Experience Vs. Knowledge and Why Experience is More Important


As recruiters we speak with professionals that come in all shapes and sizes.  Everyone is different and has their own personal, unique background, education and skillsets.   The article below and the graphic above illustrates the difference between knowledge and experience in the real world.   Simply put, an education will help you understand many different things, and will allow you to accumulate information,  but it’s experience that allows us to understands how to effectively use this knowledge and information.  Education is important.  All of our clients will agree with this statement.  However, there is something to be said for hands-on, professional experience and efficacy in the real world.  Lets put it this way, education is the peanut butter and jelly, but experience is the bread that keeps it all together!  Without the bread, it can get pretty messy, but without the peanut butter and jelly, the bread doesn’t have much flavor.

We hope you enjoy the article as much as we did.

When you were a kid growing up, I am sure you heard the saying: Knowledge is Power.

by Hayley Hobson published on Elephant Journal on August 14th, 2013:

Our culture emphasizes knowledge. Everywhere.

Schools are extremely mind oriented. For example, knowledge and information are taught to be more important than experience. By the time our children graduate from high school, they will have spent more time acquiring facts and abstract information they will never be able to apply.

You with me?  

Remember all that calculus you learned in high school? It comes in handy when you are counting quarters at the grocery store, paying at the gasoline pump with your credit card, managing your Facebook accounts, organizing your life and when you are negotiating with your husband or wife. Right?


You learn a lot of this “great” information, but what kind of knowledge are you being taught that will help you apply towards your life, your relationships and your career? What kind of information are you learning that really helps you feed your body, your mind and your soul? Are these learning tools going undeveloped unless we seek them out later in life?

More often than not, we send our children out into the world chalked full of “knowledge,” yet with hardly any life experience. And yes, they do need to get out into the ‘real world’ for that kind of knowledge is to be applied. But isn’t there anything else we can do to prepare them?

Our careers make up at least 25 percent of our lives, while the relationships we have with our partners, children, co-workers, friends and ourselves make up the remainder of our lives.

It took me an extremely long time post-college to untangle who I was and wanted to be.

Did you know what you wanted? What kind of career you wanted to have? Did you feel like you were ready to walk into adulthood programmed to produce and succeed?

I didn’t. That’s for sure. I threw myself into a career that I had been “educated” to do. A career that I thought would reflect my self worth. Bummer when I decided I friggin’ hated it. So now what was I supposed to do? Where would my education take me? And what real life experience did I have? None.

It would have been great if I could have been taught to listen to my inner wisdom.

Note to self: Teach my children to do that now.

But instead, the emphasis had only been on education. Some good. Some useless. And while I’m not saying that a decent education is worth a million bucks, I do wish that I had been taught how to experience a deeper knowing. And that deeper knowing and experience is called wisdom.

So I encourage you:

Go sky-diving so you can not only imagine it, but so you can have the inherent knowledge of what it really feels like to go sky-diving.

Let yourself feel the pain of a breakup so you know what it feels like to experience heartbreak.

Take a career risk so you know what it feels like to have reached for your dreams.

Without experience, there will never be true knowledge. You may think you know, but only with experience will you have anything more than grasping at an idea.

I have just given you my two cents on why experience is so important to me in life. Do you think our culture emphasizes knowledge over and above experience?