Thursday, January 15, 2009

to be or not to be: specialist vs jack of all trades

A reader on PoyterOnline's Ask the Recruiter wondering about the pros and cons of specializing in one area got me thinking about developing your niche.

Eventually, most editors and writers develop their own specialty, whether it be a preferred topic or format (say service or profile pieces). On one hand, it's terribly important to be adaptable, especially at times like these when jobs seem more scarce – the more you can do, the more options you have. But the flip side is that becoming an expert at something can make you extremely desirable for jobs requiring those skills and knowledge, which could give you the edge over any competition.

The solution is to find a balance: develop a niche that you're passionate about. You'll become a sought-after expert while doing something that stokes your fire. Meanwhile, make sure that the skills you acquire while building your knowledge are ones that are transferable. For example, fashion may be your love, but mastering the art of writing those short, snappy pieces of copy describing product (how many ways are there to say stylish?) will serve you in most women's and service mags.

1 comment:

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I got an new job as an online editor that requires me to do the more technical things on a website and at first I was skeptical but now I'm glad I'm getting the chance to gain new skills. It will prepare me better for opening up my own website one day!

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