In an interview some years ago, Bruce Springsteen said something to the effect, "I may not be the best singer, I may not be the best guitar player, I may not even be the best performer. But when you put together all the things I do, I got something."
His words have stuck in my mind because they're so true. As I search for employment, I'm constantly thinking about all the things I do and matching them with job descriptions. I don't sing, I don't play guitar, and the idea of performing in front of a crowd gives me the heebie-jeebies. But I got something.
There's a lot of talk in employment circles about "monetizing experience." Along those lines, my friend Alaya suggested I start putting together a little package of all the things I do--especially the ones I most love to do. When I start listing all the things I do, have done and would like to do (and this last one may be the most important), it's a long list that at cursory glance doesn't necessarily seem to have any connection to one another. Editor/writer. Wild animal care volunteer. Caterer. Sound system operator. Hospitality host. Event planner. Chef. Amateur spiritual director. Interviewer. Nonprofit fundraiser. Active listener. Yoga practitioner.
My friend Kathryn looked at one iteration of my resume and said very sweetly and to the point, "I don't know how to get my arms around this." Read: the average human resources person would throw my resume in the "Flake" category. I'm sure there is one.
But with a little imagination and a lot of insider knowledge, there are some themes. Excellent overall communication skills. Nurturing and nourishing skills. Planning and management abilities. An interest in lifelong learning. A versatility very much needed in today's workplaces, where employees are often fulfilling more than one job description.
Try it yourself. It can't hurt. At the very least it clarifies my presentation and sharpens my discernment about where I would be most effective.