Has On-The-Job Training Gone Extinct?

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Gail Belsky, job search tips I lost out on a job last week because I was told I don't have the right experience, or enough of it. I probably don't have all of the right skills, either, but that's not the problem. You can learn new skills in a day, but being experienced at something takes time.

There's nothing I can do about my lack of experience in digital media right now (the issue in this particular instance) -- I haven't done what I haven't done. But clearly, for some positions, it's going to be an obstacle for me.

This wasn't the first time I've encountered the experience vs. skills dilemma. It came up a month or so ago in a conversation I had with a potential employer. In that case, I was missing certain technical skills that the job demanded -- but I told the interviewer that I knew someone who could teach me the software in a weekend.

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That didn't fly. Even if I learned the program, I didn't have years of practical experience using it. And that's what the employer wanted.

I get it. Knowing and doing are two different things. Employers have good reason to be very careful about hiring. It's expensive when you make a hiring mistake. So I understand why employers are looking for people who are as close to a perfect match as possible. Makes total sense. I'd rather have my hair cut by a seasoned pro than by someone who just earned their scissors at cosmetology school. But as Claire Gordon, an AOL Jobs writer, recently reported, some employers are taking longer to fill positions as they look for the "ideal" candidate.

So, assuming I go out and learn what I need to learn in, say, video production, how am I supposed to overcome my lack of experience in it? I guess I could try to find a volunteer position or small freelance project that allowed me to practice those skills. But would that be enough, when other job candidates have done it professionally for years?

I'm not sure what the answer is. Hopefully, some employers will care less about length of experience with regard to certain skills, or be open to on-the-job training. And if I'm really lucky, I'll find one who values the experience I have more than the experience I don't.

What about you? Have you had this experience, and how have you handled it?
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