It's easier than you'd think to turn a wide and varied collection of past jobs into a tight-knit, well-planned resume, perfect for whatever industry you're looking to find a job in, even if their experiences are largely separate from one another and the industry you aim to join.
Contract work, even if it's outside of your experience wheelhouse, can have positive effects on a resume as long as it's tailored and prepared well for the job you're looking to land. Contract jobs show a go-getter attitude and a willingness to work for potential employers, not to mention they can provide valuable experience in related fields to bolster your chances for future positions. Instead of lumping all of your work experience onto your resume, however, it's a better idea to arrange it in order of relevancy, according to Fortune Magazine.
After deciding the type of job you're looking for, arranging the strongest parts of your experience first and foremost on the page can provide a positive layout for anyone interested in your services. Adding a summary paragraph at the beginning of the page that ties together your most relatable work experience, displaying what aspects and abilities used at a given position you believe give you an advantage over potential competitors, can also tie together relatively unrelated experience without revealing any weaknesses in your resume. Further down the page, in the body, any experience that doesn't add to your credentials can be included without appearing to be a gap in the resume's overall framework.
Laying groundwork before the move
Before deciding to jump jobs, having a plan in mind before the move should be your first priority. Even if you have no formal experience in a position, any extracurricular work performed that can be considered notable should be a focal point of your application process. For example, if looking for a financial position without any actual experience in the industry, any projects, education or semi-related experience (for instance, analyzing the most financially viable products for a company in a retail or office setting and successfully improving the bottom line as a result) should be placed high on the page, perhaps higher than important but less relatable experience.
That's not to say prior experience should be overlooked, but it only needs to be as important as a hiring manager would consider it to be. If you're applying to a completely unrelated job, a few lines of description would be enough. Something tied to the field could take more positive experiences from a given position, allowing employers to see more experience that can add to your chances.
Consider others' expectations
As much as you might think your resume is perfect for what you want, it's important to consider what the hiring manager looking at the paper would say, according to US News and World Report. While a dream job might be your end goal, make sure your abilities and skills align with what your employer might want - if they don't, it might be a better idea to expand your search to a job close to your ideal one but with differences making you more palatable toward the experience.
Answering potential questions that may be raised before they can be asked is another important strategy for job-hunters. Hiring managers are looking to cut through the chaff and get a candidate who can hit the ground running in the roles they need filled. Whether you can develop analytic systems or outsell five competitors yourself, make sure you've gotten that information out of the way immediately. Additionally, don't ease up. Including relevant information up and down your resume creatively will help hiring managers see your true potential shine through.