As a veterinary student, you may not feel confident about the job search process- read more below for advice on how to prepare for the job hunt!
Before the Interview
The first steps in any job search are to know what you are looking for and where to look. It is important to have some parameters set so you can narrow your search.
For example, even knowing the location, the type of practice and size of the practice you are looking for are good starting points. Next, you can use search tools such as the AVMA’s Veterinary Career Center and Indeed to look through your options.
Other ways to look for available positions include considering jobs you’ve heard about through word of mouth, externship experiences, career advisors, recruiters and advertisements on social media, among others.
Get your Resume and CV in Shape
Once you know where you’d like to apply, the next step is to get your resume or CV in shape! Both the design and content of your resume or CV are very important, as well as knowing the difference between a resume and CV.
Always provide whichever form the position is asking for. A resume is a “snapshot” and is typically shorter- about two pages max. A CV (curriculum vitae) is usually longer and is a record of scholarly activities.(5)
The goal is that the information provided is beneficial, influential and captivating. And if design is not your strong suit, Executive Resume Writer, Jessica Hernandez, recommends hiring a professional to make sure your resume design is on point!(2)
I recommend having your resume reviewed- either by your mentor, a career counselor or preferably both! In addition to your resume, it’s also important to remember the resume’s sometimes forgotten companion- the cover letter.
A good cover letter may be your only opportunity to further discuss your experiences and fit for the practice so make sure to include one and tailor it to the position and practice you are applying for!
So now that you’ve identified your desired practices, perfected your resume/CV and cover letter, what’s next?
Depending on a number of factors, you may be asked to do a phone interview first. Regardless of the format (phone interview or in-person interview), I encourage you to remember the following pearl of wisdom from Career and Interview Coach Li Lin:
The one thing you must remember is that it's not about you. It's about the company. So find out before hand what they care about.” (1)
Luckily, in today’s connected world, you can find out before hand what they’re about in a number of ways. One way is that you can check out the hospital website. Knowing their mission, vision and values will give you a lot of information about what they’re all about!
You can also check out your interviewer(s) LinkedIN profiles ahead of time and read any articles they’ve written to get a better idea of their interests and values. If you can, find out ahead of time what type of interview will be conducted and prepare as best you can.
For example, if you know it will be a behavioral interview, know how to reply using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Response) method. Additionally, Lin recommends to have stories that demonstrate your expertise, too.(1)
As you head in for your interview, make sure to dress appropriately (I recommend to always dress professionally, yet comfortably) and always be on time. And by on time, I mean, early! (at least by 15 minutes).
Have important materials with you- I recommend a note pad, pen, business cards (preferably in a case) and copies of your resume.
Once you’re there- remember to breathe, smile, greet your interviewers professionally and relax! (and also, turn off your phone)!
During the interview process itself, I recommend to remember the following ten tips from Carren Merrick, a very successful Board Director, Advisor and Author.(3)
Ten Tips to remember During the Interview
Ask questions of yourself
Get a feel for the company you’re interviewing with
Leverage your network
Talk yourself up
Make the interview a two way street
Don’t talk about salary
Take time to process
Write a thank you note
Assess the offer
Be timely in your response
After the Interview
As important as the interview itself is, what happens after your interview is crucial, too! Your interviewers will likely ask you if have questions. I definitely recommend having questions prepared.
A rule of thumb is to have at least six questions prepared; two about the job itself, two about the industry and two about the practice. Of course, you can also ask any other appropriate questions you think of along the way, too.
After your interview officially concludes, remember to thank your interviewers! They likely have busy schedules and you want to acknowledge and appreciate their time.
So what about follow up?
A thank you email- or sometimes better yet, a handwritten thank you note can go a long way! Try to send this out within twenty-four hours of your interview. Sometimes, your interviewers may offer you a working interview.
Treat this working interview with as much care as you did the interview itself. A working interview may be the best opportunity to assess the fit between you and the position.
Sometimes a one day working interview may not be long enough so consider spending a longer amount of time if you can.
Like any skill, your interviewing skills will get better with preparation and practice. Thankfully, there are many resources available to help with your resume and interview skills- you can enlist the help of mentors, career coaches and professional resume writers among others during your preparation process if needed.
If you prepare and practice, I have no doubt you will rock the job search and interview process, best of luck!
- Lin, Li. “How to Ace Any Job Interview Ever.”
- Hernandez, Jessica. “10 Resume Writing Tips for 2018.”
- Merrick, Caren. “10 Job Interview Tips to Land the Career of your Dreams.”
- Prepare your tools.
- UF Veterinary Business and Professional Development course notes