Experience On Your Resume Isn’t Enough – Here’s What Is

Hiring managers in public finance want proof of your experience. Here's why & how to do that!

It is time to look at the word “experience”, and what it means as it relates to getting hired from both perspectives of the candidate and hiring managers in public finance. This should be a simple topic as if you are experienced, you would be in demand; however, that may not be the truth. The word “experience” can mean various things under different scenarios. Prior to COVID-19, experience with getting deals was looked at completely differently than it is seen today. Let me start off with a short story that happened to me when I was a hiring manager.

Don’t Judge A Person Based On Their Resume, Judge Them On The Facts

I had the pleasure of interviewing an experienced recruiter for our firm. I was looking forward to the interview process as I had the resume in front of me that reflected this particular candidate having over 10 years’ experience. Had I taken that fact at face value and not really delved deep into that person’s background, as hiring managers in public finance would state that I would have made a hiring “faux pas” with expectations of receiving a 10-year experienced individual. After an hour-long interview with lots of probing questions, I asked the following question, “Do you have 10 years of experience as a recruiter or do you have one year experience 10 times?” The reason I asked this question was because the person I was interviewing did not reflect 10 years’ experience in the recruiting industry in her answers. Her answer was, “I have three years of experience in 10 years.” I even doubted that.

Hiring Managers In Public Finance Want You To Prove It 

As you ponder the above scenario, think about either being a candidate or a client interviewing a prospective employee. Ask the question about their experience: Does that person in front of you truly have 10 years of experience or is it one to three years’ experience in 10 years? Because of COVID-19, all public finance professionals like yourselves have had to change the way they do business. They have had to change how they market and even how they do transactions. Have you made those changes? More importantly, can you demonstrate you have made those changes? Can you earnestly reflect upon last year to share with the hiring managers in public finance what you have experienced as well as how you have grown over the last year? In essence, can you show that you have 10 years of experience in 10 years?

How To Prove Your “Experience” With Hiring Managers In Public Finance

The candidates that are getting hired today are clearly able to demonstrate that. The hiring managers in public finance are drilling down more than ever before to ensure that you, as their prospective employee, can get the job done. The only way to share that is to be able to demonstrate your experience with clear cut examples of past performance.  It’s no longer good enough to say that you did X deals in the past years; therefore, you will need to show via EMMA or other databases that these deals were done and done by you.  The day of putting a business card down and getting a deal are gone – possibly forever. For the hiring manager, they must clearly believe that you are who you say you are and can do what you say you can do.  Experience counts if it is the right experience, and it can be shown. 

The End Of Our Example

Just to complete the story that I started, I did hire the applicant; however, with different expectations now that I knew it was one year experience ten times (or as she tried to convince me three years’ experience).  Only by drilling down with pointed questions and being open minded to the answers, I was able to ascertain this information.  Rest assured your hiring managers in public finance are doing this and more.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs so you never miss one. 

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.