Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Long before written word, human cultures looked up to the skies to make sense of their world. Through connecting several points of light - stars - our ancestors created pictures that told stories. These connections became revered constellations and served to inform, guide, and provide context.
Akin to the stars dotting the sky, so too lie your work experiences. I call this The YOU Constellation. And it tells your story, informs, guides, and provides context.
Don't have a linear work experience? WHO DOES?!
First, you graduate high school. Then you may take some post-secondary education. Upon leaving college or university, you may work a few part-time jobs as you figure out your career path. That lucky break comes, you get your first aligned-to-your-schooling job, and that's it. Steady growth in title, accountability, and salary ensue! A straight upward trajectory! Right? WRONG. Most stories don't go like this and surely not the ones I've encountered in my consulting experience. And - you know - it's not my personal experience, either. And that's OKAY. The YOU Constellation means that you have meandered. Done interesting things! Developed yourself! Been human. Your experiences are less that straight upward line and more an abstract Picasso...or...a constellation. If your experiences were presented to others as just a mass of stars with no connection, they may seem haphazard. Confusing. Nonsensical, even. In fact, you might get lost in that proverbial stack of candidates (oh, the horror!). But when you connect your stars (work, learning, and career experiences) to create a shape (a well-designed applicant package)...you do something beautiful. You show others your authenticity, interests, humanity, values. You are saying, "Here are the relevant things I've done and here is how they come together in a really meaningful way." And more than that, you are - with great intent - not leaving your story up to others to decipher. This is so important. Talent acquisition teams are busy. They do not have time to translate the YOU code. Do it for them. It shows professional maturity, confidence, and that you understand what they need and that you align to said needs.
I believe the world of "looking for work" is so much more than what it used to be. You and employers both want an enriching experience. A positive, mutually-beneficial fit. It's better for everyone. When you connect your experiences to tell your unique story well, you have created your YOU Constellation. And there isn't one set of eyes that won't be able to see who you are and how brightly you shine. Embrace all you've done. Don't fret a non-linear line. There is no one else in the sky like you.