There is more opportunity in the Veterinary profession right now than there has ever been. I can say this with confidence since I’ve been a recruiter in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession for 25 years.

This opportunity, of course, relates to employment opportunity, specifically the number of great jobs that exist in the profession, especially for veterinarians. Those veterinarians who are willing to consider and explore opportunities are setting themselves up for tremendous growth, both in the short term and for the long haul.

Psychologist Carol Dweck at Stanford University released a study several years ago, and according to the study, people’s attitudes fall into one of two categories: either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. The main difference between the two is that people who have a growth mindset believe they can improve their performance if they put forth a greater effort.

And, believe it or not, a growth mindset is a more valuable attribute than base-level intelligence. According to the Stanford University study, people who are intelligent but who have a fixed mindset typically have confidence, but only when things are going their way. When things are not going their way or when things get tough, people with a fixed mindset lose their confidence rather quickly . . . regardless of their IQ.

As an example, let’s say there are two candidates for a high-level job at a Veterinary practice or organization. One of the candidates has a higher IQ than the other or is more intelligent, at least in the conventional way that intelligence is measured. However, the candidate with the lower IQ has a growth mindset, while the candidate with the higher IQ has a fixed mindset.

In such a situation, the candidate with the growth mindset would be the better candidate for the position, and there are three major reasons why:

#1—They embrace challenges.

And when I say challenges, I also mean adversity. That’s because a person with a growth mindset will view adversity as a challenge. They’ll also view it as an opportunity to learn and to grow.

On the other hand, a person with a fixed mindset will not view adversity in this way. Because of their fixed mindset, they shy away from adversity. That’s because their brains are more focused on maintaining the status quo. When the status quo is disrupted, their top priority is to regain the status quo instead of adjusting or adapting to their new circumstances.

#2—They’re more resilient.

Because a person with a growth mindset views adversity as a challenge and welcomes challenges in their life, especially professionally, they’re able to develop resiliency more easily. And resiliency is one of the traits that organizations covet the most in their employees and in candidates they’re considering for their open positions.

Resiliency is valuable to employers for five reasons. First, resilient people acknowledge their weaknesses instead of ignoring them and they actively work to improve them. Second, resilient people are flexible in both their thinking and their approach to situations. Third, resilient people are self-motivated individuals. Fourth, resilient people manage stress well, and as we all know, adversity can produce a lot of stress. And fifth, resilient people do NOT give up, regardless of the situation or how many times they’ve failed in the past.

#3—They’re a problem solver.

People with a growth mindset are problem solvers, and the ability to solve problems is a big form of value in the employment marketplace. In fact, it’s one of the top forms of value, and that’s because there are no end to the problems that pop up in life and in the workforce.

As an Animal Health recruiter, Veterinary recruiter, and Executive search consultant, I talk with people all the time in the Veterinary profession. So of course, I’ve talked with people who have a growth mindset about prospective employment opportunities, and I’ve also talked with people who have a fixed mindset.

A person who possesses a fixed mindset will often not even wait to hear about an opportunity that I have to present to them. They’ll say they’re not interested and hang up the phone. How can they say “No” to something when they don’t even know what that something is? But that’s the fixed mindset in action.

However, when I contact professionals who possess the growth mindset, they’re automatically interested in what I have to say. They ask me to tell them about the opportunity, which I do. Now, sometimes they’re interested enough to take the next step and pursue the opportunity and sometimes they’re not. However, what’s important is that they were willing to at least listen, and that makes all the difference.

You might be wondering how you can develop more of a growth mindset in your Veterinary career. I have five steps for doing so:

#1—Take ownership of your attitude. In other words, acknowledge that you have control over your attitude and mindset and the way that you act and react to situations.

#2—View challenges as opportunities. This might be more difficult than you realize, and the degree of difficulty could depend upon your personality and the way in which you view the world. However, you can train yourself to do this.

#3—Be open to feedback and view it as a gift from other people instead of criticism. You can’t have a growth mindset if you can’t handle objective and constructive feedback.

#4—Don’t be afraid to take risks or to fail. The most successful people in the world have failed repeatedly. Failure is simply a part of life. You can’t avoid it, so you might as well use it to keep learning and continue growing.

#5—Be proactive in networking and building new relationships. If you want to grow, then one of the best things you can do is surround yourself with other people who also want to grow.

Veterinary professionals who have a growth mindset are more successful in their jobs and in their careers than those who have a fixed mindset. They don’t try to maintain the status quo or avoid adversity. Instead, they welcome the challenges that come with adversity, and they use those challenges to learn. This is exactly the mindset that professionals should have because all employers want to hire people who possess it.

And with as much opportunity as exists in the job market right now, those Veterinary professionals with a growth mindset are prepared to take full advantage of that opportunity to maximize their careers.


(Stacy Pursell is a Certified Personnel Consultant and a Certified Employment Retention Specialist. She is a workplace/workforce expert with 25 years of executive search and recruiting experience in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. For more information about Stacy’s firm, The VET Recruiter, visit