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From Generalist to Specialist: Five Steps to Follow

Written by
Julia Gumeniuk
Published on
May 18, 2022

Today’s world is oversaturated with the workforce, and it’s hard to be an employee or a job candidate who would differ from people with the same skills. But it’s still possible. One of the development options is to focus on becoming a specialist and move away from being a generalist. Follow these five steps that will help you succeed. 

#1: Define in what area you want to specialize 

Start with defining what area you’d like to specialize in, but base it on your personal skills and admirations. Are you an analytical thinker, or are you a creative artist? Once you realize what you’re strong at – think of a specialization that will support these skills. 

And don’t forget about your admirations and areas that are interesting to you. As you plan to dig deep into that specialization – it should be inspiring for you, and you should already be good at understanding it. With these two fundamental points, success will be just around the corner.

#2: Gain the knowledge from different resources

Start learning more about the specialization you selected, slowly but surely. Think of all resources from which you can deepen your knowledge: online training, books, workshops, youtube videos, thematic magazines, social media channels of companies operating in this area, and similar. 

The goal is to first be up to date on what’s happening in the field but also to educate yourself and develop your specialized skills. Don’t forget to practice as only theory won’t get you far. Write summaries, solve problems, and tell about what you know to others. Practical activities will help you consolidate this knowledge forever. 

#3: Meet with other specialists in your field

Once you have the basis of your specialization and are ready to learn even more – start meeting with other specialists from your field. Attend thematic conferences and networking events and discuss topics you’re both professionals at. Such talks will help you strengthen your knowledge, understand if there’s anything else to explore, and see other points of view. 

#4: Get into the mentorship  

It’s never too late to get a mentor, especially if you’re on a journey getting from generalist to specialist. Mentor, who’s more senior and has already gone through all ups and downs, will help you navigate and get to your specialist role the quickest. Mentoring will also help you look into the future and find opportunities where you can benefit from your expert role, such as building a case for promotion or looking for new job opportunities.

When searching for a mentor, think of how they can help you enhance your skills. Based on that, you can request a mentor having the exact position or working in the exact industry or company. For example, the Femme Palette Mentoring Program offers a quick call before enrolling in mentorship to understand your needs and define the type of mentor you’ll benefit the most from. 

#5: Be a little bit of a generalist 

The last step might sound contradictory, taking into account the name of this article. But still – don’t forget to be a little bit of a generalist. A specialist role always narrows down your skills until the stage of perfection. However, you can encounter many different situations requiring your agility or people you will need to approach differently. In this case, zooming out and remembering other general skills will help immensely. 

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