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ASK HR: Should I grow different skills or master in one?

Friday September 28 2018

Does specialisation really make one special or is dabbling in different things advisable?

Does specialisation really make one special or is dabbling in different things advisable? PHOTO | FILE 

JANE MUIRURI
By JANE MUIRURI
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. What advice would you give to a young professional who has different interests and is trying to make a decision concerning what career path to take? Does specialisation really make one special or is dabbling in different things advisable?

Your situation is a common dilemma that affects most young professionals as they make a career choice. It helps to seek guidance because the decision you make at this stage determines the trajectory of your career.

It is also advisable to change your career if you had made the wrong choice rather than risk stagnating in your profession and enduring the misery of reporting for duty on a daily basis for a job you don’t enjoy. That is the reason why passion and personality of the individual determine the profession that one pursues.

The other critical consideration to make before settling for a particular career is the skills required in the job market.

There are many new emerging professions driven by the digital growth and hence the need to supply the market with the prerequisite skills.

Recently, there was a forward on social media highlighting careers that are diminishing and the ones that are emerging to address the digital space. It is important to be observant and talk to people in different industries to understand what the emerging professions are in their respective industries. This will guide you to make an informed decision.

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Career choice will also be determined by the availability of training opportunities. However, there is an option of doing online courses for courses that may not be available locally.

Most jobs at the entry level requires you to be a generalist and then specialise as you progress in your career, one such profession is Human Resources.

To understand all the different facets of HR, it is advisable to pursue a generalist path and branch into specialisation later on in the career path. Professionals who are ‘well rounded’ in different aspects of HR have a competitive advantage to advance their career as compared to specialists.

Specialisation is important where there is demand for differentiated service, for example, we have general doctors and specialists in the different areas of medicine since there is necessity for the services offered.

Most courses in the initial two years of studies, are general in nature, particularly if it is a degree. In the third year of study students are allowed to choose their areas of specialisation.

One such area of study is Bachelor of Commerce (BCOM). The students make a choice between accounting, marketing, human resources or insurance.

Due to the high unemployment rates, it is understandable for students to decide to acquire different skills to improve their chances of ‘employability’, however care should be taken so as not to become a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’.

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