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.
职业专家看到现在杂而不精的求职者越来越多，他们将这一现象归因于几个不同的因素。在Career Sherpa公司工作的职业策划师汉娜摩根说: “由于经济衰退期间全面的裁员，工人被迫从事他们十分不想要的工作，这份工作并不是最适合他们的。”在千禧一代里有积极进取精神的人也开始起作用。如果千禧一代不能很快得到他们所想要的晋升，他们往往会转向更理想的位置。摩根说，即使这并不符合他们的职业轨迹。
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.
SPIN YOUR BRAND
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.
In addition, "generalists can provide a broad perspective to the business, which can be very valuable," says Sharlyn Lauby, an author, speaker, and president of consulting firm ITM Group. "But organizations still need generalists to produce—so make sure your resume can show specific results, and quantify them whenever possible." Including a line like "mastered new operating procedures and increased efficiency by 15% within three months" highlights how you’ve made a speedy, measurable improvement.
Without those details, your resume could send the wrong message. "If you are not specific about your contributions in each role on your resume, some readers may assume the reason you keep moving from job to job is that you aren’t succeeding or you don’t know what you want to do," says Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers. "Instead of just creating a laundry list of the tasks you’ve done in each role, incorporate detailed explanations of skills you used and outline your accomplishments."
She suggests reading through your resume, and for every item listed, ask yourself, "So what?" Your bullet points should bring to light explicit, ideally quantifiable outcomes that you’ve achieved.