Is it better to become a specialist in just one area of your chosen profession or to take jobs across the profession so you have a broader understanding of the profession and what you can contribute to it? I opted for a variety of specialties in my career and have not regretted it but I recently came across another point of view.
This person, in a Q&A on the Ivyexec.com blog, says he was a generalist but thinks it might have held him back in his career.
“I found that recruiters and companies often seek round pegs to fit into round holes – meaning professionals with deep functional specialization and industry-specific domain expertise that fit a given specification to the T. As a cross-functional generalist, I often didn’t fit neatly into those round holes,” says Rudi Strobl.
He goes on to say working cross-function wasn’t a waste, but the important point, I think, is you have to market yourself to fit whatever peg a recruiter or hiring manager is trying to fill. That means a unique pitch for each job tailored to that job. Giving a one-size-fits-all spiel about your many jobs won’t do the job and won’t get you the job.
John N. Frank