Episode #110 – How Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals Can Get Their Career Back on Track

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about how Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can get their career back on track. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. As always, I’m glad to be here.

Samantha: Stacy, I guess the logical place to start would be to ask how a person can tell if their career is off track?

Stacy: That is a logical place to start, and it’s also a great question. Well, usually when a person embarks upon their career, they have an idea of what they want to do and where they want to go. They have an idea of the type of organizations they want to work for and how their career is going to progress. However, in some cases, a person will get sidetracked or bogged down in their employment situation. They become so focused on their current job and so immersed in it that they forget about the “big picture,” which involves their career.

Samantha: That makes sense. Does a person know when they’ve reached that point?

Stacy: They often do, even if they’re not completely aware of it. That’s because they become dissatisfied with their job, their career, or both. They lose passion for what they’re doing and they’re not as motivated as they used to be. They find that they’re not as engaged when they go to work, and sometimes they don’t want to go to work at all. Once upon a time, they found their work to be exciting, but now that’s simply not the case.

Samantha: Is that another way of saying the person is in a “career rut”?

Stacy: Yes, that’s exactly right! And what is important to understand is that when it happens, it’s not necessarily because of anything that the person has done wrong. This kind of thing happens to just about everyone at one time or another. Most people deal with a tremendous amount of duties and responsibilities, both at work and also at home, that they sometimes fall into a “career rut.” So if that happens, you should not beat yourself up over it or feel badly. What’s important is what you do about it, and that’s the topic of our podcast episode today.

Samantha: Since you brought that up, what are some things that Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can do about a situation like this?

Stacy: There are a few things animal health and veterinary professionals can do. Keep in mind, though, that when we talk about a person’s career, we’re talking about their current job and whatever future jobs they might hold. Even if a person does not particularly like their present situation, it still comprises their career and has to be part of the equation.

That being said, the first thing you should do is talk to your boss or supervisor. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, if you’re not satisfied, you should discuss that with your boss. They need to know what you’re thinking, and they might very well be able to help you. Maybe you need more training or you want to know there are opportunities for advancement within the organization. Whatever it is that you feel is lacking, make sure to discuss it with your boss. If they care about you, your employment, and your career, they will make an effort to help rectify the situation.

Second, use this meeting with your boss as an opportunity to evaluate the value that you bring to the organization. If there are opportunities for advancement within the organization, then the value that you provide correlates directly to how quickly you can explore those opportunities and “climb up the ladder.”

It might be tempting to focus only on what you need during this meeting, but it’s also important to focus on what your employer wants from you. That’s why you should also ask your boss what value you could add to your employment and how you could add it.

Samantha: Is that the “Principle of Reciprocity” that we’ve talked about before?

Stacy: Yes, it is. You can’t just ask for things and take from people without also offering to give something in return. This includes in the professional setting. Yes, you may be dissatisfied with your current employment situation, but you must be willing to also give, not just take. That’s why this conversation with your boss must include dialogue regarding both.

Samantha: Stacy, what’s another way a person can get their career back on track?

Stacy: They can upgrade themselves.

Samantha: What does that mean?

Stacy: It can mean a number of different things, depending upon how the person goes about doing it. Essentially, though, it means taking proactive steps to add to your existing skill set through training and/or certification. This goes back to what we were just talking about, providing more value to your employer. When you provide more value, you become more valuable.

Samantha: And you become more valuable not just to your current employer, but also to a potential future employer, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right! And that’s the way Animal Health and Veterinary professionals should view it. When you provide ever-increasing amounts of value, the person who really benefits in the long run is YOU.

Samantha: Stacy, we’ve talked about a person’s current job and also adding to their value and skill set. But what about looking for a new job? Is that part of this equation, too?

Stacy: It absolutely is, and it involves the third item on your list, which is engaging your network. Actually, this involves both a person’s current job and any job search they might be conducting. Keep in mind that you can engage your network in a couple of different ways.

Specifically, it involves both online engagement through social media channels such as LinkedIn and also offline engagement through industry events such as conferences and trade shows. Once again, I must stress the “Principle of Reciprocity.” You should give more than you take. This means contributing knowledge, information, and insight and NOT just networking because you think it will lead to a new job.

Samantha: Because if the only reason you engage with people is because you’re looking for a new job, those people will not see that engagement as genuine, is that correct?

Stacy: That’s right. And that’s not the way you want to brand yourself in the employment marketplace, especially with your own network.

The next item on our list deals more with a person’s job search, and that is sharpening your interview skills. In fact, you don’t even have to be actively looking for a job to do this.

Samantha: No? Why is that?

Stacy: Because you have to be ready at all times. You never know when a good job opportunity is going to present itself, and when it does, you must be ready to take advantage of it. If not, it could easily pass you by. The face-to-face interview is one of the most crucial parts of the hiring process. If you’re not ready for it, then you’re putting your candidacy at risk. The rule is pretty simple: if you want to reach your full potential and enjoy career growth and satisfaction, then you must know how to interview well. There’s no way around it.

And that brings us to the fifth and final item on our list.

Samantha: What’s that?

Stacy: Aligning yourself with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter.

We’ve talked about this before, as well, but good recruiters have access to what is known as the “hidden job market.” Not all job openings are advertised through traditional means, such as online advertisements, especially those at the upper levels and those that have a high degree of importance tied to them. An experienced recruiter can help you get out of a “career rut” and get your career back on the track. They can provide knowledge and advice that is extremely valuable in today’s market.

You just have to be willing to reach out to them and allow them to help you.

Samantha: Stacy, this was all great information today. I’m sure our listeners found it to be valuable. Once again, thank you for joining us!

Stacy: You’re very welcome, Samantha, and thank you. It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health Employment Insider!