You are Jack-of-all-trades

A match for everything, is match for nothing.

A Job Opening is to assist the company in solving Specific Problem; not everything.
They are not in crisis …. Become A “Swiss Army Knife” Instead

Don’t make this classic mistake in job search

At Pathfinders, we get emails that go something like this:

Dear Pathfinders,

I lost my job after working for more than 12 years at the same company. In that time, I had a variety of responsibilities. I worked in a half-dozen departments. As the company changed, I would take on new projects as needed.
I was a “Jack-of-all-trades.”

I thought when I lost my job I’d find it easy to get a new one because of all I have done. I’ve got so many skills and abilities, my resume is three pages long.
And yet, I can’t seem to get an interview. As I research positions on job boards, I find myself saying, “I can do that!” But, having applied to over 40 jobs, I’ve yet to get a single interview.

What am I doing wrong?

The answer is simple: When you try to look like a match for everything, you match nothing.

When a company has an open position, what they really have is a particular problem that needs to be solved. The person choose to hire will be the one that can solve the problem the best and is priced right.

Do not overwhelm hiring managers. In fact, you distract them to the point they are unable to see you as a match. Not only do you appear overqualified, but they may also assume you are overpriced as well…resulting in your resume going in the “no” pile.

If you find yourself in the Jack-of-all-trades situation, better re-tool yourself to appear more like a Swiss Army Knife: be clear in what each of your key skills is good for and demonstrate them with precision.

Identify the top 5 skill sets you want to leverage in your next position.   
You have many skills, but you need to focus hiring managers on the skills you are most passionate about using on a daily basis so you can find a job that plays to your strengths.

Map out how those skills support an employer in solving a problem.
Clarify how will you use these skills specifically to save and/or make the company money. Ask yourself, “What pain will I alleviate when I utilize these skills for an employer?”

Remember: Applied knowledge?

Quantify your track record of success in these key skills.
You need to be able to back up your abilities with facts. Articulate examples of how you have used each of these skills to help an employer so you can justify the cost of hiring you.

Optimize your career tools (i.e. resume & LinkedIn profile), so they reflect your problem solving expertise using the skill sets you chose to showcase.                               Simplify these documents so the text clearly supports your area of focus. Less is more. Give hiring managers enough information to confirm you can do the specific job without overwhelming them. Your career tools should say, “I can do the job you need, but you’ll need to contact me to learn more.”

Finally, enhance your network

Once you’ve gone from branding yourself as a generalist to a specialist, you need to do one more thing: start a proactive job search.

Just because you revamped your professional identity to be better suited for specific jobs, doesn’t mean employers will start responding to your online applications.
If you really want to get an employer’s attention, you need to increase your networking efforts so you can spread the word about your special problem solving abilities as a way to get referred into positions.

Meet Kevin, A Jack-of-all-Trades

Kevin spent the last 14 years working for the same employer managing their presence in the U.S. They recently decided to eliminate operations in America, which meant they no longer needed Kevin. As Kevin started to conduct his job search, he realized his job had evolved over the years. He found it hard to define himself and identify job opportunities he was a match for. Why? Like many people who stay with companies for an extended period of time, Kevin had become a “jack-of-all-trades.” As you’ll see, the problem is potential employers wrongly view him as a “master of none.”


Kevin needs to select a specific area of expertise to showcase to employers. When you can explain in detail how you solve an employer’s problem and alleviate their headaches in a particular area, they will be more interested in hiring you.

Kevin will start by identifying what he enjoyed most about his work over the last 14+ years and tie that to how he saved or made his employer money. When you match what you like to do to how it impacts the bottom line of your employer, it shows you understand why you get paid. This is very attractive to hiring managers. They need to know you recognize the importance of providing enough value to justify the cost of employing you.

LinkedIn Profile Offers Great Opportunity to Stand Out

Kevin’s next step is to revamp his LinkedIn profile. This is one of the most important tools a job seeker can use today. You must build a professional brand online as a way to stand out. Four out of five hiring managers review a candidate’s profile online before contacting them. LinkedIn is currently the most popular recruiting tool used by businesses today. The better the profile, the better the chances employers find Kevin and reach out to him about employment opportunities.

Photo & Headline = The 1st Impression

Studies show recruiters are 7X more likely to click on a candidate’s profile when they have a picture. Your profile picture is very important. Kevin’s current picture isn’t bad, but it could be better. He needs to level the camera so that it doesn’t feel like he is “looking down” at the viewer. He also need to shoot from the shoulders up and bring the shot in closer. Kevin should keep an engaging smile on his face. The goal is to have a close-up that gives the impression you are happy, confident and pleasant to work with.

In a time when recruiters and hiring managers are getting inundated with applicants for job postings, one technique they quickly learn to master is the art of “skimming” resumes. They just don’t have time to read each resume word-for-word. Instead, they glance at it quickly and look for key info. If they don’t see what they need, you’re tossed.

You’ve Got Six Seconds

I was recently told the average recruiter spends about six seconds on a resume and then decides whether to keep reading, or toss it in the ‘no’ pile. Additionally, their eye works in a Z pattern, meaning left-to-right across the top of the resume, and then back down the left-hand side.

Top-Fold = Prime Real Estate

This means the top part of your resume is where all the action is. If you don’t, “Get them at Hello,” you won’t be moving on. So, here are a few tips:

1) Don’t waste the top-fold with a long-winded, self-serving promotional paragraph. It won’t get read. Objective statements and overly salesy intros don’t work either.

2) Create an “Experience Summary” that lists quantifiable skills and the key information required to even get a shot at the job.

3) Don’t use a font smaller than 11 point or in a fancy style. Too hard on the eyes.

Remember, Resumes Don’t Get You Hired!

Even if you create an effective resume, please don’t assume it will greatly improve your chances of getting a call from an online application. These days, 8 out 10 resumes aren’t even seen by human eyes. Most online applicants never get a shot at the job they apply to. Why? 80%+ of all jobs filled today can be attributed to referrals. Someone inside the organization refers the candidate that gets hired. Hiring a referral is a lot easier than going blurry-eyed reviewing hundreds of online applicants. Plus, the referral makes them more credible, as compared to an online applicant nobody has worked with.

You need to get your optimized resume in the hands of hiring managers. That usually happens when you know them, or know someone who knows them.
It’s far less likely to happen when you blindly apply online and hope for the best.

A good resume needs to be used with a proactive job search strategy. All the formatting in the world won’t change the odds of it getting reviewed. The only thing that does is a referral!

Suresh Shah, M.D., Pathfinders Enterprise

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