While having a general skill set to draw on is substantial, finding your niche in any field is crucial to securing unique opportunities and growing your professional network. Being an expert in one discipline opens doors to opportunities you might not have considered. Creating a reputation for your specialized skill set will help other professionals recognize your talents by word of mouth. When thinking about your career path, it’s essential to keep in mind what you want to be known for. Are you a graphic designer with a well-rounded portfolio? That’s great! But hiring managers want candidates that are not only versatile but also specialized. There’s no doubt you have the skills to excel in that Presentation Designer job you just applied for – but how will you stack up against another designer who has found their niche in presentation design?

Here are some tips for finding your niche and refining your expertise over your career.

Focus on your strengths

Think about your professional experience so far – what have you excelled at? Are you a responsive and clear communicator? A leader with the insight needed to manage others. An organizational wizard who can wrangle an excel spreadsheet like no one else. Knowing what you’re good at is the first step to finding what you should be known for being good at. If you’re unsure, ask your co-workers or former supervisors to weigh in – sometimes, it’s hard to see where our strengths lie!

Just because you’re good at it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenging!

It can be easy to settle into our regular responsibilities, especially if we’re good at them. But clocking in and running through the motions daily will leave you in the dust. Innovations mean jobs are constantly changing and pushing you out of your comfort zone is essential to ensure you are staying competitive in your field. Take every opportunity to try something new; you might find a new skill you possessed all along. Use these opportunities to keep learning and growing, and soon enough, you will be taking on challenges others wouldn’t know where to begin with.

It’s never too late for a change

Maybe what you’ve been doing so far doesn’t light that fire in you anymore- that’s okay! We are constantly changing as humans, and sometimes we need an external change to keep up with our development. It’s never too late to try something new, and with many online resources, it’s easier than ever to change specialties or fields. Try taking that UX course you saw an ad for, or maybe watch some videos on digital marketing trends. Don’t be afraid to explore your interests because your niche will reflect what you’re most passionate about. Once clients and employers see that passion, they’ll know they can trust you with their vision and feel confident that they are in the hands of an expert.

By Rob Leinheiser, smartdept. Talent Acquisition Specialist