The Antidote for the” Five Year Curse”

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In my previous blog I wrote about an anomaly commonly found in the labour market that discriminates against young business professionals and trades people, referred to as “5 year curse”.  To bring everyone up to speed, I define the “5 year curse”  as the assumption in the business world that in order to interview qualified applicants for available positions they must have a minimum of 5 years experience.

As a young professional with only 3 years of experience, I would like to take this opportunity to point out this injustice, lack of social responsibility, as well as suggest how candidates and employers can together to reduce the impact of  the “5 year curse”. 


Assess your demand for professionals within various areas of specialty, look at your succession plan, growth, organizational design and gain awareness for the need of professionals for the next 5 to 10 years.  Now think of the competitors, suppliers, and clients in your industry, and gain a full awareness of the up and coming demand that is and will be required.  Where are these professionals coming from?  Ask yourself “what am I doing for my business community to develop the labour market that I myself will be calling on in the future?”

  • Analyze your current recruitment and selection strategy.
  • Have a look at your organizational structure and estimate your future needs.
  • Have a look at your current workforce. Are you top end heavy?
  • Build a relationship with local educational institutions.
  • Create a marketing campaign to show your willingness to build your own future and show the public your active social responsibility.


You won’t break through the doors feeling sorry for yourself.  Take action.

  • Apply for all positions that align with your experience and education (even if they state 5 year minimum)
  • Use networking to your advantage, talk to any business connections, university prof’s, and friends of the family and let them know you are looking to develop your career
  • Join local groups affiliated with your area of study and attend luncheons and seminars (i.e. Saskatchewan Association of Human Resources Professionals) use these events for personal development and to increase your network.
  • Take advantage of social media.  Ensure you have an up-to-date well maintained profile and post your status to demonstrate your desire to gain employment. Visibility can be key.
  • Ensure your resume and cover letters are individually tuned to each position you apply for to accurately and effectively market yourself.
  • Be prepared for interviews and demonstrate confidence and capability. You may not be a seasoned professional but you are capable and that’s all the employer needs to see.

About the Author:

Coralee is the “rookie” of the office, but she doesn’t let that slow her down! Armed with a Bachelors degree in Human Resource Management, experience working with her family’s private business, and a forward thinking nature she is ready to take on anything that is thrown her way. Coralee has a talent for achieving forward motion. Her fresh perspective and ability to “think outside the box” adds a crisp quality to her contribution in projects. Determined to develop her career in Human Resources, she has landed in just the right spot, rubbing shoulders with a variety of dynamic seasoned professionals. Coralee graduated from Dickinson State University where she competed on the Varsity Athletics Rodeo Team for the Blue Hawks. Coralee is an accomplished cowgirl having competed at various levels of rodeo throughout the United States and Canada. Her love for animals doesn’t stop at horses she is the proud owner of a 90 pound Staffordshire terrier named “Chauncey”.

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