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Leveraging a Diverse Background to Pursue New Career Paths

Q.  I have a diverse background in law, finance and tax. I would like to apply to multiple positions in a few different large companies. My goal is twofold: I want to "get my foot in the door" and I think I could be satisfied in diverse roles. However, I am reluctant to apply, because I am afraid I will appear unfocused. Is it possible to apply for multiple roles in a company without appearing unfocused?

A. You can apply for multiple roles within the same organization and be taken seriously by the hiring staff, but only if you approach if you position each application according to the position and focu on the contributions you can make to the company.  How you apply and how you present your skills can end any chance you have, or can earn you a foot in the door.

To make sure you deliver the message a hiring manager needs to see, first work on your LinkedIn profile.  Use a tag line after your name that encompasses your general background.  Minimize the titles. Make sure the results you achieved are highlighted, and that each job reinforces your unique blend of skills, and your success.  Go through the same exercise for each position you have held and update them on both your LinkedIn profile and your resume. 

Next develop a list of large target companies you believe can benefit from the blend of skills you have to offer.  The companies should be large enough where they have different departments or groups with people of similar skills, but whose focus may be different.  Also make sure your list contains organizations from different industries.  You might have a large financial services organization, a college or university, a law firm, and an accounting firm on your target list. 

Focus on developing your networking contacts into these companies.  Look up each  company on LinkedIn to see which employees have profiles.  Review the titles, the departments and the responsibilities.  Most likely you will see a range of titles with similar skills to yours being leveraged.    Arrange a networking meeting with your closest contacts within these firms, or with contacts who can get you introduced to current employees.  Your goal in these meetings is to find multiple roles you might be right for within the same company.  Remember that you do have focus.  Explain “ I am not focused on the title of the role.  I am focused on using my skills in tax, finance and law to make contributions to the organization.  Can you give me examples of the kinds of roles here where my skills would be of most benefit?”

As your networking meetings move you to more senior people, they are more apt to see the many ways your skill set can be used.  They may have you meet with human resources, or introduce you to a hiring manager.  Ultimately you may be pushed to declare a favorite type of role, and you will need to make a commitment. 

Job seekers may think  the easiest way to apply for multiple roles is through online applications to multiple job openings at the same companies.  It is easy.  And chances are the method will not produce the results you desire.

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