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Two Careers, One You

How do you pursue multiple avenues at the same time and keep it all straight on paper?  The question I received this week from one of the job search bootcampers was How do I effectively highlight my work experience … without looking like I am all over the place?” Guy has had more than six years of accounting experience, and has spent two and a half years working part-time in television production. He’s still interested in pursuing both avenues, but ultimately wants to focus on production.

So, how do you do it?  Very carefully of course {Smile}. Resumés and careers are not the same as they were 10 or 15 years ago. Today, there is a concept of “slash careers,” as documented in a great book by Marci Alboher called One Person/Multiple Careers.  And you need to have multiple versions of your resumé.  You may be pursuing more than one career, either out of necessity or out of an abundance of interests and opportunity. In this economy, I encourage people to embrace the idea of multiple streams of income. Chef/journalist. Designer/teacher. Accountant/production assistant.

In Guy’s case, he should be selective about what he puts on his paper resume depending on where he’s sending it. In the case that he chooses to showcase all his experience he should create two separate sections of his resumé: one that is titled Accounting Experience and one titled Television Production Experience. Highlighting both is fine, unless he is only applying for an accounting job, that has no relation to TV production. The key is also to focus on highlighting your areas of expertise and transferable skills within each experience.

Guy is lucky in that every single business in every industry needs an accountant, so he can always take these skills with him. Luckily, these two careers are not in conflict with one another; he could easily moonlight in the TV production business without affecting the accounting business, if that is what he chooses to do.

Guy is certainly well positioned to take on an accounting role within a production company. If he decides he wants to focus solely on television production, he may want to focus on making this lateral move. Once into the industry where he wants to be, he can then show his enthusiasm for helping out after hours on production gigs. When an opportunity opens up, he has already sold himself. Everyone in the department will already know his enthusiasm and skill for production.

“Since there are overlapping and gaps in time with my production experience and accounting job, how do I overcome this when setting up my resumé/LinkedIn profile?” he asked.

My suggestion is not to worry about the gaps. The secret behind a strong and compelling LinkedIn profile is to include everything that you have done in your life that you have enjoyed, felt passionate about, or succeeded in. Conveying these stories is what is important; you want to sound interesting so people will want to read more. The Summary section is the perfect place for you to share your story, and your interests. You can also include a portfolio of your work on LinkedIn for example.

The rest of the work you need to do is networking. Looking for a job while making a career change adds an extra dimension to the challenge. The real emphasis needs to be on networking, both virtually through social networks including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and in person. Good luck Guy. It’s time to make your move.

Have a career conundrum or job search question that needs answering? Write to us at Info @ Careerfolk.com or drop in on Facebook and let us know where you need help.

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