Source | FastCompany : By Molly Triffin
They say variety is the spice of life—but it can be downright poisonous to your career path. Maybe it took you a while to figure out your passion, so you dabbled in this and that. Perhaps you made a few detours in light of the tough job market. Or maybe you’re one of the millions of people juggling distinct part-time gigs rather than one full-time role.
Exploring different options can work in your favor because it broadens your experience and exposes you to a variety of fields. Problem is, when you apply for a position you really want that speaks to your skill set and professional goals, hiring managers might pass you up in favor of candidates who took a more linear route.
Career experts are seeing an increase in jack-of-all-trades job hunters, something they attribute to a couple of different factors. “Because of all the layoffs during the recession, workers were forced to take jobs they didn’t really want that might not have been the best fit,” says Hannah Morgan, career strategist at Career Sherpa. The go-getter spirit of the millennial generation also comes into play. If millennials don’t receive promotions as quickly as they’d like, they tend to move on to a more desirable position, says Morgan, even if it’s not exactly on their career trajectory.
Yet despite all the job hopefuls with generalist backgrounds, employers are increasingly seeking candidates who have specialized expertise. Since there’s no longer an expectation of lifetime employment with a single company, many companies aren’t committed to developing and training employees, Morgan says. “They know someone is out there who has the exact skills they want, and it makes their lives easier not to train them,” she says.
If your resume features some seemingly unconnected positions, the trick is to weave them together into a cohesive narrative that assures employers you possess the skills they’re after and gets them excited about hiring you. Here are strategies that can help you do just that—so you can transform your job-hopper history from a liability to an advantage.
Take a hard look at where you’ve been career-wise and where you want to go. Then begin to paint a picture for hiring managers that explains why your job history actually has been a logical progression, although your path has been circuitous. For example, you had one job in marketing and another in accounting because ultimately you want to manage a company, and you sought experience in both departments to round out your knowledge.
Once you bridge each job to the next, make light of the benefits of having a generalist background. Rather than something to play down, you recast it as a marketable skill. “Let’s say an employer wants someone who comes up to speed quickly,” Morgan says. “A job-hopper has done that.” In your resume and cover letter, brand yourself as someone who makes a fast impact in the workplace.