What is the experience base and why is it an important factor of your career management? I would like to use the analogy of the Egyptian pyramids. If you have a broad base, then the pyramid is high. With the career progression it is similar. If we have a broad base, then we can go far in our career. But it is not only a question about how broad it is, it is probably also a question about how robust, how solid this experience base is. In this article we will explore both aspects.
A broad experience base
Let’s start to discuss what it means to have a broad experience base. Let me give you the example of someone who had a sales force management experience, a marketing experience and finance experience. Well that obviously makes the experience base broader compared to someone who has grown – only for example – through the sales force management route only.
So the functional experience is important, but there are other elements are contributing to the experience base as well, such as for example if someone has worked in different countries and had international management experience that would make the base broader. If someone has worked in different industry sectors, that would make it broader as well.
A robust experience base
Now let’s look at what it means to have a robust, as solid base. This should be assessed in view of the requirements of the position I am aiming for. You may encounter people who have a broad base, but where certain of the critical components are missing in view of the type of career progression that they want to have. So in order to be ready for the role that I am aiming for, I might have to make a lateral move first in order to add the missing experience to my base.
Let me give you an example form my own professional development. When I had moved into HR, I moved relatively quickly into mulita-country responsibilities, first of a Zone and later of a Region. But I had never been HR Director of a country. And that of course is a very important experience to have when you want to grow in your HR career, because it is at country level that you gain deep experience in social relations and operational HR work. So that experience in my case for example was very important to gain and I accepted to take a step down to spend a couple of years in a country.
We want to have a diverse experience base and we want to have a robust experience base, so that the pyramid of our career that we will build on that base is solid.
More information in my book:
Sven Sommerlatte : Successful Career Strategy – An HR Practitioner’s Guide to Reach Your Dream Job (Springer, June 2023). ISBN: 978-3-662-66790-3