Should You be a "Jack of all trades" or a Specialist?

Written by By Stephen Bucaro

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Should You be a "Jack of all trades" or a Specialist?

By Stephen Bucaro

A "jack of all trades" is an individual who is capable of accomplishing tasks in a wide range of disciplines. For example, when I was an Electronics Engineer, I would designrepparttar 143419 electronics, lay outrepparttar 143420 printed circuit board, designrepparttar 143421 mechanical components, and launchrepparttar 143422 product into production. I enviedrepparttar 143423 specialists because they just did their one little thing, but they were highly paid and respected as experts.

In your own career, which isrepparttar 143424 best way to go? Should you be a "jack of all trades" or a specialist? In this article, you'll learnrepparttar 143425 advantages and disadvantages of each approach, and techniques to help you succeed in whichever path you take.

What Employers Want

Employers don't want a "jack of all trades" or a specialist, they want a "specialist of all trades". They want someone who is expert in everything. Some companies will runrepparttar 143426 same job ad, seeking this super-human, for years. If they could find this "specialist of all trades", no matter how highrepparttar 143427 salary, they would save a ton of money by firingrepparttar 143428 rest of their staff.

Employers may userepparttar 143429 phrase "jack of all trades" inrepparttar 143430 job ad, butrepparttar 143431 human resources department will filter applications based on specialist keywords, like "tax accountant" or "database programmer". If your resume mentions too many different specialties, it will filtered out as being not focused enough. It's a lot easier to get a job if you're a specialist than it is if you're a generalist.

But whenrepparttar 143432 economy starts to tank, a company can't afford to have an expensive specialist sitting at their desk playing solitaire. While atrepparttar 143433 same time,repparttar 143434 lower cost "jack of all trades" appears to be busy solving all kinds of critical problems. That'srepparttar 143435 advantage of being a generalist, no matter how slow things are, there's always problems to solve. Specialists arerepparttar 143436 first to be fired whenrepparttar 143437 economy slows.

- Immediately after a specialist gets fired, they will be replaced by a contractor, oftenrepparttar 143438 same individual.

The Stress of Being a "Jack of all trades"

Overrepparttar 143439 last several decades, business and industry have become highly technical. In order to survive, a generalist must maintain a nominal level of proficiency in a wide range of technologies. This requires a heavy sacrifice in their personal life. They keep up on their own time, without pay. That's not to say that a specialist doesn't need to spend time keeping up withrepparttar 143440 latest advances in their specialty. Companies understand a specialist's need to keep up and will often pay forrepparttar 143441 specialist's training.

Companies expectrepparttar 143442 same quality of work fromrepparttar 143443 generalist as they expect fromrepparttar 143444 specialist. But a generalist doesn't haverepparttar 143445 same depth of knowledge in any single discipline as a specialist. That's whyrepparttar 143446 phrase is usually stated: "Jack of all trades, master of none".

This can result inrepparttar 143447 generalist making more mistakes and producing a lower quality of work. This explains why, althoughrepparttar 143448 "jack of all trades" may have vastly more overall skill and knowledge, they receive lower pay thanrepparttar 143449 specialist.

How to Succeed as a "Jack of All Trades"

The secret to being a successful "jack of all trades" is to know your limitations. Recognize when you are capable of performimg a task good enough, and when you must call upon a specialist. There is a symbiotic relationship between generalists and specialists. Specialists often make mistakes because they don't understand how other areas effect their work.

For example, an Electronics Engineer may not understandrepparttar 143450 impact thatrepparttar 143451 physical environment has on an electronic design. A design that would work perfectly in a desktop computer will fail inrepparttar 143452 dirty, humid, vibrating, electrically noisy environment of an earthmoving machine. Orrepparttar 143453 Electronics Engineer might confidently add all kinds of extra features to a product. The generalist knowsrepparttar 143454 product's consumers don't need and won't pay for those extra features.

What's Stopping You From Getting Your Next, Good Job?

Written by Marilyn J. Tellez, M.A.

Do You Have "Excuse-itis" When Looking for a Job?

How many times have you done or heard someon else say: "I don't haverepparttar time, I don't haverepparttar 143049 money, I don't have my family behind me, and on and on"?

This excuse-itis is worse than pro- crastination. Procrastination implies that you will eventually get something done. Excuses, however, are just little fears in disguise. It is hard to approach employers and ask for a job. The big fear comes out ofrepparttar 143050 little one, which is REJECTION.

So, it is easier to complain, tell others that there are no jobs, stay at home doing chores, and fill in time that could be spent contacting others about jobs.

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