of your CV should be on work experience, responsibilities and achievements relevant to the job. Of course it is great to have a good education and often a degree is a requirement but as we all know, university can only teach us so much. Experience should come first on your CV and then your education along with all relevant courses that you have completed.
A word of advice for candidates who are very proud of their report cards: nobody needs to know the marks for your Leaving Certificate so please don’t waste space on your CV listing out all your subjects and results. If you’re applying for a role in financial services or marketing or IT do you really think the employer is concerned that you got a B1 in Biology ten years ago? Use that precious space to ensure that all the skills and relevant experience you have is included instead.
This is the old chicken and egg scenario, education vs experience, which comes first as far as clients and companies are concerned.
As far back as I can remember, when I first left college I felt like I was banging my head on a brick wall trying to convince prospective employers that I CAN DO the job despite not having the practical experience, yet I was fully equipped with all the right qualifications.
Ireland really hasn’t changed that much in my opinion since the late 1980’s when jobs were scarce. Now we have the witnessed the yo-yo changes in the labour market swinging between ‘Candidate-Driven Markets’ and ‘Employer-Driven Markets’ but throughout these periods, the one constant requirement is the emphasis on Education.
So the long and short of the matter is you must have your foundations in your education. Have it loud and proud on your CV, followed of course by your valuable experience.
When you are compiling your CV, you need to be honest in terms of what point your career is at.
If you are a graduate or have limited workplace experience, then it is essential to state as much of the academic experience that you have to date. These experiences are what will become the topic of discussion at your job interview. Therefore, at the early part of your career, education will take up more space than experience.
As your career develops and experiences become enhanced, then the CV should evolve from an educational profile to and experience-led profile. Like your career, your CV must evolve in content, highlighting additional experience and skills obtained as you climb the career ladder!
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