In today’s fragmented society it is of no surprise that people will change careers more often than, say, 50 years ago. According to Careers Advice Online, statistics reveal that a person will change careers 5-7 times in their working lifetime. To place this into perspective, that’s an average career change every 6.66 years of their working lifetime.

Employers vary in their outlook on career changers as much as the career types that employees decide to work within. For this reason, it’s important to layout what employers elicit from your diverse work experience.

Employer type number one: The employer that prefers you stay in one career.

We all know a "Jack of all trades, master of none". We may even be one ourselves. This phrase has quite negative connotations and for many people is an undeserved title. However, an employer may see job hopping and career changing as just that.

You see, an employer may be looking for a type of candidate who has staying power. A potential employee who will not run off at the first sign of stress or defeat. Now, I’m not saying you would do that, but you must understand how career changing perhaps looks in the eyes of an employer.

Unless the employer is looking to sell off their company or organization within a short space of time, does it not make sense that an employer would prefer save on training and hiring costs in future and employ a person who has a powerful skill that can be applied over a long period of time?

It is widely believed it takes at least 8 years to become a master of a specific skill set. As mentioned previously, a career changer will change careers within 6.66 years. I don’t have to tell you that’s not enough time to become a master of any given profession. An employer may think the same also.

A consistent career changer may also ring alarm bells with certain employers, especially traditionally minded employers with a strong top-down approach to management. In the grand scale of things, a career changer may never have had the time within one organization to rise through the ranks and work within a conciliatory and developing role between upper and lower management or with the organization at large.

The above is very different from the steadfast, gilt-edged employee with 10+ years of belt buckling rubber stamp experience and a desk full of loyalty, who, by all accounts, will have a significantly higher chance of rising through the ranks. The same employee will also develop the interpersonal skills to schmooze with all walks of life within the economic microcosm of an organization.

Employer type number two: Employers prefer your work experience to be varied.

As it’s becoming ever increasingly the societal norm to change careers, either out of choice or necessity, employers are growing in their acceptance of career changers.

One of the greatest mistakes that candidates do is to not relate their previous work experience to future careers that they plan to apply to. From an employer’s standpoint this can seem ‘flaky’ on your behalf; an employer almost always desires a focused potential employee who knows what they want.  A career changer therefore must consider these two important points for building a resume.

The first thing you should do, as you have a multitude of different experience in your career so far, is to nail down on your experiences tying achievements and responsibilities to the job description you are applying to. Secondly, you should tailor your career objective to the job description and showcase maybe one or two major achievements that fit said description.

By applying these two golden rules, your career changer resume will be one step ahead of your competition and will impress employers with your broad yet defined skills and your professional fortitude for change.

It is increasingly becoming apparent that employers are appreciating career changers. A career changer brings a dynamic perspective to an organization and also has the possibility of providing skills that more staid team members may be lacking, namely an open-minded approach to company culture, adaptability to unexpected scenarios and industry interrelated skill sets that can advance an organization’s mission objective.

In conclusion, it can be deemed a positive for a career changer to be a proud career changer as long they are able to reveal how career changing has improved their work related selves through their resume, at the interview and at their final destination within the workplace.

So, next time somebody calls you a "Jack of all trades, master of none", consider responding that you are at least a "Jack of all trades, master of some"!

This was written by our friend Joe Flanagan, A Senior Resume Consultant for Resume Companion and an all round great guy.
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