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Maximizing Your Earnings in Your Animal Health Career

When it comes to maximizing your earning potential in your Animal Health career, people often view this topic in terms of compensation. They’ll ask questions such as, “How much compensation can I expect if I have this job title or if I’m in this specific position?”

This is the wrong approach to take with compensation. That’s because while there is a pay range associated with a certain job title, that doesn’t necessarily represent the most of what you can earn. Instead, people can take a proactive role in determining for themselves how much they earn in compensation. In other words, they’ve maximized their earning potential.


Your current employer and your Animal Health career

There are two ways that you can maximize your earnings in your Animal Health career: either with your current employer or by taking a new position with another employer. Below are three steps for maximizing your earnings with your current employer:

  1. Maximize your value as an employee
  2. Become noticed within the Animal Health industry
  3. Negotiate a pay raise with your current employer

Sometimes, people put too much emphasis on increasing their compensation by simply changing jobs. That is just one part of the equation. Increasing your earning potential with your current employer is just as important as increasing it with a new employer. As you’ll see, by maximizing your earning potential with your current employer, you’ll actually be increasing your potential with a future employer at the same time.

In terms of increasing your value with your current employer, organizations want employee who will do one of two things—or both things:

  1. Make them more money
  2. Save them money

In order to maximize your earning potential with your current employer, you must maximize your value as an employee. There is a direct correlation between these two things: the value that you provide to your employer and your earning potential within the organization. And two main ways to increase your value is to make the company more money and/or save the company money.


How to increase your value

There are four ways to increase your value with your current employer, and by extension, increase your earning potential in your Animal Health career.

#1—Acquire new knowledge.

You should seek to learn as much as you can about your job and your profession. Read blogs and books, watch webinars, listen to podcasts, and participate in classes and continuing education. The more you learn, the more valuable you become. If your employer does not provide opportunities for you to acquire more knowledge, then you should make an effort to invest in yourself and your Animal Health career. Even if your employer does provide some opportunities, you should supplement what they provide with additional training.

#2—Acquire new skills.

There are many professional and industry-related certifications that you can obtain. These certifications not only make you more valuable to your current employer, but they also look good on a resume. They’ll make you more attractive to potential future employers. You might be asking yourself, “What kind of certifications should I get?” This largely depends on your current job title and the plans you have for growth in your Animal Health career. You might even consider going back to school and pursuing an advanced degree, like a MBA, for example.

#3—Keep on top of industry trends.

Trends change on an almost daily basis, making it difficult to be completely on top of them. That’s why it’s important to make this a continual point of emphasis. Organizations of all types and sizes need employees who stay current with trends. Without these employees, they’re not able to compete as well with other organizations in their space. As a result, they fall behind and lose market share. You can see why this is an opportunity to provide value.

#4—Ask for more responsibility.

This is one of the most effective ways to increase your value as an employee. It’s proactive and it illustrates to your supervisor that you’re willing to do what it takes. Now, some people don’t get that excited about doing this. They think, “Why should I take on more responsibility if I’m not getting paid more?” You must provide more value before pursuing more compensation. In other words, you can’t maximize your earning potential without first maximizing your value.

I think this philosophy is best summed up with a quote from the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. He said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Focus on what you can do for other people. Focus on the value you can provide for them. If you make that your focus and you benefit other people, then what you want will be taken care of.

Part of doing this is making deposits in people’s “trust bank accounts.” This is rooted in what is called the Principle of Reciprocity. This principle means that when someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give something in return. That’s why you should focus on always giving to others instead of taking. That way, when the time comes, you’ll be able to make a withdrawal from their “trust bank account.”

(See what to expect when working with The VET Recruiter as a job seeker or candidate. You can get started with The VET Recruiter today!)


Getting noticed in your Animal Health career

The second step for maximizing your earnings with your current employer in your Animal Health career is to become noticed within the industry.

There are two benefits of doing this:

#1—There is a benefit for your current employer.

If you’re raising awareness about yourself as an employee and you’re positioning yourself as an expert in your field, then it will cast your employer in a positive light. That will brand your employer as an organization that has top-notch employees who are active within the industry.

#2—There is a benefit for you.

There are multiple benefits, actually. First, when you cast your employer in a positive light, this continues to increase your value as an employee (which, as we’ve already discussed, also increases your earning potential). Second, by increasing your visibility within the industry, you’re becoming noticed by potential future employers. Before these employers can recruit you and possibly hire you, they first have to notice you.


Activities that will help get you noticed

What can you do to become noticed within the Animal Health industry? There are six activities, which are listed below:

#1—Attend industry trade shows and network.

Attending shows to gain knowledge is good, but when you network at these shows, that’s when you receive the real benefit. It’s not just what you know, but it’s who you know. In actuality, it’s both what you know and who you know.

#2—Be active in industry associations.

Once again, knowledge and networking should be priorities when joining these associations. You should have a plan for maximizing your membership. The American Association of Industry Veterinarians (AAIV) and other organizations have numerous opportunities for networking, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) holds an event every summer.

#3—Be a speaker for industry events.

This helps to position yourself as a leader in your field. If you have extensive knowledge about a subject, then it makes sense to share that knowledge and raise your prominence.

#4—Write papers and publish blog posts or articles.

This is another way that you can position yourself as an expert. There are a number of sources within the Animal Health industry where you can publish content. It would be wise to identify them, seek them out, and inquire about how you can contribute.

#5—Produce content on social media.

If you’re already writing papers and publishing blog posts or articles, it makes sense to also share these things on social media. It helps to brand you professionally in a positive way. LinkedIn would be the best place for this type of activity.

#6—Be willing to take risks.

If you want to grow your Animal Health career, then you must be willing to take risks. You can not expect to achieve great rewards without taking some kind of risk. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, and that includes when it comes to getting noticed within the industry. You can not let fear of failure get in the way of going after what you want.


Fear and your Animal Health career

To some degree, fear of change and fear of the unknown are natural emotions, and there is an example that most of you can relate to. When you were a child, getting a shot may have been a frightening experience. If so, you probably remember the drive to the doctor’s office and the questions that were running through your mind. How big would the needle be? How many shots would you be getting? How much would it hurt?

Then, once you reached the doctor’s office and received your shot, you discovered that thinking about the shot was worse than actually getting it.

It’s the same with overcoming fear and taking a risk in your Animal Health career. Similar to getting a shot, all sorts of questions race through your mind about the situation. Also like getting a shot, it often turns out that a lot of your fears are unfounded.

There is an acronym for effectively dealing with fear. That acronym is:

Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real


So instead of looking at a situation with fear, look at it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to do something great that will lead to growth in your Animal Health career. No one ever grew their career by leaps and bounds by playing it safe all the time. Be willing to go after opportunities when they present themselves. Remember that this does not necessarily mean leaving your employer for another position. It can also mean seizing opportunities with your current employer, including accepting a promotion or the responsibility to head a new project.


The status quo vs. taking risks

Unfortunately, there is a perceived comfort level involved in maintaining the status quo and not taking risks. There are two problems with this.

First, no one ever knows exactly how everything is going to turn out. It’s just not possible. None of us have a crystal ball.

Second, by being resistant to change and not taking risks, you’re actually choosing NOT to grow. In today’s job market, growth is not an option. Growth is mandatory for anyone looking to remain valuable and relevant to an employer (and that includes your current employer). Before you can seize an opportunity, you have to be willing to recognize it as such. If you view an opportunity as a risk, then you’re less likely to seize it.

This applies to a situation in which a person has the chance to consider and explore a new job opportunity, or at the very least, hear about the opportunity. Instead of hearing about it, though, they say they’re not interested without even listening to what the opportunity is about. For all they know, it could be their dream job.

When it comes to turning down a job opportunity, there is really nothing to turn down unless you literally have the job offer in your hand. It costs you absolutely nothing to investigate an opportunity, and just what if the opportunity is better than the one you have now? You will never know unless you at least have an offer to consider. Actually, if you don’t have the offer in your hand, then there really is not a decision for you to make. You’re really turning down the idea of an offer, not the offer itself.

When you get right down to it, potential is just potential. The question eventually becomes, “How do I realize that potential?” In other words, “How do I turn that potential into a reality?”

(The VET Recruiter has a wide array of career resources for Animal Health professionals looking for new and exciting jobs. Also check out The VET Recruiter’s career planning resources for growing your Animal Health career.)


How to negotiate a raise at your current employer

When it comes to your current employer, one of the ways to maximize your earning potential is to receive a raise. Sometimes these raises are given before you ask, and sometimes you must ask for them. It used to be that employees could at least count on a “cost of living raise” of between 2% and 3%, but that is often not the case. If you’ve increased your value and believe that you deserve a raise that reflects that value, then you can negotiate a raise.

However, there are five important points to remember about negotiating a raise at your current employer:

#1—Know WHY you deserve a raise.

If you don’t know why, then how can you expect your boss to know? What concrete contributions have you made to the company’s bottom line? Compile a list of these contributions, plus other accomplishments and achievements. Evidence of performance always makes pay negotiations go more smoothly.

While you do this, you should also be updating your resume with these achievements. That way, not only can you remind your current employer of what you’ve accomplished, but you can also be ready in case another opportunity comes along. In addition to updating your resume, also update your LinkedIn profile with these accomplishments.

Keep in mind that updating your LinkedIn profile is not just for a potential new employer. It can also be for your current employer. Other people within the organization are looking at your profile, and if you deserve a raise, the reasons you deserve one should be included on the profile.

#2—Know WHAT you should ask for.

Conduct research regarding the common pay scales in your industry and for your specific position, both at the local level and the national level. How much of a raise are you seeking? Have a percentage or a dollar amount in mind. Would you be willing to accept another form of compensation, besides money? If so, what would you consider?

There are different sources you can use when conducting your research. There are the AVMA and Payscale.com websites. You can also talk to other people in your network who have the same level of responsibilities as you do, and the AAIV also publishes a salary study every couple of years.

#3—Know WHEN to ask for a raise.

Are you coming off a string of months where you “wowed” everyone with the work you did? Then this would be the best time to negotiate a pay raise. However, it’s not just you that you have to worry about. What’s the company’s financial footing at the moment? Is it strong and solid or is it shaky? The answer may have more to do with what happens with the company than your performance does.

#4—Know WHAT would be acceptable to you.

Maybe the organization just can’t swing the raise you’re seeking. What else would you consider to be attractive in the way of increased compensation? A more flexible schedule? The ability to work from home? Training opportunities? These things are also part of the negotiation process.

#5—Know WHAT to say and HOW to say it.

Practice what you’re going to say in front of a mirror, or if possible, in front of another person. Prepare the content of your side of the conversation, as well as the style and manner in which you say it. You can also practice role playing, perhaps with a member of your family.


Using a recruiter in your Animal Health career

One way to maximize your earning potential in your Animal Health career is to partner with an experienced and reputable recruiter or search consultant. This is especially the case if and when you choose to grow your career by exploring job opportunities with other employers. That’s because recruiters have access to what is known as the “hidden job market.” These are opportunities that are not shared via traditional means, such as through online job advertisements.

Instead, Animal Health organizations only use recruiters to fill these positions, usually because they’re of a critical nature, a confidential nature, or both. As a result, unless you’re working with a recruiter, you won’t be aware of these employment opportunities, which are often among the best opportunities within the industry.


The VET Recruiter and your Animal Health career

The VET Recruiter has helped job seekers and candidates grow their Animal Health career for more than 20 years. Numerous studies have shown that the more frequently you change jobs, the more you will earn in your career during your lifetime. And in this day and age, there is no longer a stigma attached to changing jobs every few years. In fact, it’s become expected behavior in the broader economy and within the Animal Health industry.

The VET Recruiter has the experience, the expertise, and the connections to help you grow your Animal Health career. And we can help you maximize your earning potential while you do it!

Check out The VET Recruiter’s successes working with job seekers and candidates. We also invite you to submit your resume and create a profile on our website.

You can also call (918) 488-3901 or (800) 436-0490 or send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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