If you’ve had several different jobs throughout your career — and aren’t sure how to make sense of them all — it’s time to figure out your “through-line.”
Gone are the days of working in one company for 40 years, moving up through the ranks until you retire. Today’s workers are more mobile, often switching companies — and even industries — several times throughout their careers.
For some career changers, this can be confusing or stress-inducing. When you’ve worked in several different jobs, how do you design a story explaining your career path to potential employers, your family and friends — and most importantly, yourself?
Time to discover your through-line
In a post on her blog Create As Folk, career coach Laura Simms offers a solution: Find your “through-line.”
She defines a through-line as: “The uniting theme(s) that connect the multiple careers throughout a career arc,” and she says that finding it “will help you feel as though there is some continuity between the seemingly disparate careers you’ve had (because there is).”
Simms, who’s worked as an actor, coach, and teacher describes her through-lines as: “collaboration, community, inciting change, and being part of creating marvelous things.”
By thinking of your past jobs this way, Simms says it will be easier to describe your path to others, as well as help you make future career decisions.
Smart, right? If you need help figuring out your own career through-line, you can download a free worksheet from Simms’ blog.
Have you ever thought about your past jobs like this? How would you describe your through-line?
Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.