Looking Ahead in Your Career: Should You Diversify or Specialize?

Man thinking and looking at a big whiteboard labeled the pros and cons.

One of the most common inquiries we receive from someone who is looking for the next step in their career path is, “Should I diversify or specialize my skills set?” It’s a tough question to answer because there are differences, benefits, and disadvantages to both options.

Let’s go over what it means to specialize or diversify and cover some pros and cons of both of these career path options.

What It Means to “Specialize”

Specializing in your occupation means that you’ve chosen a very specific area of expertise. For instance, you’re in marketing but you specialize in SEO, email marketing, or content management. Furthermore, specialization means you’d be performing in one of these areas of expertise explicitly.

Looking into the future, it’s important to note that specialized workers often become high-level consultants. There are pros and cons to specializing and/or becoming a consultant:

What It Means to “Diversify”

Choosing diversified roles in your career means that you will “wear many hats” when it comes to the job duties you perform. You might even be considered a “generalist” – i.e. you write web copy, manage content, run PPC campaigns, and more.

If your goal is to move up the corporate ladder, then you’ll want to diversify your skills because leaders generally need to have knowledge in many areas. However, there are also pros and cons to choosing the option to diversify your career:

Important Factors to Consider

So now that you have more information on specializing and diversifying your chosen career path, there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing which option is best for you:

  1. What are your earning goals?
  2. How would you tolerate risk in your career?
  3. What is your desire for control over your schedule and work/life balance?
  4. Do you have a desire to lead/manage or do you prefer to be solely accountable for your work?

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