Most career paths are less super-highway than long and winding road. As a result, most of us have a few twists and turns on our resume, which can make it look like we’re less committed to our present career goals than we actually are. The trick? To make those unrelated gigs work as well for us in the present as they did in the past.
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1. Find the common thread.
Over at The Muse, Katie Douthwaite discusses the challenges of spinning her early career — managing a cupcake shop, running a friend’s cleaning service — with her present goals.
“…[N]ow, a few years later, I’m able to look back and connect the dots along my career path,” Douthwaite writes. “Just one small example: Working at a small business (the cupcake shop), a startup (the cleaning company), and my current corporate job has given me a unique perspective and an arsenal of example situations that I can now use in my freelance writing work.”
2. Emphasize the aspects related to the present job.
Pick any three random jobs, no matter how disparate, and you’ll find that they have responsibilities and skills in common. The goal, when you’re interviewing, is not only to connect each of your previous jobs to the ones prior, it’s to tease out the skills you learned that will serve you in the job you’re interviewing for at the moment.
3. Don’t dismiss your experience.
Early on in her career, Douthwaite says that she would try to gloss over her experiences at the cupcake shop and the cleaning company. As a result, she might have looked less than confident, and also missed out on an opportunity to sell her experience.
Don’t be embarrassed about those early, seemingly unrelated jobs on your CV. All of your experience is what made you the sterling candidate you are today.
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