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Whether you’re looking for your first ever vet job or the next step in a long career, you want a role that’s perfect for you. But to land your dream job, you need to present yourself as the dream candidate. 

Read on to discover how to be the person employers are looking for in the veterinary industry… 

1. Know what employers want 

A successful vet needs more than academic merit. A survey of veterinary employers found out that most of the top traits they valued in a potential employee were soft skills: 

  • Enthusiasm 
  • Good communication skills 
  • Being an ‘all-rounder’ (a broad skillset) 
  • Teamwork 
  • A good work ethic 
  • Excellent client and patient care 
  • Compassion 
  • Proactivity and ambition 

To find out specifically what your prospective employer wants, use keywords: pick out the skills, values and competencies mentioned in the job ad, and sprinkle them throughout your application. At interview, think about situations where you’ve demonstrated these traits. 

2. Hone your social media brand 

Yes, your potential employer will be looking you up on social media. It’s worth making personal accounts private and having professional social media accounts that show you in the best light. 

Also, don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile – it’s a vital networking tool. Use your profile to showcase your specialities and passions as a vet and your aspirations for the future, and don’t be afraid to mention hobbies and interests that show a well-rounded character. 

3. Be prepared 

Today’s interview homework goes beyond just looking at the company website. It’s time to stalk them on social media right back. Look up news articles about them too. Understand their core values, the services they offer, and whether their current staff have any specialities that match your interests. 

4. Craft a top-notch CV and cover letter 

Edit your CV to be relevant to each job you apply for. For example, if it’s a small animal veterinarian role, showcase EMS placements that demonstrate this experience. 

Include non-work achievements such as committee roles, academic awards, and hobbies or interests that show you have the relevant soft skills.

Use a simple, professional-looking template and font to keep your CV clear and readable. Use specific examples, and avoid waffle – it should fit on two sides of A4. Finally, get it proofread, ideally by someone with industry experience.

Your cover letter should show your passion and enthusiasm for the role, and what you can contribute to the practice. Make sure it’s addressed correctly, including the name of the clinic and the person you’re writing to. If you’re not sure who that is, call and ask the clinic – it’ll create a good impression. 

5. At the Interview

Always show up well dressed and well groomed. While you won’t be wearing a sharp suit to a mixed-practice interview, you still need to look professional. 

For in-person interviews, bring your scrubs, protective gear, stethoscope and work boots, as it’s possible they might ask you to help out in the clinic for a few hours to get a better sense of how you work. 

Remember you’re interviewing them too, and have some questions up your sleeve for that “any questions?” moment at the end. Asking about opportunities for advancement is good, as it shows your ambition. 

Finally, try to come across as confident – remember great interpersonal skills are one of the main things employers look for. 

 6. Know how to handle video interviews 

If you’ve never had a video interview before, practice with friends and family and ask them for feedback. How are your body language and camera setup? Are you making enough “eye contact”?  

Make sure you know your way around the platform and test it before the interview. As well as dressing professionally, make sure that your background is tidy and neutral (a blank wall is good), your phone is off, your computer is plugged in, and family and pets won’t interrupt you. 

Conclusion 

Your enthusiasm, professionalism, and good communication skills are even more important than clinical skills when applying for a vet role.  

You can boost your employability – and your salary – by highlighting these traits in your CV and cover letter, doing your research on the practice before your interview, and starting your interview with a confident smile. 

If you are struggling the find the right veterinarian role, NSV can help! We provide services covering all of the above to ensure you are confident and prepared for the interview stage. We have over 50 years of recruitment experience between the two of us, therefore negotiating terms and perfecting interviews is what we know!  

Register your details with NSV here to begin your career move

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