How to Tell a Better Story About Your Weird Job Skills

We all have talents and interests that don't perfectly line up with our jobs. Those aren't just extra skills that go nowhere, though. They can become the way you differentiate yourself in the job market — and create just the job you want for yourself.

An economist at Carnegie Mellon University has proposed a new way to take stock of your abilities and sell yourself to employers. Basically it comes down to two questions: Are you a jack-of-all-trades? Or are you a synergistic worker? (Because we're human, we're never 100 percent one or the other, but you can figure your own personal leanings.)

The jack-of-all-trades has mastered a ton of skills and can do just about anything. This type of person is an expert generalist, and has a ton of options for filling in a niche in the market. If you've always been good at accounting but you're also quite good at graphic design, this could be you.

The synergistic worker isn't quite as all-encompassing, but this person can combine their skills and interests in new and unexpected ways to serve businesses and consumers. This could present entrepreneurs and pathfinders with an excellent basis to set out on their own. If you've realized that your engineering skills and your cooking skills could produce something awesome together, try selling yourself this way.

It's not necessarily something to list on your resume, but it is a different kind of story you can tell about yourself, whether it's hunting for a new job or reconceptualizing the one you already have.