Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter, Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter is focused on solving talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, 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 episode, we’ll be talking with Stacy Pursell about the steps involved in growing your Animal Health or Veterinary career in 2021. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.
Julea: Stacy, last week we discussed assessing your Animal Health or Veterinary career here at the end of 2020. Is today’s podcast episode an extension of that or the second part of that episode?
Stacy: Yes, you could say that. Before you can take steps to grow your career, you first must perform an assessment of it. And that’s what we did last week. Specifically, I posed a series of questions that professionals could be asking themselves right now as we get ready to say good-bye to 2020 and gear up for the New Year as we go into 2021. I’m sure many of us are looking forward to putting 2020 behind us and moving forward into 2021.
Julea: Stacy, and just to recap, the answers to those questions you posed in last week’s podcast are what form the basis of a person’s plan to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career, is that right?
Stacy: Yes, that’s right Julea. And as we discussed last week, when you answer the assessment questions, it’s a good idea to be as specific as possible. That’s because when you answer questions in a specific way, it means that you will have more concrete information and that information will form the foundation for specific steps that you can take to create growth and development.
Julea: Okay, great! Where would you like to start today Stacy?
Stacy: Well, Julea, once again I would like to reiterate that what you do not want to do in regard to your Animal Health or Veterinary career is create New Year’s resolutions. As we discussed last week, only about eight percent (8%) of people actually follow through on their resolutions. Think about that for a moment. If you set other goals and knew that you only had an eight percent chance of achieving them, wouldn’t you look at those goals differently or approach them differently?
Julea: Yes, I suppose you’re right. No one sets goals for themselves thinking that they only have an eight percent chance of achieving those goals. But that’s what seems to happen with New Year’s resolutions.
Stacy: Yes, it does. So instead of making up New Year’s resolutions, we’re going to create a plan for growing your Animal Health or Veterinary career instead. And I have three words that describe a solid plan.
Julea: What words are those Stacy?
Stacy: The first word is “proactive,” and we’ve talked about being proactive before. We’re talking about it again because it’s so important. The bottom line with a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career is that things do not just “magically” happen. You have to make them happen, and when it comes to career growth and development, that means taking calculated risks. Those risks could include taking a step outside of your current organization to find your next growth opportunity, if that opportunity represents the next best step in your career.
The second word is “flexible.” While it’s good to plan, you must also realize that circumstances and situations are in a near-constant state of flux. This past year is a prime example of that. As a result, adjustments to your plan might be necessary. However, the goals of the plan should remain in focus, with corresponding courses of action.
The third word is “immediate.” You can’t do anything about the past, and you can’t predict the future. However, there is much that you can do in the present. Today is literally where all the action is. Make the most of every moment in the present, and incorporate that philosophy into your career plan.
So forget about resolutions. What’s your plan? What are you going to do in 2021 to advance your career and take your skills, abilities, and talents to the next level? What are you going to do today—right now—to be proactive about improving your career?
Julea: Stacy, how would you answer those questions, specifically?
Stacy: I’m glad you asked, because I have a list of things that Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can do to help grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career in 2021.
Julea: Great! What are they Stacy?
Stacy: I have four main steps Julea, and the first one is to increase your value, especially in regard to your soft skill set.
Julea: Why do you say especially the soft skill set?
Stacy: Because a person’s soft skill set is how they can set themselves apart from other professionals and other job candidates in the marketplace. If you have two candidates who have basically the same technical skill level and experience, it’s often their soft skill set that will break the tie between the two of them. The employer will want to hire the candidate who is better with people and might be a better cultural fit within the organization.
We’re talking about skills such as negotiation, sales (or the art of persuasion), and leadership. And as we’ve discussed before multiple times, everything in the employment marketplace boils down to value. So it’s a good idea to assess how much value you provide to your current employer, including the different ways that you provide that value. Once you’ve done that, you can brainstorm ways to increase your value to your current and future employers.
Julea: That makes sense Stacy. What’s our next step?
Stacy: The next step is to update your resume and also your LinkedIn profile at the same time. Once again, your LinkedIn profile is NOT the same thing as your resume. One does not replace the other, so you have to continue building and maintaining both.
Ideally, you should update your resume once a quarter or every six months. It should also be updated following major achievements or other changes. The real test is this: if someone asked for your resume, would you be able to give it to them almost immediately . . . or would you have to ask for a day or two to get it together? Ideally you would want to have your resume ready at any given time to be prepared to send to a hiring manager or a recruiter when an opportunity comes up.
The same thing that goes for your resume also goes for your LinkedIn profile. When a hiring manager receives a candidate’s resume, the first thing they do is look at the candidate’s LinkedIn profile. What you don’t want them to see are discrepancies between the two.
And that leads us to our next step.
Julea: Which step is that Stacy?
Stacy: Julea, it is focusing on your personal brand, with the goal of optimizing it as much as possible. People sometimes forget about this one, but it’s just as important as the other items on our list. What kind of experience do you provide for people? What are their thoughts following an encounter with you? That, in a nutshell, constitutes your personal brand. And an experience with you can be something as small as an email or a phone call. It applies to more than just a face-to-face or in-person interaction.
And going back to what we just said about the resume and LinkedIn profile, what if you have a poorly written resume? What if your LinkedIn profile is incomplete or it does not match what is on your resume? Both of these are personal branding mistakes. They send the wrong message, especially when you want to be considered for a premium job opportunity.
And LinkedIn is actually part of the final step that I’d like to discuss today.
Julea: Which step is that?
Stacy: The next step is increasing your networking efforts, and that includes building a relationship with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter.
Julea: And LinkedIn is a place where people can start with their networking efforts, isn’t that right Stacy?
Stacy: Yes, absolutely. Start with LinkedIn. Seek to expand your network. Engage with your connections. LinkedIn is all about engagement. However, effective networking does not begin and end with LinkedIn.
Julea: Stacy, what about conferences and tradeshows? Haven’t many of those been postponed or cancelled during this time of Covid-19?
Stacy: Yes, they have. But some conferences and tradeshows have also been turned into online events. So it makes sense to see which industry events are going to be held in 2021, when they’re going to be held, and whether or not they’ll be in-person events or virtual ones. Although I would say that face-to-face networking is generally more effective than virtual efforts, virtual networking is better than none at all.
Julea: That makes sense. And you also mentioned building a relationship with an experienced Animal Health or Veterinary recruiter. Is the New Year a good time to do that, as well?
Stacy: Actually, any time is a good time to build a relationship with an experienced Animal Health or Veterinary recruiter. But yes, the beginning of a New Year is a great time to start fresh and build a relationship with an experienced recruiter who can help you grow your Animal Health or Veterinary career.
This is a strategic move for a number of reasons. First of all, statistics show that approximately 64% of all executive-level positions are filled through executive recruiters. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, these are positions that organizations usually want to fill in the most comprehensive fashion possible. Second, these are positions that are the most important to fill. This means employers want to hire the most qualified candidates for their most important roles.
In addition, the right recruiter has knowledge that they can share with you—for example; knowledge about the job market, including the “hidden job market,” which are jobs that employers do not post through traditional channels like job boards. They also have relationships with hiring managers and they can provide advice and guidance regarding the interviewing and hiring process. Not only that, but they can also be on the lookout for your ideal job, and once they come across it, they can alert you about it.
Chances are good that you’re a busy Animal Health or Veterinary professional. You don’t have the time or the energy to conduct a full-blown job search. However, when you have a relationship with an experienced Animal Health or Veterinary recruiter, it ceases to be a concern. That’s because they can be on the lookout for opportunities, and when one comes across their desk that they believe would be a fit for you, they’ll contact you.
It’s like having an agent helping you to find a better opportunity so that you can enhance your job satisfaction and accelerate your career growth. It’s kind of like having your own “Jerry Maguire,” if you will.
Julea: Yes, I remember that movie, “Jerry Maguire”! Being a recruiter is really like being a talent scout or agent, isn’t it Stacy?
Stacy: From the point of view of the job seeker or job candidate, it absolutely is, and that’s how they should view recruiters in the marketplace. In fact, we have had candidates in our firm approach us and ask us to be their “Jerry Maguire”.
Julea: Stacy, we’re just about out of time. Is there anything else that you’d like to add before we end today’s podcast episode?
Stacy: Yes, when it comes to growing your Animal Health or Veterinary career, there are more steps than the ones we’ve discussed today. However, these are the main ones, the ones that people should pay attention to the most. It’s important to note that growing one’s career is a journey, not necessarily a destination. There are many stops along the way, but they’re all headed in the same direction, which is the realization of a person’s professional potential and the opportunity for them to experience satisfaction with their Animal Health or Veterinary career.
As we’ve been discussing, this past year has been a rough one. There is no doubt about that. However, it still represents part of the growing and evolving process. As a result, you can learn from what happened in 2020 and put that knowledge to use making 2021 a much better year. In fact, it could be the best year yet for some Animal Health and Veterinary professionals.
Julea: Yes, Stacy, I agree! And thank you for all of this great information. For those of you in our listening audience who are Animal health or Veterinary professionals and are considering a job change, there are employment opportunities located on The VET Recruiter website. I encourage you to check those out. You can also subscribe for The VET Recruiter newsletter which typically goes out at least once a month and contains some of our Hot Animal Health and Veterinary Jobs.
Stacy: Yes, for those listeners who want to change their current job situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite you to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. We post new Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs on a regular basis.
Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Also, if you are an Animal Health or Veterinary employer and need to hire top talent in the Animal Health or Veterinary Industry reach out to Stacy. She would be glad to visit with you to see how The VET Recruiter can help you find the best talent to fill your most critical Animal Health or Veterinary positions. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: It’s been my pleasure Julea, and I look forward to our next episode of “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider”! Have a great holiday season everyone!