The Job Hunt

Whether it is your first job or you are interested in changing positions, here are ten helpful hints for pursuing a new job:

  1. Develop your personal budget. Knowing how much you have to earn to make ends meet will help with salary expectations.
  2. Decide where you want to live. If you are not interested in relocating, that narrows your search considerably. Willingness to relocate opens up many more opportunities.
  3. Evaluate your skills and interests and focus on the ideal position that matches them.
  4. Get your resume and cover letters ready and keep them handy in case contact with a potential employer is made unexpectedly.
  5. Register with the AVMA's Veterinary Career Center or, alternatively, with the Veterinary Career Network. Once you've registered, look for the "job/search agent" link. After you've filled in your personal criteria, the "agent" will automatically scan the job listings, match them to your criteria and then notify both you and potential employers of a possible match. And it will do that every day!
  6. Develop a 30 second elevator speech for short encounters with employers. This should include: an introduction including your name; your experience/ degree and your practice area; a short description of who you work with (e.g. concerned pet owners, research colleagues, breeders, producers, etc.) and any special interests or unique skills you possess. Don't forget to include information that makes you unique and/or which will benefit the potential employer. Update and practice it as needed.
  7. Maintain an upbeat and positive attitude throughout your search. Be someone you yourself would like to hire.
  8. Attend conventions and meetings. Get the word out that you are available.
  9. Network. Ask people you know if they know anyone that is hiring.
  10. Follow-up with any connections you may make with an action such as a phone call, email or letter. Make sure you promptly reply to correspondence from any potential employer, even if it is to let them know you are no longer interested.

Author: Dr. Patricia Wohlferth-Bethke, director of the Veterinary Career Center and assistant director of Membership and Field Services for the American Veterinary Medical Association. Courtesy of the AVMA.