Being good at a lot of things (aka a Jack of all trades)1 can be confusing. You don’t have a clear sense of direction and you aren’t always sure which position to apply to when you’re looking at jobs.
The consensus on being a Jack of all trades is still unclear. Some people praise its benefits (i.e. it makes you adaptable, expands your knowledge etc.) while others argue it’s the worst personal brand. I sit somewhere in the middle.
There are situations when being a Jack of all trades is favorable (i.e. when you’re trying to diversify your income) and others where it sends a confusing message about your brand (i.e. listing all your skills when applying for a specific job). Nevertheless, having a diverse skill set increases your chances of getting hired. This is particularly true for freelancers. From my experience, clients look for people who can provide different services. It makes sense from a business standpoint because the cost of hiring someone who can “do it all” tends to be lower than that of hiring a whole team.
So if, like me, you’re sometimes unclear about your message because you can do a lot – fret not. Congratulations, actually! You are in a strategic position to increase your income from side hustles or freelance work. Here are some tactics that will help you leverage that “Jack of all trades” quality and land more opportunities:
Have more than one resume
Getting a job or doing what you love shouldn’t be about downplaying your potential, but customizing your previous experience to fill a specific void. Curating your past jobs can achieve that.
I’ve done a lot during college (internships, freelance gigs, part-time work) so I have experience in various fields. I created a resume for jobs in marketing or social media, editorial writing, and public relations. I even have a resume for bartending and event assistance gigs (don’t judge a girl’s hustle!). This allows me to tailor my application to a specific job and do more without confusing prospective employers/clients.
Get involved in online groups
Social media groups are great because they bring like-minded people together. Instead of having to narrow your focus, you can spread your interests across different groups and pursue them simultaneously.
Take advantage of these niche networks. Whether you like real-estate crowdfunding, songwriting and comic books, you’ll find a happy home online for each of these interests.
Groups give you exclusive access to insights from industry leaders or people with similar goals. You have a space to ask questions, learn about resources to hone your skills or opportunities to advance your career. Be sure to actively participate, share interesting articles and connect with other people.
Meet people in real life
The Internet is awesome, but nothing beats a real-life connection! Put on your best attire and go connect with people in real time. Take genuine interest in their background, ask thoughtful questions and share your passions. Your drive will naturally manifest itself and it’ll resonate with a lot of people. Network with intention and give out business cards. Be sure to follow-up with everyone and cultivate long-term relationships. The benefits may not be immediate, but they are worth the investment.
Can you relate to being a Jack (or Jill) of all trades? How do you navigate that? Share some tips in the comments!