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Episode #140 – Top Career Mistakes for Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals

Yvette: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and Veterinary 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 employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary  professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about the top career mistakes for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Yvette: Stacy, what kind of career mistakes are we going to explore today?

Stacy: I’d like to discuss some mistakes that can hurt a person’s career over time, not something that has a big impact and you notice immediately. For instance, embezzling money from your employer is a big career mistake and also a crime. I think everyone can agree on that. However, that’s not the type of mistake that I want to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about little mistakes that can add up to limit a person’s opportunities without them even realizing that it’s happening.

Yvette: Okay, that makes sense. Where would you like to start?

Stacy: The first mistake I’d like to discuss is setting expectations for performance within the workplace. I’m sure our many of our listeners have heard the expression “under-promise and over-deliver.” That means when you’re setting expectations with another person, it’s a good idea to promise something that you know you can absolutely deliver and then, when the time comes, deliver more than you promised.

Yvette: So not only do you meet expectations, but you also exceed those expectations.

Stacy: That’s right. However, a mistake that some people make is that they get those two mixed up. They over-promise and they under-deliver, and that can cause a problem. The reason that it causes a problem is because it appears as though they’re not meeting expectations. And this is also an issue related to personal branding.

Yvette: That makes sense Stacy. Tell us more about that.

Stacy: When you’re trying to brand yourself in a positive way, it’s very important that you do what you say you’re going to do. When you’re able to do that, you brand yourself as someone who is reliable, and when you brand yourself as someone who is reliable, you’re taking a big step toward branding yourself as someone who is trustworthy. Trust is a difficult thing to create, and it’s an even more difficult thing to maintain. So in essence, when you over-promise and under-deliver, you’re branding yourself as someone who is unreliable, and in a worst-case scenario, you’re branding yourself as someone who is untrustworthy.

Yvette: I imagine that if you do that consistently, it can definitely hurt your career.

Stacy: Yes, it absolutely can. That’s why you don’t want it to happen once, much less multiple times.

Yvette: What other mistakes are on our list?

Stacy: The next one that I’d like to discuss is being comfortable, or more accurately, being complacent. This is something that we’ve touched upon before on our podcast. That’s because being comfortable or being complacent can be very dangerous for an Animal Health or Veterinary professional. And there are a number of different ways that a person can allow themselves to get too comfortable.

Yvette: Which ways are those?

Stacy: First, a person can become comfortable in their current job. They can take their job for granted. As a result, they don’t engage in continuous training and education, something of which I’m a big advocate. Regardless of what your career goals are, you should continuously be sharpening your existing skills and acquiring new skills. If you don’t, then you’re not providing additional value to your employer, and value is what drives the employment marketplace and keeps you employed and moving forward in your career.

Second, a person can be comfortable in their career to the point where they don’t update their resume and LinkedIn profile on a consistent basis. I see this time and time again. I speak with professionals who haven’t updated their resume in years. This definitely hurts them when an employment opportunity comes along that could change their career and their life.

Third, a person can become comfortable in terms of their networking efforts. Networking is also something of which I’m a big advocate. You must continually try to expand your professional network. As I’ve said before, it’s not just what you know, but it’s also who you know. You never know who someone knows or what information they could be privy to. They could know about a job opportunity that you don’t know about. And of course, when I talk about expanding your network, I also mean including an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter in your network. They definitely have information that you do not have about job openings and other developments in the marketplace.

And Yvette, I’d like to discuss soft skills specifically for a moment.

Yvette: Okay. What would you like to say about those?

Stacy: When I was talking a moment ago about continuous training and education, I was talking about technical skills, but I was also talking about soft skills. In fact, I was especially talking about soft skills. That’s because soft skills are in high demand within the marketplace including within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. And since they’re in high demand, those professionals who possess these skills will have an advantage in the marketplace. Conversely, those professionals who do not possess these skills will not have an edge or advantage. So I believe that it is definitely a mistake for a person to not improve their existing soft skills and acquire new soft skills.

Yvette: What are some of the more important soft skills that professionals need to focus on?

Stacy: Two of the big ones are active listening and emotional intelligence. When you think about it, those two skills go hand-in-hand. As we’ve discussed before, emotional intelligence is the skill of being able to identify the emotions of other people and then influence those emotions in a positive way. However, in order to first correctly identify the emotions of other people, you must be able to listen well. You must be able to actively listen, which means listening with intent and not passively listening to the point where you’re only waiting for the other person to stop talking so you have a chance to speak.

Being self-aware is also part of personal branding and emotional intelligence. When a person is not self-aware, they’re not aware of how they make people feel during their interactions with them. Not being self-aware can prevent you from receiving a promotion, receiving a raise, or receiving a job offer. If you’re a hiring manager, not being self-aware can prevent you from retaining your best employees. And if you can’t retain your best employees, that’s going to have an adverse effect on not only the organization, but also on your career. That’s because it’s part of your responsibility to retain your best employees.

Yvette: So if a person doesn’t even know how they affect others, then they certainly won’t be able to identify the emotions of other people and then influence those emotions in a positive way.

Stacy: That’s right. You can see how all of these soft skills are interrelated and why they’re so important to Animal Health employers and Veterinary employers.

Yvette: I certainly can. Stacy, what other mistakes are on our list?

Stacy: Well, I saved the biggest one for last, and that mistake is being fearful of change. And there are two main ways that fear can impact a person’s career. First, it can impact  it at their current employer, and second, it can also interfere with their chances of landing a great new employment opportunity with another employer.

You should not fear change at your current employer, especially in terms of how things are done. Change is inevitable, no matter where you are. You can’t expect to do things a certain way forever because they’ve always been done that way. The marketplace is constantly changing and you need to be able to adapt to continuous change.  Remember, the value that you provide is what is most important to your current employer. Just like everything else, that value should  continue to evolve. In other words, you should strive to provide more value and better value. That’s what your employer is looking for, and that’s what you should give them.

You should also not let fear stop you from exploring other employment opportunities. It’s the fear of the unknown that prevents people from considering other opportunities that could help them grow their career and enjoy more professional satisfaction. This is also something that we’ve touched upon before on this podcast, but it bears repeating, and that’s because of how important it is. Perhaps more than any other mistake that we’ve talked about today, being fearful of change can hurt a person’s career in more ways than they know. The key is to not be fearful of change, but to embrace it as much as possible.

Yvette: Stacy, we’re just about out of time for today. Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Stacy: Yes, working with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter can help you to avoid some of these mistakes. The right recruiter has the knowledge, experience, and expertise that can help a professional navigate their current employment situation and also explore and pursue opportunities with other employers. A recruiter can help you do things the right way and give you good career advice, so you don’t do anything that will hurt your career.

Yvette: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And for those people who are considering a job change, there are plenty of employment opportunities on The VET Recruiter website, aren’t there?

Stacy: Yes, there are. For those listeners who want to change their current situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite them to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. We have  a number of employment opportunities available on our site, and new ones are posted on a regular basis.

Yvette: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It has been my pleasure Yvette, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health Employment Insider !

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