Looking for a better job? While no magic trick will get you the position of your dreams, you can greatly improve your chances if you have multiple talents that intersect.
Varied Talent Is Better
You might not expect that jobs for a medieval art lawyer, a French-Canadian copywriter specializing in nutrition, or a customer support representative with experience in film contract administration actually exist, but they do. Specific jobs that require the intersection of often unrelated skills show up in job listings regularly. Even when you apply to a job that appears more conventional, your additional talents — no matter how irrelevant they may seem — can offer you an advantage.
That’s important because passion may not be enough in itself. Highly talented, ambitious lawyers make a lot of money — but most lawyers don’t. When you try to be the best at one broad thing, you open yourself up to an large amount of competition. When you apply for specific jobs that utilise all your talents, even the apparently disconnected ones, you’re suddenly a big fish swimming in a small pond. When looking for work, that’s the ideal situation.
As humans, we have difficulty making decisions when we have too much information. No matter how well-qualified you are, you might not get noticed due to information overload. When you have to interview many candidates, it’s very easy to only get a limited picture of each one. When you have multiple relevant talents, you’ll rise to the top and set yourself apart.
Grow The Talents You Already Have
People who have focused on a particular goal their entire life often believe they have just one key talent. Most of us, however, have hobbies and other interests. While we might not have the polished skill set required for professional work, growing such an interest to that point is not only easy but something we enjoy doing.
Let’s pretend you’re a lawyer and you have a few hobbies: cooking and cars. While you can’t grill a steak during a deposition, you can pitch your services towards restaurants, bakeries and other food-related establishments, as well as seek out work related to food issues. If you love cars and know plenty about them, that puts you at an advantage when applying for legal jobs at car manufacturers. Business running motor shows or building self-driving cars require lawyers as well. While these are just a handful of examples, most career paths have various places where your interests can help you get a job if you grow them into skills you can promote in a job interview and on your resume. Sometimes, these skills can even help you get work when you have no relevant experience.
Companies Like To Utilise Multi-Talented Workers
People who can do more than one thing, whether it’s in their job description or not, offer added value to a company. You may have a primary role such as sales, but if you also have design skills you could potentially help the company with promotions. If you work as an assistant but know how to code, you can write an app to automate a lot of your work so you have time to get more things done. When you have an extra skill and you find a way to bring it to the table, you exceed the value of a traditional employee.
This does have the potential to put you in a bad situation. Multiple talents make it seem like you’re capable of doing the work of multiple people. As you are only one person, you’ll burn out working two jobs for the cost of one. While the intersection of talents can help get you hired, it’s important to set boundaries in the beginning. Don’t take on more work than you can handle, and identify sources of burnout before they can affect you.
As with any job search, finding specific work takes time. Use that time to grow your skills and continue to seek out positions that are most relevant to your interests. Generic employees with one great skill, however talented, aren’t as attractive because they don’t offer an employer as much bang for their buck. If you can produce more, you’ll improve your chances.
Reinvent Your Career would like to thank Lifehacker where this article first appeared.