How many times have you been rejected from a job screening process only to be told that you did not provide proof of demonstrable experience. Providing proof of demonstrable experience is a major part of a successful job search in Canada. The job poster clearly states to demonstrate that you have the skills, experience and the education for the job in question. Yet, so many of us – armed with years of experience and education to boot – can hardly demonstrate this. I have to admit – its not easy. Each job poster is different and you really have to tailor every sentence – yes every sentence – both in your cover letter and resume to the specific job posting. A generic resume and cover letter will simply not do. The only thing that is demonstrable about that approach – is that you are not qualified for the position. So how do we get over this hurdle. Here are some tips to provide the all elusive demonstrable experience:
1. List your Dates
Yes I know its in your resume – but I didnt mean the dates you held the job – I meant the dates you fulfilled all of the experience youve listed as relevant to the job. So if youve supervised 12 IT Technologists on an IT project – state the specific dates you held these supervisory responsibilities in your cover letter. This will give HR an idea of how long you supervised said IT technologists on said project. Projects these days are highly specific and are like mini-ecosystems themselves. The type of supervisory skills you exhibit or need on one IT project may be different on another project. This is an important distinction and helps to prove you have the demonstrable experience in this category.
Before: Supervised IT Technologists
After: Supervised 12 IT Technologists on a large complex IT architecture project from March 2012- April 2014
2. Provide a Range (Figures)
If the job posting asks for financial experience say managing budgets and expenditures, providing demonstrable experience dictates that you give not only the dates as above but a budget estimate. Employers will want to know what size budget you managed and over how many fiscal cycles. Bonus to you if you did this over multiple fiscal years it shows that you closed out the year end and opened it too! You need to put this – and also demonstrate that you know what to do when opening and closing said year end. This will demonstrate hiring managers that you know what you are talking about.
- Before: Streamlined security processes by upgrading surveillance equipment.
- After: Managed project to upgrade surveillance equipment, resulting in increased access to real time data and a saving of $300,000 to $400,000 per year.
If you have more of a customer focus or client-centric position, consider adding how many people you interact with or serve. Even soft skills come to life with a few numbers thrown in.
- Before: Responsible for chairing the Working Group responsible for streamlining service delivery.
- After: Chaired Working Group of 12 service delivery experts on streamlining service delivery (date as above) with the result of streamlining operations and improving efficiencies by 80%.
Now that weve established that to show demonstrable experience you have to use dates and a range, the other aspect to prove demonstrable experience is to add frequency. One of the easiest ways to show demonstrable experience is to cite the frequency of performing certain tasks. Adding frequency will demonstrate that you have performed it multiple times in varying contexts reporting to all levels. This is particularly helpful in illustrating your work in high-volume situations—a hiring manager will be able to see just how much you can handle.
- Before: Planned multiple stakeholder meetings on behalf of the
- After: Planned over 20 multiple stakeholder consultation meetings from June 2012 to Jaunary 2014 dealing with all logistics and handled preparation of all meeting materials, including meeting agendas and presentations.