Tuesday 13th Feb, 2018

Applying for that first Vet Job

Oliver Jackson, Partner in The Pets'n'Vets Family has been recruiting New Graduate Vets for years! Here he gives us his thoughts on writing a great Job Application

It’s time to get your first Veterinary job, time to put down the text books and pick up the Vet Record – examine the Job adverts, dissect out the best and make your application. You’ll want an eye-catching, interesting and individual application; something to make you stand out from the crowd.

Right, first things first – you are GREAT! Really really GREAT!

How do I know you are great? ... well, let me take a shot at this;-

  • You are really smart! You’ve got superb High School grades!
  • You are dedicated! Your 5 years of excruciating hard work at Uni are just the tip of the Iceberg ... you’ve been working on your career since you were 12 years old!
  • You are passionate about Animals! You like seeing them healthy and treated well
  • You’ve got good experience! I’m guessing, oodles of great-sounding EMS under your belt!
  • You are a nice person – not only do you want to spend your time caring for animals but you’ve given your time free of charge and without complaining.

But wait, how did I know?

...Well, this is the problem ... I’ve just described all recently-qualified Vets. How do we make sure that prospective employers know just how great YOU are?!

Fear not, here are my top tips to make your application stand out from the crowd;-

  1. Understand the Job for which you are applying;-

It’s a lot easier to sound genuinely passionate about a role if you really feel that way!

  • Why is this particular job right for you?
  • Why are you particularly right for this job?

New Grad Research Try and put yourself in your Prospective Employers position – what is important to them? You can work this out with a bit of research; Practice Facebook Pages, Practice websites, even the Job Advert might give good clues.

From a practice owner’s perspective; I have worked really hard making my practice feel a particular way, it would be nice if a) you noticed and b) you had similar principles and ideas about veterinary practice.

  1. Write a good Cover Letter

Now that you have worked out why you are made for this job - don’t keep it a secret! Tell your prospective employer!

In my opinion, a Cover letter is the very best place to show your enthusiasm.  

A good Cover Letter should be short and friendly and most importantly, should be bespoke to the particular position.

Note:  Don’t be too gushy!  – try not to be over the top! 20 years of emptying anal glands does provide some perspective. Cutsey-wootsey language probably won’t go down well. Stay professional.  


  1. Don’t be a taker!

This is a job, right! Tell your prospective Employer what you can give to the practice – but try and be realistic!

Too many New Graduate Applications tell us what our practice could do for them. “The shadowing system sounds ideal for me”, “I could really benefit from working alongside a Certificate holder”, or “I really want to stay in [whichever] City”

It’s important for employers to know that you will be striving to give something back to the practice – in you, they will want to feel that they are making an investment for the future.

The phrases above could easily become, “the prospect of your shadowing programme is really exciting, I hope it would provide me with the support I need to swiftly become an independent and useful member of the team”, “I am really excited by the possibility of working alongside a Surgery certificate holder having particularly enjoyed my Surgical rotation.” and “I have a network or friends and family in [whichever] City, I feel that this would greatly benefit my work-life balance in my new role”


  1. Get your CV right

There are lots of resources on the internet to find advice on writing a good CV.

I’d suggest that you highlight things that fit this particular role. If you are applying to a sizeable Large Animal Outfit – they may well be interested to hear about that special project that you did on Herd Health, for example.

Also, please make sure that your CV is in a format that any idiot can open easily - ideally on a 20 year old PC, with a cat in their other hand and half a sandwich in their mouth - this idiot sometimes has trouble.


  1. Be a Human

As I said before, we are all great! We’ve worked damn hard and got through!

It is highly unlikely that you are going to turn up day one, job ready, consulting perfectly in just 10 minutes and spaying 40kg Lab bitches in between!

We are not asking for the finished article (or at least we shouldn’t be!) ... most employers are looking for someone who will get on well with their staff and clients, who is humble and willing to learn, who is reasonable and easy to work with. It's a good idea to reflect that in your application too!  


So GO FOR IT! Get that application in ... and ALWAYS remember, YOU ARE GREAT!

Next Post: RVNs Your New BFF!

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