Episode #51 – Career Planning in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession

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

 

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about career planning in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

 

Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here today. And I’m excited to be talking about the topic of career planning.

 

Sharita: Stacy, why is career planning so important?

 

Stacy: Well, it’s very simple. You can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you want to go in the first place. Without a plan, you can just kind of “float” or “drift” through your career. And “floating”  and “drifting” is not the best way to maximize your career and the opportunities that it can offer to you.

 

Sharita: So what would you say is the best way to approach career planning?

 

Stacy: Well, there are two different facets of a person’s career. There’s the professional side and the personal side. That’s because an individual’s personal life affects their professional life and vice-versa. It’s important to know what you want in both areas and how they line up with one another.

 

Sharita: Let’s start with the professional side, then. Which things would you say are important to consider professionally when it comes to career planning?

 

Stacy: Well, the first thing to consider is passion. People like to feel as though they’re doing something that they’re passionate about. At the very least, they like to believe that they’re pursuing their passion. You’ve probably heard the saying before that if you love what you do for a living, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life. There is definitely some truth in that statement.

 

So when it comes to planning a career in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession, passion is a factor. There is a crucial first step, though.

 

Sharita: What’s that?

 

Stacy: Finding out exactly what you’re passionate about! You can’t follow your passion if you don’t know what it is. That’s easier for some people than it is for others, but it’s necessary for successful career planning.

 

Something else that should be considered is natural talent. In other words, what are you naturally good at doing? When you have a natural talent for something, it increases the chances that you can turn that something into a career. Perhaps somebody will be willing to pay you for what you’re good at doing. An optimal situation is when you’re passionate about something and you also have a natural talent for that something. That’s pretty much the “best of both worlds,” although that is not always the case. Sometimes people have a passion for something but they don’t have a natural talent for it, or they have a natural talent for something but they’re not that passionate about it.

 

The third item on our list of professional considerations are skills. I’m talking about all types of skills here: hard skills, soft skills, and transferrable skills. When you’re actively engaging in career planning, it’s important to identify first the skills that you have and then second the skill level that you possess within each of those skill categories. It’s also a good idea to prioritize your skills, with your most valuable skills at the top of the list. Remember, value is everything. Employers want candidates who offer tremendous value. That’s why they hire candidates, because they believe they’ll be receiving a lot of value from them.

 

Sharita: What’s the final factor on our list of professional considerations?

 

Stacy: The final factor is a needs analysis that a person should conduct. Or maybe to put it more accurately, a needs and wants analysis, because the goal of the exercise is to figure out what the person wants in their career from a professional point of view. This includes what type of work they want to do, what kind of organization they want to work for, and how they define career success.

 

Sharita: What do you mean by that, how they define career success?

 

Stacy: The meaning of career success is not the same for everybody. It’s not a “one size fits all” type of arrangement. What one person considers to be success in their career, another person might not, and vice-versa. It can be very subjective. Some people want to “set the world on fire,” so to speak, while other people have more modest goals. Perhaps they just want a job that they enjoy, that provides for their family, and that offers a good work-life balance.

 

The key is to identify what career success means to you before engaging in career planning. The last thing you want to do is plan for a career that does not line up with what you want. That is ultimately counter-productive and more than likely will be quite frustrating for the person or the people involved, including the members of your family.

 

Sharita: Now that you’ve broached the subject of family, should we continue our discussion and focus on the personal considerations of career planning?

 

Stacy: Absolutely, and family is the first personal consideration on our list. There is a lot that family can entail. It can entail a spouse or partner, or it could also entail children. Actually, anybody with whom you’re living and who is affected by your employment situation can be considered family. So when you’re planning your career, you should be thinking about how your plan will potentially affect them, as well.

 

That leads right into the second personal consideration, which is work-life balance. This is another factor that is subjective, meaning that it’s viewed differently by different people. Some people are okay with working more and working longer hours than others. For some, working 50 or 60 hours a week is a good balance. For others, anything over 40 hours a week is too much. Once again, it’s important to figure out what the right balance is for you and then implement that into your plan.

 

Sharita: What’s next on our list for personal considerations?

 

Stacy: Relocation is next, and this is critical. You might have heard that getting a new job and moving can be two of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Well, if you relocate for a new job, then you’re potentially going through two of the most stressful events in your life at the same time!

 

As a recruiter, I can say that you should consider relocation when it comes to new employment opportunities, especially if those opportunities are better than the one you have right now. If you don’t, it can be a career-limiting move. I’ve written about this topic before, and I encourage our listeners to read that article, which is on The VET Recruiter website. When somebody is faced with the prospect of relocation, there are a series of questions they must ask themselves. Those questions are as follows:

 

  • Is this position more beneficial for my family in regards to income and benefits?
  • Will our children be able to adjust to the move?
  • Will this part of the country that we are relocating to benefit my family?
  • Will my spouse be able to find a job?
  • Will this position be essential for furthering my career?
  • What will we gain or lose by relocating?

 

While I encourage people to consider relocation, it is not something to be taken lightly. It requires thought and discussion.

 

Sharita: We have one more item in terms of personal considerations. What is that?

 

Stacy: That would be the personality or the mindset that the person has. This speaks again to how subjective career planning is, specifically to how important people believe their career is. For some people, their career is the most important thing in their life. For others, their job is just their job. For those people, they might not even put together a career plan. How a person views their job and employment in general affects how they plan for their career.

 

Sharita: What else should our listeners know about career planning?

 

Stacy: There are two main ways that a person can grow their career. They can grow their career with their current employer, or they can do so by seeking out and finding an employment opportunity with another organization. Whatever career planning that a person does is going to fall into one of those two categories. And of course, throughout the course of a person’s life, they’ll grow their career in both of those ways.

 

As we’ve discussed before, people do not work for the same organization for 50 years and then retire with a gold watch anymore. That is simply no longer the case. There is an important fact that some people don’t think about or realize very often, and it involves a simple question.

 

Sharita: What’s that?

 

Stacy: If you’re not planning to retire with your current employer, then you’re going to change jobs eventually. How many of our listeners do you think are planning to retire with their current employer?

 

Sharita: Probably not that many. In fact, there might not be any who are planning to retire with their current employer.

 

Stacy: Exactly, and that’s just one of the many reasons why career planning is so important.

 

Sharita: Before we wrap up today’s episode, is there anything else that you’d like to add?

 

Stacy: Yes. I want to mention again that we have plenty of information on The VET Recruiter website for job seekers and candidates. Just visit www.thevetrecruiter.com and click on the “Candidates” tab. We have information such as Animal Health and Veterinary employment and salary trends, interview tips, resume examples, how to work with a recruiter, and also career planning.

 

Sharita: And of course, working with an Animal Health Recruiter or Veterinary Recruiter is another way to make sure that you have a strategic career plan and that you follow it.

 

Stacy: That is absolutely right! Aligning yourself with an experienced recruiter in your niche is one of the most intelligent career moves that you can make. Recruiters have a tremendous amount of expertise, and you can use that expertise and leverage their connections and resources to find premium employment opportunities that you would not be able to find on your own. With that in mind, I also encourage our listeners to check out the jobs that we have available on The VET Recruiter website. In order to enjoy more success, you must have more options.

 

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today. And for those of you listening, remember to check out all of the information for candidates on The VET Recruiter website.

 

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!