Jack of all trades, master of none

Q: I am looking for a job and I can work in several different fields. My experience over the years – and also my hobbies – allow me choose among many different opportunities. The problem is that I send my resume to all the places that have openings that interest me, but none of the companies respond other then with a nicely worded rejection letter. Do you have any suggestions for me, as I have been looking for quite awhile?

A: This is a good news, bad news situation. The good news is that you can do so many things. The bad news is that companies want specific skills for their particular job opening. This is especially true today, when hiring a new employee and adding the cost of the salary and benefits to their payroll is such a major decision. Employers do not necessarily need someone who has dabbled in a subject, but rather want someone who can demonstrate that they can do the specific job for which they are recruiting.

One of the mistakes many job seekers make is to have a resume that covers several areas of interest and ability, instead of focusing the resume on the one or perhaps two areas of greatest experience and interest.
We incorrectly believe that the wider the net we spread, the more fish we will catch. That is not the case with an unfocused job search. It is preferable to have two or three resumes that are pinpointed to a certain type of job, rather than to have just one resume that covers all the bases. Having multiple versions of your resume can also make your job search more efficient and directed. When you do succeed in getting an interview scheduled, be sure to prepare for it by studying the parameters of the job, and how the company’s needs apply to your skills.
Another benefit of a more focused search is that it makes it easier for people who really want to help you to direct their efforts on your behalf. A message of “I can do almost anything” or “I am good at these ten various things” will make it harder for your contacts to produce the relevant introductions that you need. The more focused your networking efforts are, the more effective the results will be.
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