Molding Eclectic Background into Future Career


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Will writes: I have a whole lot of experience, but not a tremendous amount of in any one area. How could I narrow down my choices so I know what kind of job to pursue? Also, what would be the best way to lay out my resume?
The Career Doctor responds: There’s good news and bad news here. As employers continue to downsize and have employees multitask by combining job functions, there is certainly a need for job-seekers who have multiple talents and abilities. On the other hand, job-seekers without a specific focus will rarely ever get a second look from employers. So, as you mention, your task is to find a way to parlay your years of varied job experiences into some cohesive strategy that plays itself out on your resume. You don’t want to be seen as someone who does not know what you want to do, or one who gets easily bored. What is it you want to do next? If you truly have no clue, take the time to conduct some self-assessment. First, spend some time reviewing all your experiences (work, hobby, etc.) and make two lists — one with activities you enjoy and one with activities you never want to do again. You could also consider taking one or more assessment tests, many of which you can find online. Once you have a better picture of your likes and interests, the next step is researching careers that closely match your profile. Take the time to do this important career exploration. There are a lot of online and print resources that can help you in this process. My favorite is the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. Once you’ve identified a career path (or paths), the next step is finding employers in that field — and developing a strategy for breaking into it. In any job market, but especially in this job market, your key to success is building a new network for your new career. Find and join professional organizations in your new career field, use alumni networks to find people in your new career field. Use the Career Exploration Resources section of Quintessential Careers to help you. All sorts of great resume-writing tools can be found in the Resume Resources section of Quintessential Careers.