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Talent Talk: Why Your Resume Needs to Show Career Diversification

Unless you are absolutely certain to retire from your current company, diversifying your experience, knowledge, and skills is a must in today’s job market.

Paul Sturgeon

March 27, 2023

2 Min Read
CV on desk with laptop and coffee cup
Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images

There was a time when a professional’s career was judged partly by how many different companies they had worked for. The goal was to get hired by a great company, work there for 35 to 40 years, and retire. I grew up in Cincinnati and I’m told we have a unique way of saying certain things — we would use the phrase “got on,” as in, “Did you hear Maria got on with Procter & Gamble?”

If you “got on” with a Cincinnati Milacron (just Milacron today) or a Ticona (now Celanese), you would never again need a resume. Of course, that social contract was torn up long ago, and yet many hiring managers and human resource professionals still count the number of jobs on the resume with a preference for one or two. Let me tell you why that thinking needs to change.

When we first began telling ourselves that job changes were bad, most professionals were using typewriters and fax machines. “Company culture” was not in the lexicon, and a manager’s style was either theory X or theory Y.

Even back then, we were told not to put all our eggs in one basket, and to diversify our investment portfolios. But when it came to our careers, for some reason the strategy was the opposite. We were told, in effect, to make sure we only knew one way of doing things, one set of systems, and one culture. The corporate world invented a derogatory term for those who worked for several companies — job hopper.

Let me be clear: Lots of short stints at many companies is not a good thing in the plastics industry, but most of the time neither is spending decades at the same company. If there is a merger, acquisition, change of leadership, or other major event like a pandemic that forces you to change companies, you could be at a big disadvantage.

These days I hear, “We have concerns that he has only been with one company” just as often as I hear, “She looks like a job hopper.” Think about it: How certain are you that you are going to retire from your current company? If the answer is anything other than 100%, think about how you can diversify your experience, knowledge, and skills.


paul-sturgeon-150.jpgAbout the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].

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