3 Ways to Avoid Being a Jack of All Trades, Master of None

It’s great to have a variety of interests. One of the things I love the most about being a freelance writer is that I get to learn about all of my favorite hobbies without having to spend a dime on schooling every time a career perks my ear. Here are some more reasons why I love my job. Without my scattered interests and love of research, I would never know that subluxations can be found on a misaligned spine, or that Virgos and Cancers get along famously. I also wouldn’t be able to tell you that immediately putting honey on a curling-iron burn can stop a blister from forming, or that it’s possible, and very rewarding, to incubate turtle eggs and watch the babies hatch.

However, with the good comes the bad, and being a person with a wide scope of interests can also hurt your status as an expert if you aren’t careful. Here are three guidelines to keep in mind, so you can follow all of your passions without consequences:

1. Make multiple resumes.

If I included every job I’ve ever had on my writing resume, it would fill up pretty quickly, and potential employers would have a difficult time sifting through all of that information. Though, it would be great to have experience working as a babysitter for twelve years, that isn’t relevant unless I’m applying for a teaching or childcare position. Instead, it would be better to keep my writing credentials separate from my background in childcare. Lots of professionals keep separate resumes for their various specialties. This keeps things organized when it comes time to applying for a job. Here are some tips on how to create multiple resumes for your multiple professions.

2. Prove yourself in your field before experimenting elsewhere.

Do you have a friend who seems to change occupations every few days? One minute they want to do your makeup, the next, they’re trying to fix your car. It’s hard to take someone seriously if they don’t appear to know what they’re doing. The reason we choose a professional is that we trust they can do a great job. We look for medical professionals based on their experience and background. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to spend quality time in your field.

3. Anticipate switching careers and titles.

Not everyone is born certain of his or her life’s purpose. Sometimes parents try to force a field on their son or daughter, only to find that their dreams aren’t the same as their child’s. With many of my interests, I often found myself feeling like I was missing something bigger. It is okay to switch careers. You can’t uncover what makes you happy by never trying anything new. Don’t be afraid to change paths; you don’t have to forget the skills you’ve learned along the way, and you can always apply them toward whatever path you take in the future.

Remember: These guidelines aren’t meant to discourage you from exploring or marrying two interests.
I combined my background as a licensed beautician with my lifetime love of writing, and now I have a beauty blog that serves both of those passions. I’ve also enjoyed writing about career topics for Yellow Brick Road, as that’s another one of my interests. Remember to allow each specialty to marinate for awhile. Learn as much as you can, and build a sturdy foundation from which to promote yourself and your abilities.

For more posts by Sara Kosmyna.

How do you balance your hobbies with your profession? Would you rather hire someone who knows a little about a lot of things, or someone who knows a lot about a few things?

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One Comment

  1. Mary
    Posted May 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Good information. When I hire someone, I want them to know everything about the job they are going to do for me.

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