It’s smart to diversify your career, just like it is to diversify your stock portfolio. Investing time, money, and energy into new skills can provide a big return in opportunities and income.
But how do you diversify your career? There are a few simple ways you may have never thought of before!
1. Diversify your career by saying “Yes”
When asked to help out or serve on a committee unrelated to your current role at your company, don’t immediately dismiss it, even if you think it won’t be beneficial to your skill set. Instead, consider saying yes to it.
Looking back on my own career, I can see times when I was asked to do things I didn’t think were a good use of time at first. Now, I’m so glad I agreed to them.
One example is when I was asked to provide interview coaching for the pageant contestants at a university I worked at in North Carolina.
This college hosted an annual preliminary pageant to the Miss America contest. The pageant director felt my experience in coaching others for job interviews could help the contestants prepare for their private interview phase of competition.
At first, I almost said no, since I knew absolutely nothing about pageants. But, I decided to say yes, just so I could learn more about the differences and similarities between pageant and job interviews.
Developing this very niche skill paved the way for me later in my career. It came in handy when I left my job at Vanderbilt University and started doing media coaching for recording artists here in Nashville.
It also helped me improve my own ability to think quickly on my feet, especially when handling question and answer sessions in my public speaking presentations.
If I had said no to this request, I wouldn’t have developed such a unique skill set. And, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with some really fascinating clients!
2. Diversify your career by seeking out opportunities
Don’t wait to be asked! Take initiative and volunteer to assist on committees where you can learn some new skills. At the same university in North Carolina, I volunteered to serve on several committees, such as the student exchange committee, the student athletes committee, and summer orientation committee.
I also served in officer roles for professional associations, spoke at association conferences, and participated in HR lunch-and-learns.
Outside of my professional life, I’ve shown curiosity by taking various classes, volunteering in the community, and working odd jobs just for fun.
The skills and tools I’ve learned along the way make for a much more robust résumé and skill set. Plus, they’ve provided some interesting talking points in interviews, along with ways to better connect with potential clients.
For example, in a recent initial consultation with a potential new client, we discovered we’d both been taking west coast swing lessons. This provided the opportunity to connect with the potential client on a more personal level.
What are some things you’ve done in your past that have broadened your skill set? You can include examples from both your professional life, and the outside hobbies from your personal life.
Can you think of ways those skills have helped you along your career path?
What are some other things you can do in the near future to further diversify your career?
If you need help discovering opportunities, or if you need assistance in marketing your diversification on your resume, let me know!
- Blog post – 3 Ways Curiosity Can Give You an Advantage in Your Career
- Book – Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together, by Pamela Slim