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For better opportunities, don’t specialise – generalise

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For better opportunities, don’t specialise – generalise

Conventional career advice would suggest that if you want to succeed in business, you should find your niche and become a specialist in that area. However, there is a rising trend of companies scaling back their number of workers, with workloads remaining the same. This is forcing more and more people to generalise and perform tasks that may not be listed on their job description.

In a recent survey, over half of the professional workers surveyed considered themselves to be generalists, despite being employed on the strength of their specialist skills. And as companies continue to tighten the purse strings, they hire fewer and fewer employees. So, when those companies do look to hire people to join their team, often they’re looking for people who can bring a little extra to the table, with skill sets that span across several roles.

Rejig your resume

This probably means that your resume may need to add something more to make you stand out and become a more appealing prospect for the next job you apply for. Short courses, like those offered at TAFE NSW, are a great way to quickly gain skills that round out your resume and give you the advantage in the job hunt.

For those who are only just embarking on their work journey, having a wide range of different skills and experiences can allow employees to identify what role they could ideally steer you towards, over time. Additionally, it can be a great way of providing you with an opportunity to trial your options before deciding on an area you would like to specialise in.


Even if you currently have a job, short courses that expand your range of skills can also be incredibly beneficial. Often, when one employee leaves a company, the remaining workers are forced to pick up the slack, occasionally having to take on different roles – even if only temporarily until their replacement is found. This extra work load can bring on extra stress and create extra tension between co-workers.

Having not only the skills to undertake a variety of tasks, but also the qualification to do so, can help make you an invaluable part of the team, and help keep you fire-proof if, and when redundancies ever start to take place.

Conversely, if you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder, roles can become complex enough that you will need a depth of expertise as well as a variety of skills, so generalised abilities are highly sought after.

Most important attributes

Beyond having a solid, general knowledge of each of the specific departments within a company, the more senior jobs are often associated with broad skills like people management, effective communication, budgeting, business and leadership. 60% of people surveyed thought their boss was a good generalist, which suggests that if you’re trying to get ahead, you may need to enrol in some courses to become a more rounded and appealing prospect for promotion.

And regardless of the industry you’re working in, having a current first aid certificate is always a beneficial addition to your skillset.

Course to a career