Every job seeker wants to know the answer to this question. In trying to create the perfect resume and to choose the best jobs to apply for, there are ways to focus on one or the other. What is our answer?

It depends.

When Experience Wins

If a company is looking for someone to hit the ground running, experience is paramount. There may not be training available or resources to provide it. Especially if someone is being brought on to complete a project that already has a deadline, specific experience requirements are a good idea.


For hiring managers, make sure job listings say clearly what skills are required. Software packages and levels of expertise should be listed in the requirements.


For job seekers, if a job posting looks very particular, the company probably need candidates who have done those things before because they will not want to train. Evaluate this listing carefully before applying.

When Trainability Wins

A company that has long-term plans and growth strategies in place can afford to train smart people with transferable skills. If a company culture wants their teams all working the same way, using the same systems, they need adaptable people who can learn to fit into their existing dynamics.


The job descriptions can be less specific for skills, but more specific for development, education and the kind of challenges candidates may be faced with.

A resume tailored for this style of job description should feature bullet points that show accomplishments that were obstacles overcome, growth achieved and especially changes in responsibilities.

Attention to the tangible requirements of a job serves both sides of the hiring process. More appropriate candidates speed up the hiring process and applying to more appropriate jobs leads to less frustration for job seekers.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative