Lack of Training

Dear Anita,

I’m in HR and just have to vent. I get so many résumés for open positions from people who don’t qualify even remotely. Can you please tell job seekers without the required experience not to waste my time?

Infographic-1-Lack-of-Experience-LGDear, Not Impressed,

A recent American Staffing Association (ASA) survey found that unemployed adults looking for work say that lack of experience is the main obstacle that prevents them from finding a job. (Really, we needed a survey to figure that out?) But the workforce survey goes further: 82% of unemployed job seekers think training would increase their chances of receiving job offers. And nearly nine out of 10 aspirants would be willing to try a new field if training were offered.

So, employers, do you have a training program for those hard-to-fill positions? Or perhaps you have high turnover in a particular role. This may be an indication that the instruction provided for that job title is not up to snuff. It’s not enough for the HR department to fill chairs with warm bodies; you want those bodies to flourish in the role, both for their own personal growth and for the company’s betterment.

If your business has perpetually open positions with no qualified applicants, consider cultivating “home-grown” employees. Convince your local community college to provide classes that your company would find helpful for future applicants.

Now, let me scold job seekers a bit. If you come across as a lackluster candidate to hiring managers, it’s in your power to improve your image. Don’t wait for future employers to train you. Proactively seek out professional development opportunities, whether it’s online or at your local chamber of commerce, free or paid out of your own pocket. You’ll be able to beef up your résumé’s “Advanced Training” or “Continuing Education” section, and show that you have a drive to succeed.

Readers: Let’s dream a little. If you could change careers with full training provided, what field would you enter?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

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Applying for a Job When Not 100% Qualified
Onboarding New Employees
Back to Class

30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Todd Hicks
    Jan 29, 2016 @ 02:40:52

    Many job ads mention the applicants needing to have several months to a few years of experience. This is crazy. How can we get so much experience if employers won’t let us get it?


  2. LaDawn Milton
    Jan 28, 2016 @ 12:17:52

    As the Office Manager of a small office, our parent company is hiring for a few new positions. The HR Manager emailed me about 100 resumes yesterday for 3 different positions. Some of the applicants are wildly inexperienced for the position they applied for (applying for a Sales Manager when your only experience is selling Girl Scout cookies as a kid and currently babysitting), others send their entire life story in a resume. For those of you who are job seeking, please remember that someone has to read your resume. A good resume should highlight your top accomplishments, most recent jobs and bring out your skills. Resume’s should be no more than 1-2 pages. If you are applying for a job you don’t have the experience for, you should at least highlight many of the skills that the job is requiring that you may possess (yes, I’ve applied for jobs I wasn’t experienced for, yes I have gotten them because I had the necessary skills, some employers are willing to take that). Don’t give up hope, make yourself marketable, but please keep in mind that we usually do not have time to read a novel! Good luck!


    • Moonstone Mary
      Jan 28, 2016 @ 13:38:12

      Just a thought LaDawn, but isn’t it the HR Manager’s job to send you maybe a dozen qualified applicants for those three jobs? That is not a job for an Office Manager when there is an HR Dept. But I agree about stating your skills up front early on in the resume. It’s best done with bullet points right under a headline that describes you. Your employer list should not go back any more than 10 years at most (for those of us on the plus side of 50). And just a simple statement of who, when, where, job title. Then the “what” should be no more than three sentences. I attach a third page to my resume with a reference list because it gives validity to my skills list. And all my references can verify my job skills (don’t ask your aunt to be your reference).


  3. Laura Vanrooy
    Jan 27, 2016 @ 11:53:46

    I agree with you all. I’ll be 20 in a few months and just graduated high school last year. I have filled out 30+ entry level job applications and only heard back from 4. One I got an interview and they turned me down. It’s not easy and the stress for me is only growing with my mom moving in a month and is basically telling me I have to get out. My fiancé can’t handle 2 car insurances, so it is difficult. With me now calling agencies and them telling me I don’t really qualify for anything kind of hurts. I’m willing to put my all into a job if I ever get one, and do the best I can. I guess a lot of companies just don’t see the potential in some people though.


  4. Nancy E
    Jan 27, 2016 @ 08:28:47

    I love this thread, all the posts. I think we are in agreement that job seekers should continue applying for any job where they think they can do the tasks. HR managers should be more descriptive in their recruitment advertisements, and give each candidate some thought before turning them down. This particular HR person sounds shallow – and is taking the “Human” out of HR.


  5. Veronica Ryan
    Jan 27, 2016 @ 03:57:23

    Anita thank you for stating the obvious; should “not impressed” become unemployed they would quickly become more sensitive to the unemployeds plight. Companies should consider these resumes as trainable people with initiative


  6. Robert Warburton
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 16:54:22

    So many of the positions that are posted are not really open when they are posted. 80% of the positions in this country are found through the unpublished job market. I remember an expert on the radio telling her listeners that the worst way to get a job is to go through the human resources office. People who are hired by hiring managers without going through the human resources departments are sometimes told by the HR people that they had applications from more qualified people. It is not what you know but who you know. So stop advertising for “openings” when they have no intention of actually hiring anyone who actually responds to those” openings.”


    • anitaclew
      Jan 27, 2016 @ 08:23:16

      Robert, Check out my blog post, for some tips on working around the HR department. As for openings that are not really open, many companies that require a large number of employees for a certain position will advertise year-round to keep a supply of qualified candidates in the pipeline. You never know when one of these jobs will open up!


  7. Elaine
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 12:14:34

    I feel the frustration that is apparent in each of the comments and it is generally related to resume content. I have been an administrative assistant for several years and was greatly impacted by the economic downturn (which is still not over!) I have had to “dummy down” my Resume and still be turned down as over-qualified. I have had to explain to HR Dept Mgrs. what some of my tasks involved because they didn’t understand the terminology/job description of my previous positions. Perhaps it would be a good activity to have the HR Hiring Managers go thru what the Interviewees are confronted with on a regular basis since several of them have no idea or no background for what they are doing. It is hard to “put yourself on paper” as a likely candidate for a position. I have often been told that I am not what my “profile” portrays–I am better! This is not to mention that some hiring managers are insecure to begin with. Also, they go thru this interview process and then the proper training is not available and they can’t understand why employees don’t stay around!


  8. Minnie
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 11:48:18

    I apply for a lot of simple jobs to get me started on gaining my own experience and still I don’t get the job because I don’t have the experience. I have some experience I know how to work hard and to learn quickly. I also a high school graduate and going to college and yet all the education in the world still can’t get a me a simple job.

    For example I applied to work at a restaurant where the manager said “we are in need of employees in all work areas such as a waitress, host, bus boy and other things no matter if they worked in a restaurant before or not.” Well I have never worked in one and I am in need of a job so I applied. It has been to two weeks and I went back after a week of applying and asked if they had received my resume and they said, “Oh yes, we have we are still waiting for a few things.”

    What things are they waiting for? What more do I need to do in order to get a job? I have tried every thing and I have a nice resume of doing jobs that are way harder than serving food at a restaurant.

    If anyone has any tips to get over the hump of having a no experience or how to get a job faster please let me know. I am willing to try and do anything.


  9. Patrick Burke
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 11:46:34

    Normally I’m a bit busy with life to look into your postings, but you caught me on a good day. I have to agree with most of what I read then I have a been looking for a job off and on since 2008. So you might say I have a unique perspective on the subject. That said I have a few things to add. First please don’t be too hard on the poor folks that are out of a job. If you’ve ever been out of work you are familiar with the employment service ( not very appropriately named) . It is a requirement to apply to so many jobs a week, and in my area , they don’t exist. So we try to think out of the box, maybe a bit too far, but they try. Then again I know some folks that have PhD’s that are flipping burgers.
    As for you’re HR friend (and hopefully my friend as well) While you are getting slammed with resumes I think you’ll find you have some help in the selection process. Many company’s have farmed the initial process out to 3rd parties who use software with “magic words” that weed out most of the applicants . Which is both good and bad. You usually end up with a bunch of padded resumes that passed the test. I have seen techs with a 2 page resume that can’t put the leads in a meter!
    Finally if you can’t find employee’s build them. It is good for morale an makes a good employee a better and more productive employee. Plus they know your company ,how it operates and what to expect. HR folks have been known to stretch things a bit too, to recruit that perfect candidate. Searching for a job is stressful so lets all try and get along. Who knows you might accidentally hire the next Bill Gates.


    • anitaclew
      Jan 26, 2016 @ 14:01:43

      Patrick, You bring up an interesting observation about out-of-work persons applying to any- and everything to meet the unemployment office’s quota for job applications.


  10. Nhon Do
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 10:29:43

    “Lack of training”? What does the training mean on this phrase? Is it the same as “experience”. If you have NO WORK, how can you have “experience”? Can a vocational school/college trainings can fulfill the “experience”? I think NO since I have experienced a lot about this! Diplomas todays are just only something to decorate yourself when you already had “experience”, if not, they are “invalid”.

    Now, back to NO EXPERIENCE, no job offered. This is really a fallacy. We all know that nowadays no two companies have the same system and culture. For this reason, as long as a job applicant has enough trainings needed for the applying job, it is fine to accept him or her. Furthermore, remember, experience, trainings, education is only one side of job analysis/description; the other more important side is duty, responsibility and sometimes including tasks.


  11. Deryk
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 10:07:16

    I understand the position of the HR representative. If you aren’t remotely qualified for a position, then it is a waste of their time to apply. However, I also see where having very rigid views of applicants can hurt hiring prospects. In my last position, I was encouraged to apply for a collections position in the accounting department. 6 months later my boss left and I became the supervisor for the department. I did well and even helped propel the company into position to be sold as the owners desired. There was no history to say that I would be good at that job if you look at my resume. However, my skills matched, as what the department truly needed was organization and vision for how to make it truly efficient. I was laid off in 2014 and was without work for quite some time. Employers only saw “Collections Supervisor” and immediately that was the only thing I apparently can do. They don’t seem to really consider the depth of what you may bring to the table. I am used to fighting against that and often have to apply to jobs that aren’t exactly what is on my resume. I was also a stock trader for about 10 years early in my career. I lived in Florida, which meant there were very few opportunities for that title. I was overlooked many times, I feel, because I didn’t have the title for certain jobs, although I know I had the skills given some training. I think training is underestimated and should be a consideration for those that don’t necessarily fit the mold on paper.


  12. Dane Bowen
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 09:48:51

    Wasting your time? Your job is to sort out things! Stop complaining! I’m guessing you’re over paid anyway. I’m a job seeker myself and I have more talents and skills that I could possibly write on a resume. I have politely asked that “you” please Narrow my search area to only to my limited two zip code areas, and you cant even do that right! So stop wasting “MY” time! No person can sort through thousands of jobs and successfully apply for several jobs all in a days time, each day! Be for real and do your job! “Maybe” just maybe some day you may actually earn the money you’re getting paid!


  13. Garry Van Amburg
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 09:14:08

    Regarding the large number of unemployed and under employed workers in the U.S. maybe the problem has more to do with free-wheeling Capitalism than with job seekers. Imagine the talent that is wasted under our current system, not to mention the enormous income insecurity our workers endure.


  14. Moonstone Mary
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 09:10:35

    I’m 3 months into a job that involves many complex activities performed in less time than available in the 20 hours a week that I work. All their training was done in modules in the first three weeks with no hands on work nor print out instructions for future reference. On top of that, the computer (accounting & data) system is more DOS based than window based. So you have to move through the fields as if it’s DOS and you HAVE to know what all the abbreviations mean (with no helps available). My off site supervisor left the company so my supervisor is even less experienced than I on this antiquated system. I am the only clerical person in this office so there is no help and no in person backup.

    I’m not a quitter but think I am going to have to look around at options. I’m due for a review this week so it may all come to a head. Being at the other side of 50, it took nearly a year to find a job so it’s making me very nervous.

    Yet, this is a large, well established insurance company that has a very high turnaround. But they don’t seem to want to fix any current problems to change that.

    Yes, I embrace learning new things. Keeping the brain active keeps one young. But being constantly thwarted from success by lack of training ages a person. However I must say, most feedback on my resume indicates I am overqualified because of my experience.

    If I could change a direction at this point in my career, I think I would love to be trained to work in a veterinarian’s office.


    • anitaclew
      Jan 26, 2016 @ 09:19:40

      Moonstone Mary, I think I’d choose warm fuzzy creatures over cold DOS computers any day!


      • Moonstone Mary
        Jan 26, 2016 @ 10:26:52

        INSERT SMILEY FACE HERE. Thanks Anita, I’m totally agreeing with you.


      • Garry Van Amburg
        Jan 26, 2016 @ 11:49:16

        Totally agree. I’m driving for Uber part time while conducting my job search and the training they give you is comprised of one 15 minute video. Some of the visualizations of the app are not up to date with the recent updates to the app and it’s difficult when you first start. They tell you riders prefer a text instead of a call to determine exactly where they are since the GPS navigation in the app often gives you incorrect locations. But that means you have to pull over to the side of the road to text whereas I can call them from my mounted smart phone, put it on speaker and talk to them legally while driving. At best, it gives you the block they are located in. I prefer in-person training with hard copy handouts to the type of training companies give you now.


        • patrick burke
          Jan 26, 2016 @ 15:21:00

          Just checked my mail and I have to say I am inspired by all of you that are biting the bullet and trying new fields. The original question was about a lack of training. Is the real question about training or the ability to learn? I think the only person who could possibly have all the skills for a certain job is the one doing it? There are some seemingly simple jobs that are done very well by folks everyday. They do that well not because they have the minimum qualifications that some manger scribble down when he had to give HR a description for the opening. They do that job well because of the other skills that they bring to the table. That and they care. The last guy didn’t and he left/was fired .
          Could we possibly be looking at this interview thing wrong? I have had much better luck with employees that can learn and want too. Some of the “professionals” in my area have all the qualifications but no incentive. So keep taking those utility jobs and soon your experience will turn into something good.


          • anitaclew
            Jan 27, 2016 @ 08:18:53

            Patrick, I’d much rather hire someone with drive and a good attitude than a more qualified candidate that lacks enthusiasm.


  15. Betty Rodgers
    Jan 26, 2016 @ 09:10:01

    That’s is so true


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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