Applying for jobs as a graduate vet job can be daunting, you don’t always know what your potential new employer is looking for and it can seem like plunging into a vast unknown chasm.
To try and help you get into the minds of your potential employers we spoke to Nicky Birch, a Practice manager at Ribble Vets. They have worked with us to employ graduate vets in the past so she knows what employers look for…
1. Align your skills and interests with that of the practice
Most employers will have a skills gap in their practice that they will look to fill with their new graduate. You don’t have to be a complete expert in the field, after all, you have just graduated, but demonstrating an interest in a particular field e.g. Feline behaviour can hold you in good stead if this skill or interest is sought after.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to research the practices you are applying to. What are the current Vets interests and how can you complement them with your developing skills?
Along the same thought path, it a good idea to ensure your developing interests can be supported by the practice. Common sense dictates that there is no point in applying to a predominantly small animal practice if your interests lie in exotic animals and the practice refer all exotics to other practices, as these interests will not be supported.
Do not take a job out of desperation, look for a job you really want to do, something you can throw yourself into so you can develop your passion for veterinary science in the area you want to specialise in.
2. Communication, communication, communication….
You guessed it, communication skills, especially with clients is very high up on our employer’s list of requirements for a grad vet. Nicky says that most problems arise when a Vet does not communicate effectively with the client, be it about fees, clinical prognoses or courses of treatment. When a Vet does not communicate clearly and concisely with the client it can lead to all sorts of problems which could be avoided very easily.
Expect to be asked about communication skills at your interview and be prepared to give examples of how you have demonstrated these skills.
3. Thinking on your feet, positivity and thinking outside the box
Inexperience does not go hand in hand with ineptness and the inability to cope in new situations. Starting out in practice will be nerve-wracking and will challenge you in every way, physically, emotionally and mentally. You need to be resilient and show your ability to cope with unusual and unfamiliar situations, demonstrating the ability to think on your feet.
Can you give an example of a difficult experience you encountered on your EMS , what did you learn from it and how would you have handled it differently?
Employers want to see your strive for continuous development and learning. They want to see you take this learning on-board to improve your service to clients as a consequence.