Using your professional experience going forward is something that sounds simple, but really isn’t. Do you want it to define your career, or are you more interested in the cross-disciplinary skills that your experiences have given? Are you using your experience to commit to a singular type of role or job, or are you seeking to try something else for a change? Your career experience is equal parts flexible and inflexible; it depends on how you see it and what you got out of it.
If you’re wanting to go down a certain path, use your experience to explain why. You’ll be able to find all sorts of examples to corroborate this: hobbies, interests, perhaps some useful life stories. This is easier expressed in a cover letter: you can explain your passion/interest in a field, with more freedom to elaborate (which you wouldn’t get in a CV).
However, if you’re thinking about a change of scenery, don’t discount your previous experience as a waste of time. If you’ve been looking for something for a while and your experience is all over the place, you can take a lot from it. The passion and willingness to try different things is already a good look, and you can demonstrate many transferrable skills too. Your experience in different fields will still come in useful, as no job or experience exists in a vacuum.
If your experience is focused, but you’re seeking a change, it’s still doable. Emphasis on transferrable skills will be very important, as well as highlighting the useful knowledge you gained from your previous experience. You should also emphasize your reason for a career change. This may involve a bit of research into whatever field you’re going into, so using your cover letter (if applicable) is the best way to demonstrate an interest in the new field.
A very good way to gain experience, or to bridge any career gaps, is an exchange program. An exchange can help you figure out where you want your career to go: if your exchange matches your career aspirations, then it’s a useful and relevant experience. If it’s not a perfect match, then no need to fret. You can still emphasize the skills you learned, and how you can apply them elsewhere.