Difference between Total Experience and Relevant Experience

Working as a professional for several years helps you get the title of work experienced individual. Every individual works for many years in his corporate life cycle, which includes working on many different kinds of projects. Different projects may all come under different domains. So, to keep the relevant job experience in specific domains, experiences in different domains must be segregated and must be used on your resume according to the kind of job profile you apply for next.

Total Experience

Total work experience is nothing but the sum of all the years that you have worked. It means the addition of all the years of professional experience in different domains in various companies. Not all years of work experience may contribute to a single, specified field, well, you can be really lucky if it does! But most of the people have a varied past job experience, which is a great thing as this means that the individual has knowledge about many areas and this rich knowledgebase can be utilized in various scenarios if the need arises. This need may arise under special circumstances, but companies need people for specific job descriptions. So, here the need to segregate your work experience into different slots as per the requirement arises.

Relevant Experience

Here comes the idea of relevant experience. Any work experience that can enhance your resume, make you a better candidate for the job role offered, portrays you in a positive light, gives you an advantage over your fellow candidates, can be counted as relevant experience. It must also be in sync with the job profile that you are thinking of applying for. Relevant experiences can be counted as any of the followings:

  • The most obvious one- Past jobs
  • Internships in a particular domain
  • Volunteering work
  • Work was done as a freelancer
  • Academic projects in schools/colleges
  • Extracurricular activities

Any of the above experiences can be showcased as relevant experience for a particular job as at last, any employer wants to hire the individual who can perform the job best from the pool of all other candidates.

Difference between CV, Resume and Biodata

Tips On How to Include Experience in Your Resume

  1. Leaving out any kind of experience that may not apply to the current job that you work for, can backfire as it might reflect as a gap in your resume and explaining it can be quite challenging.
  2. You must include all kind of work experience you have in your resume but must give a detailed explanation of the relevant ones.
  3. Resume must be customized according to the needs of the target company. For example: if there are two companies X and Y, both require a sales manager, but company X requires the candidate to have field experience, while company Y does not, so you will have to tailor-make your resume accordingly.
  4. Always go for quality of your work rather than cramming up your resume only to show the quantity of your work experience, as it may give a perception to the employer that sticking and performing in one particular field can be troublesome to you.
  5. Highlight your achievements and skills in the fields as required by the job profile.

So, segregating your relevant experiences from the total experiences is extremely useful when applying for a new job. Otherwise, it can lead to some unnecessary troubles. For example, if you are applying for a post of a retail manager and your resume highlights your previous job experience as a waiter working in a restaurant. Agreed that no job is small or big, but what relevance does the experience of a waiter has when applying for the post of a retail manager? So, this is the reason that shows how is the total experience different from the relevant experience.

Examples to Show What Count As Relevant Experience

Let us take an entirely hypothetical example here:

Let say you are applying for a job as a customer care representative. And you have a total work experience of 3 years. 1 year as a code developer in some company, 1 year as a cashier in a 5-star restaurant, and 1 year as a client service coordinator. So, here your total work experience is of 3 years. But does your experience as a code developer, the skills attached to this role is of any relevance to the job applied as a customer care representative? The answer is NO. Both the cashier and the client service coordinator must continuously talk to people throughout their day, understand their needs, and provide them service accordingly. So, here the skills of both these experiences are relevant. So, the relevant experience here counts as 2 years as opposed to the total experience of 3 years.

So, understanding the difference between total experience and relevant experience can help to a great extent in modifying your resume to make it suitable for the job profile that you want to apply for. Relevant experiences act as one of the most important factors that recruiters use while getting you on-board. Having experience and making those experiences count as checklists on your resume is a great way to move forward in your corporate life. So, be wise, and make your experiences count!

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