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’s focus is to solve 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 about how to grow your career while working the job that you have now. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.
Julea: Stacy, what inspired you to talk about this topic today on Growing your career while working your current job?
Stacy: A couple of things, actually Julea. I want to set a few things straight. I know for a fact that some professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession are hesitant in their efforts to grow their career. For one thing, they believe that considering and exploring other employment opportunities while they already have a job is disloyal to some extent. They feel like they’re “cheating” on their current employer, and nothing could be further from the truth.
In addition, unless a professional is planning to retire with their current employer, then they’re going to join another organization at some point in the future. So, if that’s the case, then it makes sense to both consider and explore other opportunities while you’re working your current job.
Julea: That’s a great point, Stacy. And we’ve talked before on the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider podcast about how people don’t stay with the same employer for decades anymore.
Stacy: No, they do not. In fact, what’s happening is that people are staying with their employer for smaller amounts of time. In fact, some members of the Millennial Generation have changed jobs every 18 to 24 months. And there is no longer a stigma attached to changing jobs that frequently. It used to be that professionals who changed jobs that frequently were referred to as “job hoppers,” and employers, by and large, avoided them and did not want to hire them.
Julea: But that’s not the case anymore, is it Stacy? Times have changed.
Stacy: No, it is not the case anymore and yes times have changed. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, candidates still hold the leverage, especially in the Veterinary profession right now. And this is especially the case with top candidates, specifically the top 5% to 10% of candidates in the marketplace. Animal Health companies and Veterinary companies need top talent, so they’re not going to NOT hire a top candidate just because they have a history of changing jobs every two years. If they have the chance to hire such a candidate, they’re going to hire them. It’s as simple as that.
Julea: So there really is no downside to considering and exploring other employment opportunities in this market if you’re already employed, is that right?
Stacy: Yes, that’s right Julea. And that’s what I want to talk about today. I’d like to discuss what Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can do to grow their career while they’re working their current job.
Julea: Okay, great. Where would you like to start Stacy?
Stacy: I’m going to start where every professional should start, which is with a career development plan. I’m a big proponent of knowing where you want to go before plotting a course to get there. If you really want to grow your career, then you have to know exactly how you want to grow it. What is your ideal course of the trajectory of your career? Where do you see yourself going? Where do you want to end up? Once again, you must have the end in mind before you start.
Julea: It sounds like professionals must be very specific with their goals and not too general.
Stacy: Yes, that’s right. When you have general goals that are unfocused, then it’s more difficult to grow your career the way that you want. Let’s face it: it’s tough enough stay focused in today’s marketplace with everything going on, including the pandemic. Unexpected things pop up all the time, and it seems like you have to “put out fires,” so to speak, all the time. So, when you have general goals that aren’t focused, then it’s more difficult to move forward in your career. Instead, you’ll be “putting out fires” and quite possibly going nowhere.
Julea: What’s the next step, after a professional sets specific goals for where they want to go and how they want to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career?
Stacy: The next step is to map out what you need to learn and what you need to do to get where you want to go.
Julea: What does that entail, exactly?
Stacy: One of the things that it entails is identifying which skills you will need to grow your career that you don’t already have. When a person wants to grow their career, it is unlikely that they’re going to do so without gaining and developing more skills than what they have right now. Growing your career is all about personal growth, and that includes and acquisition of skills.
Julea: Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can take courses or training to gain new skills. Veterinarians do continuing education each year to learn new skills.
Stacy: Absolutely, and there are two ways in which people can approach this. They can take advantage of any training that their current employer is offering, and they can also take the initiative themselves and engage in training outside of their employer.
Julea: Stacy, is this where people feel as though they’re being disloyal? For example, if they take advantage of training that their current employer offers to them and they might use that training to acquire skills that will make them more attractive to a potential new employer?
Stacy: Yes, but they should not feel guilty or feel as though they’re being disloyal. Ultimately, it falls to the employer to provide training opportunities for its employees. It also falls to the employer to do what is necessary to retain their employees for the long haul. I’ve said this many times before, but what professionals should be loyal to the most is themselves and their career. There’s nothing wrong with being loyal to your employer, but you should not do so at the expense of your own career.
It’s more than okay to put yourself and your career first. After all, companies and organizations are loyal to themselves, and ultimately, they do what is in their best interests. So, along that same vein, Animal Health and Veterinary professionals should do what is in their best interests to grow their Animal Health and Veterinary careers.
Julea: Stacy, what else can Animal Health and Veterinary professionals do to grow their career?
Stacy: This is where networking plays a pivotal role. If you have a goal in mind for your career and there is a position that you’re hoping to fill at some point in the future, you might want to reach out to other Animal Health or Veterinary professionals in the industry who are already in that position. They can tell you things that you might not find out by conducing research, and that’s because they’ve been and are where you want to go.
And yes, with the pandemic, many in-person networking events have been put on hold or they’ve transitioned to online networking events. And if that’s the case, you can still network effectively and gather valuable information that you can put to use in your plan to grow your career. I just attended today an Animal Health industry conference and made some new connections through networking.
And the topic of networking brings me to the next item on our list that we need to talk about.
Julea: Which is what Stacy?
Stacy: Taking advantage of mentoring situations. And you can find a mentor at your current employer, or you might have another friend or colleague in the profession who can serve as a mentor. In fact, you might be able to build a mentoring relationship through the networking efforts that we mentioned just a few minutes ago. Once again, a mentor has experience and expertise that you do not have, and as part of the relationship that you have with them, they’re willing to share that experience and expertise with you.
But it doesn’t have to be a one-sided relationship, and in actuality, it should not be.
Julea: What do you mean by that Stacy?
Stacy: A solid mentoring relationship isn’t one-sided. It’s all about value. Most relationships are about value. When you have a mentor and they’re sharing their experience and expertise with you, it means that you are deriving value from them and from the relationship. Ideally, you are also able to share things with them that are valuable. It could be a new piece of information, a new technique, an idea, or simply just another perspective on a situation.
Julea: Stacy, this sounds like another instance in which the Principle of Reciprocity can be applied.
Stacy: Yes, absolutely, and I’m glad you brought that up! As we’ve discussed before, according to the Principle of Reciprocity, when you first give to others, they are more inclined to want to give back to you. So, when it comes to building and fostering a mentoring relationship, a professional must be prepared to provide value first before asking for value in return. Now considering the disparity in the amount of experience a person might have in relation to their mentor, it sounds like it would difficult. Despite that, it’s a good idea for someone who is looking to derive value from a mentoring relationship is willing to first offer and provide as much value as they can.
Julea: Stacy, since we’re talking about networking and mentoring relationships, it occurs to me that a professional looking to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career will receive a lot of feedback and some of that feedback might include some criticism. Is that accurate to say?
Stacy: Yes, that is accurate to say. And how a person reacts to feedback is very important in what they do with that feedback and how they use it to grow their career.
And with that in mind, I’d like to read a passage from one of my favorite personal development books, The Principles of Success by Jack Canfield. Here’s the passage:
“Most people are afraid to ask for corrective feedback because they are afraid of what they are going to hear. But you’re better off knowing the truth than not knowing the truth. Once you know it, you can do something about it. You cannot fix what you don’t know is broken. You cannot improve your life, your relationships, your game, or your performance without feedback.” Feedback is a gift. Without feedback it is tough to grow. We all have our blind spots.
Julea: Wow, that’s pretty impactful Stacy!
Stacy: Yes, it is, and it’s absolutely true. You can not improve your life or your career without feedback and without responding in a positive way to that feedback.
Julea: Stacy, we’re just about of time for today. Is there anything else that you’d like to add before we end today’s episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider podcast?
Stacy: Yes, there is. I know for a fact that it can be difficult to try to grow your career when you’re already working hard at your current job. And that is one of the reasons why aligning yourself with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter is an intelligent move for growing your career. An experienced recruiter can keep you informed of premium employment opportunities that exist in the marketplace that you may not be aware of. In fact, you don’t even have to search for new opportunities if you have a good recruiter who keeps you informed of opportunities that could be better than the job you currently have.
And once again, it’s certainly not disloyal for a professional to align themselves with a good recruiter. It doesn’t mean that they’re “cheating” on their current employer. Remember, it’s good to be loyal to your employer, but it’s better to be loyal to yourself and your Animal Health or Veterinary career first.
Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And before we end today’s episode, I know that there is a lot of great information on The VET Recruiter website. Can you describe for the listening audience what is available to them on the site?
Stacy: Yes, absolutely. In addition to an extensive blog that we have for both Animal Health employers and job seekers, we have a number of other resources. For example, we have a page devoted to our recruiting process and examples of the many placements that we’ve made during the past 20+ years. On the job seeker side, we have career resources, including interview tips, information about relocation, and best practices for working with an Animal Health or veterinary recruiter. But I think that one of the most valuable resources for recruiters that we have are our jobs.
Julea: Yes, there are Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs on The VET Recruiter website, and new ones posted regularly.
Stacy: Yes, and our jobs are broken down into different categories. For example, there are Animal Health industry jobs, Veterinary practice jobs, and jobs categorized by geographic location. You can also search through our jobs by title or any other term that you would like to search on. There are two other things to keep in mind, too.
Julea: What’s that Stacy?
Stacy: First, we add new jobs to the website all the time, on an almost daily basis, so it’s a good idea to check the site often for new jobs. And second, some of the jobs that The VET Recruiter has are part of what is known as the “hidden job market.” This means the organization with the job opening wants us to conduct a confidential search and that the job is not being advertised through traditional means, such as the major job boards. That’s why I recommend not only checking out our Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs on a regular basis, but also submitting your resume so that you can be considered for positions that are part of the “hidden job market in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession.”
Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. 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!