Make the move from generalist to specialist with these 4 steps
In today’s rapidly changing landscape, flexibility is one of the characteristics highly valued by recruiters and hiring managers. However, a specialisation is equally important. In fact, HR leaders predict that each of us will develop more than one specialisation in the future, as shared job scopes and skill sharing will become more prominent.
Whether you want to prepare yourself for the future or finally climb the next step on the career ladder, the move from generalist to specialist is a career-defining moment. Here's how to go about it step by step.
Define your niche
When deciding your specialisation path, it’s important to look beyond the role you fulfil at the moment. The trajectory of your current job might restrict you in visualising what you can do with your career. Make a list of all the things you are good at and are passionate about – which might not necessarily be the same.
In some industries specialisation occurs organically through career progression, while in others industries are more complex and may demand that you take the lead. Complicating matters is the fact that there’s no specific moment when one should start to specialise, as a job switch later in one’s career can often trigger a further specialisation. If you’re in doubt about which path to choose, you should talk to your mentor or someone from your industry with more experience and a better overview of the state of affairs.
Build up your skills
Depending on your industry, you might be able to learn on the job and gain the necessary skills for your specialisation that way. However, in some career paths, such as medicine or architecture, you will need to get a degree or complete a training to solidify your specialisation.
Don’t be afraid to go back to school if that can propel your career to its next step if you need to compile a skill list that will help you become more specialised. This may include in-house training, after-work courses or good ol’ self-learning initiatives.
Establish yourself as a leader
While skills and training are necessary steps to take, putting that hard-earned knowledge to good use is what really counts for your career and progression up the ladder.
For instance, if your interest in tech has led you to a specialisation in AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things), then your next step is for your r voice to be heard. Get your name out there by attending industry events, conferences, and networking events. By meeting like-minded people and others with similar specialisations, you will not only be able to further your knowledge, but also have the chance to establish yourself as an industry leader.
Make it stick
Once you have chosen, worked on and established your specialisation, you need to seal the deal in your professional life. With the necessary skills and training under your belt, it’s time to talk to your boss about taking your knowledge to the next step – in the form of a promotion.