Jack of all trades…master of all?

Growing up Northridge, California, the San Fernando Valley to be specific, I was put into many different extracurricular activities as a kid. I started dance lessons at the age of three, followed by piano lessons at the age of five. When I turned eight, you could find my two little brothers and I (and probably ever kid in Los Angeles) in Beverly Hills somewhere taking headshots to hopefully become actors/models. (I still have some of those headshots by the way.) I was in love with being active and feeling needed. I remember having leave school early for auditions and my mother and I flying down the road to Burbank, California for me to hopefully land the job. As you can tell, I am not a model nor am I an actor. I no longer professionally dance or play the piano nearly as I should. However, if I am put in that setting once more, I know what to do and how to do it. I am what my father always said not to be: “a jack of all trades, master of none”.

I think in the job market, the balance between being generic and overly-specialized in your career path is by being “a jack of a trades, master of none.” However, according to Ilana Gershon’s book Down and Out in the New Economy, How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today, when it comes to hiring managers presenting this same mentality on a resume or LinkedIn account may not be best. Gershon writes, “If you genuinely are flexible as a job seeker, and willing to take a range of different jobs, providing supporting evidence for this on your profile could mean that recruiters or hiring managers might think you are unfocused or difficult to classify, should they choose to interpret your profile that way.” (71) Meaning, choose your interest. Yes, you may have had a job managing people in a marketing firm and also worked as a staff assistant in a magazine. However, pick the experience that satisfies your main interest. In other words, if you are good at analyzing data better than inputting data, even though you have done both, choose the former to better highlight your strengths. If you feel the need to tell the hiring manager of your average inputting data skill, do so. But do not list all of your below average qualities. They might ask you to do something and then you’re totally screwed. Nevertheless, in a world where LinkedIn validates if you even exist, Gershon writes, “often LinkedIn profiles are viewed as encouraging you to be as general as possible, so that you show precisely how flexible you can be.” (72) Gershon wants her readers to know of the contradictions that surround the job search. LinkedIn desires us to be general in order for their computerized system to work. However, the people behind that system are looking for someone who is polished and narrow in their search, when in reality, as a college student, we just want a job! Most of will take anything we get right after college, which is a question I have for Gershon — as college students how can we maintain being desperate and still tailored to one specific field?


Unfortunately, it all comes down to the resume. How one can fully convey who they are through a piece of paper is a skill all in itself. According to a Ladders article, 12 tips for your best resume ever, font is a huge indication as to who you are. The article touches on a college favorite, Times New Roman, as signifying that if you do choose it, you are “[choosing] the laziest option.” Many first time job seekers will be choosing this bland font, which could potentially make you not stand out to employers, no matter how great your credentials are. A hubspot blog titled, A Visual Guide to Properly Formatting Your Resume, goes on to say that even “using two fonts look unintentional and unprofessional”. Therefore, the balance also includes being yourself and being professional for even for the most minute things such as font.

All in all, be the jack of all trades, master of none but how about we don’t tell anyone that. Pull out your many tricks when they seem fit for discovery. Hey, you can do hold your breath for ten minutes? That’s awesome. Save that story for the breakroom after you get the job! But before you go into the interview make sure that you channel that go getting, adventurous personality through your resume. If you do that, well, we might be getting employed sooner than we thought friend.

Below are three links to more tips on constructing an resume and giving it personality.