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Episode #310 – How to Maximize Earnings at Your Veterinary Job or Animal Health Job

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #310 - How to Maximize Earnings at Your Veterinary Job or Animal Health Job

Caleb: 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.

Today, we will be talking about how to maximize earnings at your Animal Health job or Veterinary job. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Caleb. As always, I am glad to be here with you today.

Caleb: Stacy, can you discuss the catalyst for today’s podcast episode before we get started?

Stacy: Absolutely. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in the job market right now, especially in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. Because of this, it is a great time for professionals working in Animal Health or Veterinary Medicine to benchmark their compensation to assess whether or not they’re being adequately compensated by their employer.

Caleb: Is this because of the talent shortage?

Stacy: Yes, you could say that. First, the National Unemployment Rate has been near a historic low for quite a while now. Not only that, but as we have discussed before, the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession is nearly non-existent. As a result, Animal Health and Veterinary professionals have more leverage in the job market overall and they also have more leverage in their Animal Health or Veterinary job.

Caleb: That all makes sense. Where would you like to start Stacy?

Stacy: Since I am a believer in the fundamentals, I’d like to start with the basics.

Caleb: What are the basics of today’s discussion?

Stacy: A person’s value. Everything in a person’s job and career comes down to their value, and that is the key to maximizing earnings at your Animal Health or Veterinary job.

That is because organizations want employees who will do one of three things. Or all three things, actually.

Caleb: What three things are those?

Stacy: Either make the organization money, save it money, or provide some other type of value. That is how the organization makes a profit. An employee must be contributing in some way to their employer’s financial bottom line.

Caleb: So, I’m guessing there’s a correlation between the amount of value that a person provides and their ability to maximize their employer’s earnings.

Stacy: You guessed correctly. In order to maximize your earning potential with your current employer, you must maximize your value as an employee. And the main ways to increase your value is to make your employer more money and/or save your employer money.

Caleb: So how can a person do that? What are the specific things they can do to increase their value?

Stacy: There are multiple things that a person can do to increase their value. The first thing is to acquire new knowledge.

This means learning 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 career. Even if your employer does provide some opportunities, you should supplement what they provide with additional training. Invest in yourself and you will be the beneficiary.

Caleb: So, a person should even go beyond the training and development that their employer is providing?

Stacy: Yes, they should, if they truly want to maximize their value and their earnings.

Caleb: What is another way?

Stacy: Another way is to 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 will make you more attractive to potential future employers.

Caleb: What kind of certifications should people get?

Stacy: This will depend largely on the person’s job title and the plans they have for their career, so you have to do your homework and conduct research.

The third thing that you can do to increase your value is stay on top of industry trends. The tough part is that trends change on an almost daily basis, making it difficult to be completely on top of them.

Animal Health and Veterinary 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 companies in their space. As a result, they fall behind and lose market share. This represents another opportunity to add value.

Caleb: How else can a person add to the value they provide?

Stacy: The last item on our list might be a bit controversial, and that’s to ask for more responsibility.

Caleb: Why is that controversial?

Stacy: Unfortunately, there are some people who believe they should not take on more responsibility until they’re paid more to do so. They think, “Why should I take on more responsibility if I’m not getting paid more?”

I believe this is the wrong approach. Asking for more responsibility without being first paid for doing so is one of the most effective ways to increase your value with your employer. It is proactive and it illustrates to your supervisor that you’re willing to do what it takes.

Caleb: Is this another way of illustrating that a person has to increase their value first before they can increase and maximize earnings in their Animal Health or Veterinary job?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely. You must provide more value before pursuing more compensation. In other words, you cannot maximize your earning potential without first maximizing your value, and that is why asking for more responsibility is a good idea.

Caleb: This is the Principle of Reciprocity, is it not?

Stacy: Yes, it is! And we have discussed this previously multiple times. You can see how the principle has so many applications, especially in the professional setting.

The Principle of Reciprocity means that when someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give something in return. That is why you should focus on always giving to others instead of taking. That way, when the time comes, you will be able to make a withdrawal from their “trust bank account.”

Caleb: In this case, that withdrawal might be in the form of a raise, since we are talking about maximizing earnings in your Animal Health or Veterinary job, correct?

Stacy: Yes, that is right. Now I would like to move on to the next step, to what a person should do after they’ve increased their value.

Caleb: What step is that?

Stacy: To become noticed within your industry or your profession, and there are actually benefits both for the person who does this and also for their employer.

Caleb: Really? How is that?

Stacy: Let us start with the employer. If you are 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. This will brand your employer as an organization that has top-notch employees who are active within the industry, which is actually how it wants to be branded.

In addition, when you brand your employer in a positive way, then this continues to contribute to the value that you provide for the organization. Not only that, but by increasing your visibility, you’re also becoming noticed by potential future employers. Before these employers can recruit you and possibly hire you, they first have to notice you.

Caleb: So, it’s sort of like a win-win situation for both you and the employer?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right, and that is the best type of situation that you can create.

Caleb: So, what can a person do to get noticed in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Once again, there are multiple things that you can do. The first thing is to attend Animal Health industry trade shows and Veterinary trade shows. Not only are these events great for continuing education, but they’re also great for networking.

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

Caleb: So, when you attend these events, you’re actually accomplishing two things at the same time. You’re adding to your knowledge, which is increasing your value, and you are also getting noticed in your industry. Is that right?

Stacy: Correct, and both of those things contribute to maximizing earnings in your Animal Health Job or Veterinary job.

Another way to get noticed is to join and be active in industry associations. This can include associations like the American Veterinary Medical Association or the American Association of Industry Veterinarians. Once again, knowledge and networking should be priorities when joining these associations. You should have a plan for maximizing your membership. And of course, both of these organizations have a convention every year, so you can see how these items are interrelated.

Caleb: What else can you do to get noticed in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession?

Stacy: You can write papers and publish blog posts or articles. There are multiple sources within the Veterinary profession where you can publish content. It would be wise to identify them, seek them out, and inquire about how you can contribute.

Then, if you’re writing papers and publishing blog posts or articles, you can share those things on social media. It helps to brand you professionally in a positive way. Obviously, LinkedIn would be the best place to share things that you have written.

Caleb: Stacy, I have a question. Everything that we’ve talked about so far about maximizing earnings for a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary job—it all leads to asking for or receiving a raise, is that right?

Stacy: That is correct. When we talk about maximizing earnings or earning potential, what we’re talking about is maximizing your salary or the total amount of compensation that you earn from your employer.

Caleb: Will we be discussing how to ask for a raise from your current employer today?

Stacy: Yes, as a matter of fact, that’s next on our agenda! Sometimes raises are given before you ask for them, and sometimes you must ask for them. It is the latter scenario that we’ll be addressing today. If you’ve increased the value that you provide for your employer and believe that you deserve a raise that reflects that value, then you can negotiate a raise.

Caleb: How can a person do that, successfully negotiate a raise?

Stacy: There are five steps involved, and we will go through them one at a time. The first step is to know why you deserve a raise, because if you do not know why, then you can’t expect your boss or employer to know.

What concrete contributions have you made to your employer’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 have 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.

Caleb: What is the next step in terms of negotiating a raise?

Stacy: The next step is knowing 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?

Caleb: How should people find out this information?

Stacy: There are different sources you can use when conducting your research. There are the American Veterinary Medical Association and Payscale.com websites. And of course, if you have a relationship with an experienced and reputable recruiter, they should also have up-to-date information about what your level of compensation should be.

However, it is not enough to know why to ask for a raise and what to ask for. It is also important to know when to ask.

Caleb: Really? Why is that?

Stacy: Timing is definitely a factor when you’re asking for a raise. For example, 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 is not just you that you have to worry about. There’s also your employer’s financial footing and the economy in general. Is the economy good? Is your employer on solid footing? If the answer to both of those questions is “Yes,” then this would be a good time to ask for a raise.

Caleb: So, we have three steps down and two more to go. Which step is next?

Stacy: Next is knowing what would be acceptable to you. This is referred to as the Reservation Value associated with your negotiation. The Reservation Value is the maximum amount that you would be willing to give up or the minimum level you would be willing to accept. Although we do not have time to discuss all of the negotiation terms today, this is one that I’ll touch on.

Perhaps your employer cannot swing the raise that you’re seeking. What else would you consider to be attractive in the way of increased compensation? A more flexible schedule? Training opportunities? These things are all part of your Reservation Value and part of the negotiation process overall.

Caleb: Okay, we have just one more step to go in terms of negotiating a raise with your current employer. What would it be?

Stacy: The final element that we will be discussing today is knowing what to say and how to say it. After all, you have to communicate to your employer that you want a raise before you can actually receive one.

Caleb: What does this involve?

Stacy: For one thing, it involves writing out how you are going to broach the subject of a raise and what you’re going to say. This includes why you think you deserve a raise and what you expect to receive in a raise. Of course, you want to be as prepared as you can possibly be. With this in mind, it would be a good idea to 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 will say it. You can also practice role playing with a friend, family member, or colleague.

Caleb: Stacy, we’re just about out of time, so is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Yes, I would like to reiterate that you have to give first before you can expect to receive. This is true in your relationships with other people, and it’s also true in the relationship that you have with your employer. You cannot wait around to get a raise before you work harder, put forth more effort, and increase your value. That is backwards thinking, and it’s not going to help you maximize earnings in your Animal Health or Veterinary career, nor is it going to help you maximize your professional potential through career growth. This is why I am a big advocate of the Principle of Reciprocity. If you practice that principle throughout your career, then you can’t go wrong. You won’t have to chase success, because success will chase you.

Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about how to maximize earnings in your Animal Health or Veterinary job.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

Caleb: Before we go, if you are an employer with a critical hiring need, The VET Recruiter handles executive search for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession so if you need Animal Health executive search or recruiting be sure to reach out to Stacy. If you are an Animal Health executive or professional or veterinarian looking to make your career move be sure to reach out to Stacy. Check out The VET Recruiter’s hot Animal Health jobs and Veterinarian jobs. Thanks again for joining us and we will see you again next week.

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