21 Most Common Collocations with Experience: Life experience, Personal experience,…

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As both a noun and a verb, experience is usually a great thing. You might hear the word used in many different contexts, because there are a lot of phrases that use experience!

Below, you will be able to find a list of these phrases that include the word experience. This is not a completely comprehensive list because of how common the word is, but if you are able to use these phrases, you should have a full and thorough understanding of it!

1. Personal experience

If you actually do something or see something yourself, you have that personal experience.

This usually means that what you have experienced is more valuable if you use it to explain something, or if you use it to describe why you support a certain way of thinking.

Having personal experience does not make you an expert, but other people are much more likely to believe you and listen to you.

Examples

  • Unless you have personal experience in this field, you probably will not understand what the experts are talking about.
  • Even though Caleb did not have personal experience being in that group, he was able to understand what those people were angry about.
  • Having a personal experience in a hotel leaves a really good impression of that hotel in your mind.

2. Life experience

Once you have had a lot of personal experiences, you are collecting life experience, which is a wisdom that comes with having seen many different systems, situations, people, cultures, and technologies, among other things.

People who have a lot of life experience – especially those who have traveled and lived in different countries, studied at least a Bachelor’s degree, and worked for different companies or started their own –are usually said to be very wise and have a lot of good information to share.

Examples

  • Collecting life experience is a little bit like collecting battle experience in a video game, but you are left with lots of great stories in the end.
  • It is really incredible that you have had so much life experience at such a young age!
  • Sometimes, people with a lot of life experience forget that many other people are beginners, and can make those people feel stupid if they are not careful.

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3. Lack of experience

If you have not yet done a lot of different, interesting things, you have a lack of experience. This just means that you have a lot of potential for growth in the future, and does not mean that you are stupid or less than other people.

However, it may mean that you are not qualified for some jobs, such as those that ask you to lead an extensive project.

Examples

  • I know that my lack of experience in this field seems odd, but I was able to play a lot of different roles at my last company since it was so small.
  • Some people try to substitute a lack of experience with more school (especially graduate school) or more training, but this is usually not a great alternative.
  • If you know that you might have a lack of experience when compared to other people applying for the job, make sure you know how to describe the experience that you do have well.

4. Wealth of experience

The opposite of having a lack of experience is having a wealth of experience. This means that you have a wide variety of different experiences, and you are more likely to know how to navigate different situations.

Some people will look at a resume that has a lot of different things as having a wealth of experience, but be careful because working a short time at many companies may not give you as much knowledge or as many skills as working at one company for a long time.

Examples

  • A lot of experience does not equate to a wealth of experience, especially when all those experiences have not been in-depth and insightful.
  • Having a wealth of experience has made Valerie highly qualified for the promotion to head of the company.
  • I hope that by the time I am old, I can acquire a wealth of experience.

5. Research experience

If you are in an academic or scientific field, having research experience may be a really important thing to have on your resume!

This means that you have experience doing some kind of research, whether that is in a lab working with skin cells or out in the field collecting data.

Nowadays, many students have the ability to get involved in research very early, so having research experience is an important asset for applying to graduate school or going into an industry that will rely on research.

Examples

  • My cousin said that he found a great research experience for this summer, so he will not be visiting us this year.
  • Sometimes, research experience can count for class credit because you often learn things more in-depth when you do research.
  • Only somebody with enough research experience would have been able to figure out that there was a problem with the budget, so don’t blame the student!

6. Gain experience

When you are collecting experiences, English speakers usually say that you gain experience. Gain is a common verb used to describe having different experiences and learning more about how to respond to different situations.

Examples

  • I have gained so much experience from traveling to different countries around the world that I can’t remember the days that I didn’t travel!
  • Don’t forget that an important part of gaining experience is the ability to think back and reflect on how those things helped you.
  • Bobby told everyone that he was gaining incredible experience by moving from city to city, but it turns out that he just wanted everyone to think that he was wise and look up to him.

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7. The ______ experience

Occasionally, you may see a brand with a logo saying Come have the ultimate spa experience! or something similar. In these cases, the experience means that the company offers you a complete package for something.

For example, the ultimate spa experience might include not only a spa treatment, but also a manicure, pedicure, massage, hot tub bath, etc. For these cases, you usually can expect to have a lot of small experiences that add up to the complete package.

Examples

  • Book a tour with us to get The Ultimate Cambodian Experience! That includes visiting Angkor Wat, the beach, and Killing Fields historical landmarks, a show with traditional Cambodian dance, and a massage!
  • If you live at home instead of on campus, you may miss out of activities that are classic for the college experience, like staying up really late and getting food with friends, or going to the gym to play a game of basketball with your student organization!

8. A human experience

human experience is something that everyone – or, at least, most people – will go through or feel throughout their lives.

Because instances are so common, saying that something is a human experience means that everyone that you talk to will understand what you are talking about.

Examples

  • Falling in love and subsequent heart break is a typical human experience.
  • When you are young, it’s easy to think that everything in your life is a typical human experience; it’s not until you’re older that you understand how different everyone is.
  • Even though parents always want to protect their children from things like betrayal and recovery from heart break, those are often part of the human experience!

9. Past experience

While most experience comes from the past, this phrase points to specific types of experiences. Past experience is the collection of things that have happened, whether they were to a country, to a person, or someone or something else.

When I talk about my past experience, I am always referring to all the past instances of something.

Examples

  • According to this company’s past experience, not listening to the market research will lead to a disaster.
  • Because of my past experience with this company, I have withdrawn my business with them and actively tell everyone that I know not to work with them.
  • Tom’s past experience in working with foreigners on finance-related projects have turned out to be huge successes!

10. In someone’s experience

If you want to talk specifically about the experience of a single person, you can use this phrase.

Examples

  • In my experience, democracy has led to societies that are more robust and willing to work together.
  • In the President’s experience, appealing to emotion is more effective in speeches than appealing to reason or logic.
  • Children are always talkative and bustling with energy, in the babysitter’s experience.

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11. Religious experience

If you are familiar with religion, you are likely familiar with the passion and emotion that can guide someone back to it over and over.

Something that is a religious experience can be literally associated with religion, such as going to a church retreat and feeling extremely empowered and closer to the religion.

However, it can also be used to describe something that is very stimulating for your senses, especially things that are so good that they border on overwhelming.

Calling something a religious experience is a major compliment, because it is so moving that you want to feel that feeling again.

Examples

  • Going to a One Direction concert was totally a religious experience – the loud music, the sway of the crowd, and the way that the boys command the stage make for an incredible show!
  • Eating any chocolate from Belgium is akin to a religious experience because of how creamy the flavors are, and how the candy just melts in your mouth.
  • Many people, especially younger people, are leaving religion because they no longer believe in the teachings, but they stick around the church because of the religious experience that they can get from attending mass every week.

12. Sexual experience

This phrase refers specifically to the experiences that someone has with sexual activity.

Examples

  • He likes to say that he has a lot of sexual experience, but don’t believe him because it’s all lies.
  • You should be able to have the amount of sexual experience that you want, and nothing more or less.

13. Practical experience

Practical experience usually refers to experience you have in the workplace. When you are applying for a job, your potential employer will want to see the kinds of experience you have that is directly related to the role that you might play with them.

This type of experience should be real tasks that you have done for other companies that are similar to yours; in other words, practical experience.

Examples

  • He did not think that his experience would transfer over when he switched from being a teacher to being a business owner, but it turns out he had a lot of relevant practical experience.
  • Having practical experience is more important than having a Master’s degree in most cases.
  • If you don’t have opportunities to get practical experience in your field, don’t be afraid to approach people to work for free or a very reduced price!

14. Hands-on experience

To say that you have hands-on experience means that you have been able to try something with your two hands, actually doing that thing. This is more and more important, especially for young people getting an education.

Someone who has hands-on experience, like being in a research lab or interning for a company in that industry, is preferable to someone who has only spent their time in the classroom learning from a book.

Examples

  • If John does not have opportunities for hands-on experience, he should try to create those opportunities.
  • If you have the right business connections, you may not need much hands-on experience in order to get a job.
  • The college tried to add hands-on experience as a requirement in their degree plans.

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15. Clinical experience

For any kind of health professional, clinical experience is the experience that they gain from seeing actual patients. Like any profession, this kind of practical experience is often more valuable than time spent only learning in a classroom.

Examples

  • Half of medical school is dedicated to clinical rotations so that future doctors can gain some basic clinical experience before becoming certified.
  • The dermatologist must have not paid any attention during his clinical experiences because he does not seem to know anything.
  • If you want to be successful in an application to medical school, you should get some basic clinical experience by shadowing a physician.

16. Extensive experience

Having a lot of experience means you have extensive experience.

Examples

  • The principal has extensive experience in teaching and tending to the students’ needs.
  • The new hire barely has any experience in this type of work but his work always seems like it was done by someone with extensive experience!
  • Derek is the best qualified candidate for heading our new project because he has extensive schooling and work experience in project management.

17. Valuable experience

An experience that is valuable is one that you have learned a lot from, especially if it was challenging, not paid, or not successful.

Examples

  • Traveling to South America for three months seems like just a lot of fun, but I think it was a really valuable learning experience as well.
  • The first time I tried to start my own business, it failed; however, it was a really valuable experience and allowed me to focus on the important things only for my second business.
  • I think you should take the internship; even though it’s unpaid, it will be really valuable experience for you when you want to apply for other positions.

18. Unrivaled experience

For experience to be unrivaled, it must be unmatched by other experiences or experience of other people.

Examples

  • Bill has unrivaled experience in fixing pipes, so it’s really hard to get appointment with him.
  • Staying at the hotel in the center of town is an unrivaled experience because every night includes a spa, four-course dinner, and a massage!
  • It takes unrivaled dedicated to gain unrivaled experience in anything.

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19. Relevant experience

If you are applying for a job, the company you are applying to will only be interested in your relevant experience, or the experience you have that directly relates to the job you want.

Even if you have lots of different experience, they might be interested only in the portion of it that is relevant.

Examples

  • When you put together a resume for a job, only list your relevant experience if you have a lot of different work experience.
  • Once you have relevant experience, it is much easier to have confidence in yourself when you face a challenge or setback.
  • For some things, it’s really important to have relevant experience, but it’s completely unnecessary in others.

20. Experience in _____

If you want to specify the kind of experience that you have, you can use the structure experience in this field. This is very useful if you are speaking about your qualifications for something.

Examples

  • I don’t have a lot of experience in managing engineering projects, specifically, but I do have experience in management.
  • Most of my professional experience so far has been in maternal and infant health, but I want to branch out into different areas of public health.
  • You have no experience in working with children, so you think that it does not take a lot of energy to take care of a preschool class.

21. Quite an experience

This phrase is used more in the United States than in the UK, as quite means very in American English but means not very in British English.

If you say something is quite an experience to an American, you mean that something is very interesting and worthwhile!

Examples

  • Riding in first class on an airplane, especially across continents, is quite an experience if you have never done it before!
  • Traveling alone for the first time is quite an experience since you get to be very free and have to rely on yourself for so many things.

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