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Why Years of Experience Doesn't Matter

Photo by Christina Morillo

Don't hold yourself back based on experience. And also, don't expect that years of experience alone is going to help you get ahead or get the promotion.

Pay attention to what really matters, not just the "years of experience" shorthand.

I’ve heard it so many times “this person has the same years of experience as me but they’re at a higher level, I should be promoted.” Lots of organizations use criteria like years of experience, a skills matrix, or a skill leveling exercise to determine promotions.

But at the end of the day, none of that matters.

For two reasons: one, if you get promoted at one job based purely on years of experience but you haven't actually developed the skills required to perform that job, it’s going to go poorly for all involved, and two, if you ever move to a new company, you’re going to interview in at your same old level. Years of experience is a poor metric for evaluating people, period. If your company is focused on years of experience, and if you are focused on years of experience, you’ve got your attention on the wrong thing.

You can have 20 years of experience doing something wrong. Does that make you more qualified than the person who has 2 years of experience doing it right?


Your focus needs to be on value created - because this is what actually matters.

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