How to Overcome Being Pigeonholed in Your Career

Have you ever experienced the career pigeonhole? Maybe you have never heard that term used in the context of the workplace. Being pigeonholed means that you have been given a very narrow work assignment to perform everyday. This often happens in larger companies. In fact, it is one of the dangers of working in larger companies. Due to the sheer volume of work a large company can receive they can afford to hire someone full-time to specialize in one particular task. If you stay in this role for years to come you are in danger of committing career suicide. Finding another job performing that one task will be hard to find.

You need to do your best to grow at your current company and ask for new responsibilities. Do not fall into the trap of getting overly comfortable with performing your main task. So, what do you do when you have experienced the pigeonhole and you want to make a new move to a different company. How do you overcome this in the job interview. Here are ideas on how to overcome being pigeonholed in your career.

How to Overcome Being Pigeonholed in Your Career

1. Get clear about your value and not your title. This is important for you to understand especially when faced with the pigeonholed challenge in a job interview. Clearly understanding your worth and value can give you the confidence to overcome this. What are those core competiencies and values that you possess? Tell the employer where your real strengths lie and how you can use those at your new company.

2. Focus on transferable skills. Sometimes it is less about the actual tasks and more about the skills. What skills did you have to develop when performing that task? Examples could be meeting deadlines, using a certain software package, working under pressure, handling clients and servicing needs. All of those are transferable skills that can be used in any job atmosphere.

3. Rely on your network. People buy on the approval of others. That is just the way the world works. If you can get others to do some of the “selling” of you to a prospective employer, you will become less pigeonholed in the eyes of the hiring manager. Networking has so many benefits to it and this is certainly one of them. Hiring managers want to be comforted that you can do the job. Sometimes that is a big task for you to do alone. A mutual acquaintance can provide just the right amount of comfort to get you hired.

Questions: Have you been pigeonholed in your career? If so, how did you overcome the career pigeonhole?

Here is a short video better explaining the 3 points above:

If you cannot see the video, watch How to Overcome Being Pigeonhold directly on YouTube.


    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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