Finding the right career niche is crucial for your personal happiness and your professional success. But it is not always easy to find the “right place” where you can translate your passion, goals, values, and strength into a pay cheque.
If, like us, animals are your ‘thing’, then finding a job in an animal related industry has the potential to lead you to a long and fulfilling career. Perhaps you already have an interest in one sector, such as how what we feed our animals affects their health and wellbeing and even, consequently, the health of the human population that may consume them? If so, a career in the massive animal nutrition industry is probably for you. Or maybe your passion lies in topics of a more medical nature? Then the veterinary care sector may be your calling, whether that is as a vet, a vet nurse or into the ‘commercial’ side of veterinary care where the opportunities range from sales to marketing to research… and everything in between.
Wherever your interest may lie, one question that is important to ask yourself is should you become a specialist or a generalist?
A specialist is one who has mastered the skill of one particular trade, while a generalist is someone who has a fair knowledge of a variety of trades but that could not be considered to be an expert in any particular one. In other words, a generalist is Jack. And whether you’re a graduate or simply assessing your future career option, you would be wise to consider the question of which to choose?
The decision on whether to become a specialist or a generalist is not an easy question to answer. Ultimately, you need to decide which presents the most rewarding and the most secure employment path for you.
Finding your niche
If you find yourself with a special interest that verges on passion, specialising in this for your future career can bring a life full of success and fulfilment. It’s important to be aware though that the smaller your specialist area, the smaller your career opportunities will be. However, the rewards for excellence can be very high indeed. It’s important to consider the size of the market your specialism will be serving, its long-term growth potential, any potential challenges the sector is likely to face in the future and how financially rewarding your chosen niche may be. We know that money isn’t everything, but getting boxed into a specialism that has limited growth prospects and is unlikely to provide you with long term financial security is not a good idea.
One of the crowd
If you’re not 100% sure of the career path you wish to take or are looking for a bit more variety in your work, then becoming a generalist may be the best option for you. Many companies dream to have one employee who can do several jobs well rather than have many employees do different ones, particularly in smaller organisations where staffing numbers are small. Your rewards and progress through the corporate structure will be dependent upon your aptitude to learn and prove yourself within the industry, and as a hard-working generalist you may find yourself presented with extraordinary opportunities that you may never even have considered!
Mixing it up
Whichever route you choose, there is strong evidence to show that a strong interdisciplinary knowledge is one of the best ways to make yourself indispensable. To be able to find your secure position in a company, you not only need to find yourself being useful in more ways than one but also be respectably skillful in all. It’s also worth remembering that the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the more of a generalist you’ll have to be, whether you started out in a particular discipline or not.
Whilst generalist can often enjoy a wide range of career options, specialists tend to suffer from career inflexibility. You can naturally choose to broaden your expertise later on in your career, just as you could potentially go from being a generalist to a specialist – your career path should never be set in stone and today’s modern working environment places huge value on adaptability. However, it’s important to have a vision of the route you would like your career to take.
Perhaps you need a little guidance in mapping out your ideal career path? If so, feel free to get in touch to talk to one of our expert recruitment consultants about your career options and the many opportunities in animal related industries that we have waiting for you.