Keep from Being Pigeonholed into a Position or Industry with Five Easy Steps

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FreeHow are Hollywood actors related to you and other professionals in the working world? They are all at risk of being typecast for specific roles, thanks to past successes and recognition. For the working professional, this side effect can sometimes be very beneficial, both financially and for a set of career goals. But professional typecasting can often stymie job seekers looking to land a job with a description outside of their exact skill set. These professionals want the flexibility of leaving a specific industry or position, but end up only being offered jobs similar to those they’ve left in the past.

What are some steps you can take to avoid being a victim of your own success, trapped in an industry or position that you no longer feel passionate about? Consider the five following strategies to help you move past typecasting and into a new job you love.

1. If you want to be seen as a different type of employee with different career goals and motivations, don’t keep applying to the same type of job you have always done. A lot of job seekers are afraid to apply for jobs outside of their specific skill set because they don’t feel confident in their ability to land a different kind of job. This self-laid trap can keep you stuck in a job type that you don’t find fulfilling. Instead, look for jobs where you can directly apply your skills and still work a little bit outside of your typical field of expertise.

2. In order to escape your typecast, you need to be flexible. Not only do you need to show that you have many different skills, but you also need to show that you are able to perform different jobs with those skills. It is important to discuss how you are able to apply your skill set to a specific job in your cover letter through a real-world example from either your professional or volunteer experiences.

3. Speaking of volunteer experiences, if you are looking for a resume booster that doesn’t fit into your typecast role, look for opportunities in your community that allow you to either learn new skills or apply your current skills to novel situations. Even a part-time job that you work alongside your primary position can show potential employers that you are capable of working outside of your comfort zone.

4. Networking is also your friend when you want to break into a new field. Put yourself into situations where you can meet new people outside of your field of expertise and get to know them professionally for some great references for your new job applications.

5. For the typecast professional, a label is a product of long-term success: you’ve been good at what you do for a long time, and you shouldn’t forget that. Don’t forget to let others know about your accomplishments and that you do what you do very well. Own the fact that you are great at your job, but make it known that you are ready to move on and take on additional roles that expand your skill set.

In closing, it isn’t just the high-powered Hollywood superstar actors who are regularly typecast. Typecasting happens everywhere. In order to combat such categorization, gain job flexibility, seek out new experiences that use your skills in a variety of different ways, and reap the career benefits of bucking the expectations of your past.


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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.