6 Career-Limiting Moves for Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

To enjoy success in anything that you do, either personally or professionally, you must be in position to enjoy that success. It does not just happen “all of a sudden” or “out of nowhere.” Even when a person becomes an “overnight sensation” in the entertainment industry, it turns out that is a misrepresentation when you dig down into the person’s story and discover how much hard work and sacrifice was necessary.

The same goes for your Animal Health or Veterinary career. You will not enjoy success “all of a sudden” or “out of nowhere.” Instead, you will need to position yourself for that success. Doing so requires both hard work and effort and also the correct approach and right frame of mind.

I’ve been in the executive search and recruiting profession and around in the Animal Health Industry and  Veterinary Profession for a long time so I’ve seen a lot. And as I’ve pointed out in previous blog posts, I’ve witnessed just about the entire spectrum of behavior for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals. In other words, I’ve seen what works in order to be successful in one’s career and what does not work, and not just once or twice, either. I’ve seen the behavior—and the consequences of that behavior—over and over again.

In this particular blog post, I’m going to tackle the topic of what does NOT work. One of the reasons I’m doing this is because some professionals make mistakes in regards to their career that they don’t even realize they’re making. They don’t have the opportunity, as I do, to see how the mistakes of other people affect those people, especially their careers. However, since I do have that opportunity, I want to share what I’ve seen and also what I’ve learned.

With all of this in mind, below are six career-limiting moves for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals:

#1—Not being open to considering opportunity

Nothing will stop your career from going anywhere faster than this will. You must be open to at least hearing about other opportunities if you want to enjoy more career success. As I’ve said previously, if you’re not planning to retire with your current employer, then you should be open to hearing about other opportunities. So . . . do you know for a fact that you’ll be retiring with your current employer?

By the way, I have had people tell me they plan to retire with their currently employer only to become the victim of a layoff or downsizing and then they found themselves in a position not to retire with their current employer. Some of these individuals have passed up opportunities with other companies because they thought their current employer was committed to them until they retired only to find out that they were not committed to them long-term since the business had other plans or needs.

#2—Not being open to relocation

In some instances, a premier employment opportunity involves relocation. Every once in a while, it’s literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one’s career. Once again, I say this because I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen candidates accept a position and relocate, and enjoy success and upward mobility and I’ve seen candidates refuse to consider an opportunity or decline to pursue it after consideration even though the position was clearly better than their current job. Yes, relocation and moving can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it is sometimes necessary to grow your career by leaps and bounds. I had one executive tell me he could not relocate because he had a 5 year old at home who would be starting kindergarten within the year. Since when did  5 year olds start calling the shots for their dad’s career?

Another example is year’s ago I recall someone telling me she would not relocate for another position. When I told this individual that this was as career limiting move she disagreed with me. Years later this individual did decide to relocate to another geographic area and her career really took off. She then called to tell me that I was right when I told her not being willing to relocate is a career limiting move, but she didn’t want to agree with me at the time when I tried to convince her to consider opportunities to advance her career in other geographic locations. Here is a previous article I wrote  about why not being able to relocate may be a career limiting move: https://thevetrecruiter.com/why-not-being-able-to-relocate-may-be-a-career-limiting-move/

#3—Not wanting to work for a competitor

This is a big one and this includes not even wanting to hear about an opportunity that involves a competitor of your current employer. There are some professionals who believe that even hearing about the opportunity in some way makes them a disloyal employee. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that if you’re a top performer, then your employer’s competitors will be most interested in you and they may be prepared to offer you greater career advancement than your current employer offers. It is admirable for a professional to value loyalty. However, you must balance the loyalty that you have for your employer with the loyalty that you have for yourself and your career. At what point should you be more loyal to the latter?

#4—“Burning bridges”

This category includes quite a number of things. Basically, it’s anything that you do to damage your personal brand and/or your professional reputation. One of the easiest ways to “burn bridges” in your Animal Health or Veterinary career is to say that you’re going to do something, but then you don’t do it. You don’t follow through. When you do that, then you’re seen as untrustworthy. And when employers view you as untrustworthy, they’re not going to want to hire you. So do what you say you are going to do and have good follow through skills. Getting back to people and returning calls and emails quickly also brands you as being reliable.

#5—Not networking enough

I can’t stress enough how important networking is. This includes both networking on LinkedIn and also in face-to-face settings, such as the ones available when you attend Animal Health industry and Veterinary conferences and tradeshows. Simply put, when you limit your networking activities, you limit your career opportunities. I’ve mentioned this before, but it certainly bears repeating: It’s not just what you know and it’s not just who you know that makes a difference, but it’s both what you know AND who you know.

#6—Not building a relationship with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter

This is actually a continuation of #5 on our list. Part of your networking efforts should definitely include building a relationship with a good Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter who has placed people like you with similar qualifications. When recruiters call then you should at least be courteous enough to take their call or return their call. And even if you don’t want to consider or pursue an employment opportunity today, you should strive to act in a professional fashion and with integrity. It doesn’t cost you anything, and as a bonus, it serves to build your personal brand in a positive way. Even if you are not interested in current opportunities you may need them later on so don’t forget to include recruiters in your network. They can be valuable resources throughout your career.

If you want to be successful in your career, then you must be in position to be successful. There are already factors working against you (competing candidates, marketplace conditions) in your quest to do this. There’s no reason why you should also place obstacles in front of yourself. You need to work hard, you need to put forth the effort, and you need to have the correct approach and right frame of mind.

Don’t fall prey to these career-limiting moves. Break free from the limitations that are stopping you from reaching your full potential and maximizing your professional satisfaction.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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