I am at the end of a two year engineering graduate role in which I was encouraged to rotate through different departments and disciplines to find our niche, and gain exposure to the company.

During these rotations I have covered a wide range of skills, whilst remaining relatively focussed in discipline: I have had systems engineering, research and development, test and evaluation, and modelling roles all within the field of RF engineering. However each placement only lasted 3 months.

At the end of this I am finding it very hard to say I have learned x, or I have 2 years experience in the field of y, as any prospective employer would say that I have only actually had 3 months experience in their desired role.

I am aware that there was huge value in the rotations, and I do not necessarily regret it, but has it hindered my ability to get a specialist role, and how do I best represent the positive aspects to a prospective employer? (I am not trying to leave at the moment, but it is occupying my thoughts more often recently)

How do I optimise my CV for early-career (2-3 years experience required) specialist positions with a CV that shows only 3 months specialist, and 21 months generalist.

  • 1
    LemonSparkles, I noticed another user with the same name just suggested an edit. If you edit the question from the original account, you won't need approval to do so. If you need help merging multiple accounts, take a look at this help center page.
    – David K
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 14:15
  • Interesting question but I have to wonder whether the distinction generalist/specialist that you're making is truly relevant. I can't say either way because I don't know the domain but instead of an "RF Engineering Researcher" or "Tester" aren't you simply a "[Junior] RF Engineer"?
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


A very simple answer would be to adapt your resume to the job offer you're interested in.

If the job offer seems to want someone where having knowledge in a large various field is a plus, then put that aspect in your resume.

On the opposite on a more specialized job offer, you will put in value what match more to the speciality and can argue that you know you like that field since you have already test that one and many of them.


What you have is three years of experience managing the complex relationships between different aspects of a highly technical and specialized field (RF). Not a bunch of three month stints in unrelated areas. I would look at my long term goals.

If you have decided that only one of those areas interests you, make that clear. You were exposed to many aspects, and now you know for sure where you want to focus. Emphasize what the most closely related areas bring that others may not have. For example, if you want to specialize in design, emphasize how your design will be better because your hands-on experience with test will make your designs more testable.

Where in the food chain do you want to spend your career? Take the range of experience you have as the base of a pyramid. The top of the pyramid is management and the bottom hands-on. As a manager, you have direct technical knowledge over this range of areas, which is likely broader that other manager may have. If you decide management is your path, emphasize your ability to contribute across the board. If you come onboard in the design area, you are a valuable team member or leader for cross-function teams with the test area.

Call yourself "Full Stack'. Kidding. But in software this is a common situation. A developer may have two years of experience, but there may be more than ten technologies they use that are farther apart than yours (and maybe not part of their education) - like database and JavaScript - worlds apart. If you look at actual work time (less meetings, non-direct, etc.), that's about 300 hrs./tech. Not much. The value is less in these individual areas, but in the big picture. The long-term here can be along the lines of architect or product designer. In other words, do you really want to be a specialist and by definition more restricted, or do you want to embrace being a generalist, which offers a wide range of contribution and growth potential for both you and the company?

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