How to explain a wandering career path to a potential employer

Photo credit: hockadilly, Creative Commons/Flickr
Photo credit: hockadilly, Creative Commons/Flickr

If you have had various, seemingly unrelated jobs, chances are you worry about how to present yourself to a potential employer. After all, too many jobs can come across as having a lack of stability and focus.

However, there are ways to demonstrate how your diverse set of experiences can make you a great employee. A recent post on 99u shares a few tips on how to explain your wandering career path:

Find the common threads, and use them to tell a good story.

No matter how random or varied your experiences, there is always a common thread. An interest you have, or an experience you were seeking, or a skill you were trying to develop. So think hard, and find that thread. Use it to tell a story that says something about you as a person – something more compelling than just having “put your time in” at one job for several years.

“Absolutely. Well, I think the best way to describe that time was that I was searching for the best way to develop my creative side in a way that made sense, in a way that actually benefited people and I could feel the impact. It definitely took some time to find that.”

Sell your versatility.

That background is your proof that you can handle uncertainty and come out better for it. They don’t have to take it on a leap of faith that you can dive into new things and get your bearings quickly – the proof is right there. In a world where every company and organization is moving quickly in a changing landscape, and every hiring manager needs you to onboard quickly and as painlessly as possible, these are great traits to have. Use that as a source of confidence for yourself.

“I’m sure I can come up to speed on this quickly. The situation seems similar to when I did XYZ – and that project went well in terms of bla bla bla. I’m also reminded of my time at ABC where the main challenge we faced was [insert here] – just like this role/project.”

Click here to read the rest.

Has having a diverse set of work experiences made it challenging for you to find work? How do you explain your experiences to potential employers?

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Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.


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