Like any doctor, a good vet needs excellent soft skills as much as clinical skills. However, there’s nowhere you can go to get a diploma in diplomacy or a PhD in patience (though you may feel you’ve already earned one!) Soft skills are developed by experience in the University of Life.
From our experience working with vets, we have found that one of the best things you can do to hone your soft skills and become a better vet is to spend some time working abroad. Here are five skills you’ll develop that will help you grow personally and professionally.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties and adapt well under pressure. Working abroad will push you out of your comfort zone; you’ll confront language barriers, homesickness and culture shock. Without friends and family close by, you’ll have to stand on your own feet and deal with these challenges yourself.
This will translate readily into your work as a vet. Employers love resilience, strength and perseverance, especially in a field as stressful as vet med. When a life is in their hands and others are panicking, a resilient vet will stay calm, take initiative, and lead the team through the situation with a positive approach.
2. Problem solving
Working abroad will expand your mind as you constantly absorb new experiences, rise to new challenges, and see new perspectives. You’ll learn to develop a more nuanced understanding of the issues at stake, try innovative approaches, and think outside the box. You’ll move from asking yourself, “Can we solve this?” to “How can we solve this?”
Your problem-solving ability will make you a better vet both in your work with patients and in your dealings with colleagues and business issues. Employers will want to hire you because instead of raising problems, you come up with solutions.
Being in a different culture makes you more aware of who you are and of where you come from. You may find the local ways of working and relating to people have strengths you can add to your own. Greater self-awareness will improve your intuition, a lifesaving skill for any vet.
The best vets maximise their potential by working on their weaknesses and optimising their strengths. Self-awareness will also help you recognise the best work environments for you and make more informed career decisions.
4. Cultural adaptability
You’ll develop tolerance, the ability to anticipate possible misunderstandings, and a real, practical sense of the diversity and unity of humankind.
Diversity is now more than a buzzword; it’s a must. Unless your practice is very rural, you’re going to be dealing with people from a wide range of cultures on both sides of the examining table. The ability to connect with them with genuine respect and understanding will make you a valuable employee.
5. Interpersonal skills
A vet with good interpersonal skills can interact and communicate with people in an effective and friendly way. When you visit other countries, you encounter not only different languages but also different body language, manners, and cultural mores. Through this, you’ll learn to discern intent however it’s expressed, to see other perspectives, and to express your own perspective clearly too.
This will help you build relationships of trust with your team and your manager, which will make you stand out as an employee with high potential. It will also help your networking and your relationships with clients (and maybe even with patients).
Working abroad will help you develop the soft skills every recruiter is looking for in a vet. It will also bring you the confidence and independence that will set you head and shoulders above other applicants.
Whether you currently live in Europe, USA or New Zealand, NSV The Vet Recruiters, can facilitate your career move abroad. We are well established in Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand and the UK and have already helped many vets re-locate to the bustling cities of Sydney, the beautiful Montreal and the up and coming Austin, Texas!
We provide visa and legal support to assist you throughout the whole process. Just get in contact with us by registering your details and we can find out more about you!