Writing a Good Veterinary Curriculum Vitae
The importance of writing a good CV, that truly represents your skills and what you have to offer, cannot be over emphasised. Firstly, we as your agency, review your CV to gather vital information about skills and abilities to best represent you to the employer. Secondly, even when applying for a position through an agency (locum or permanent), the client employer still wants to review your CV to ensure that you have the skills and experience they are looking for. If your CV is well written, grammatically correct, neat and above all concisely displays your skills, you will have more chance of securing a job interview, than if it is not.
It is important to emphasise that this is true as much for the locum market as for permanent veterinary vacancies. Practices are looking for locums to match the skill gap they have and are consistently reviewing a locum’s CV to ensure they get the best match for their practice, even if it is only for a few days cover.
So spend some time working on your CV to achieve the best chance of repeated permanent or locum job offers and maximise your earning potential.
To this end we have gathered information to help you and to show you off at your best. If you are struggling at all, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call, we are here to help and can offer some further guidance.
In the digital age, the 2-page maximum CV is somewhat of a myth- a CV should be as short/long as it needs to be to cover critical information, but keep it concise and to the point!
Veterinary employers are likely to be reviewing a number of CVs, so yours needs to be concise and highlight your key skills at a glance. Once you have caught their interest then they will spend the time to review the entire CV to find out more about you.
When submitting your CV to Carlton Professional Recruitment, please send it as a editable word document and not as a PDF. We do re-format all CVs to put them onto our own header, so we need to be able to edit it.
What to include:
- The first page should have all of the most relevant information to your current situation– Contact details, qualification(s) and year you graduated, plus any specialist qualification and your most recent employment.
- Your contact details will give us your current location, but state if you are willing to relocate or if you are only available to work in a set location. You can state how far you feel it would be reasonable to commute.
- An introduction/profile paragraph is a good start to a CV, but keep it relevant – what type of vet/vet nurse are you, any clinical interests or special expertise and some simple details about yourself and your situation, as well as your desired next career move.
- Previous employment should be listed in date order, starting with most recent and moving backwards. Ensure your employment is dated with month/year– exact date not essential but 2012-2013 could be 1 month, or 23 months, so 01/2012 – 08/2013 is the best format.
- Employment information is really the only bit on your CV a potential employer is going to focus on, don’t leave them to make assumptions! Each role that you list is a chance to show what you’ve been doing and in most cases will show your experience/skills expanding. An employer/locum client wants to read your CV and get an initial impression of what you could do for them. Ensure your work history has context (ie 3 vet, 100% SA practice covering own OOH duties and dealing with first opinion and referral work)
It may seem obvious but it’s important to accurately illustrate and promote your skills, and your CV would expect to show how your skills have developed through each employment. Locum Staff may wish to choose to summarise some of their veterinary locum employment positions, but be sure to use this to point out and promote relevant skills and expertise you have developed along that path.
What can you do! Not every clinician with 1/2/3/5+ years has the same experience with medicine & surgery – ensure you are highlighting your practical skills in detail as well as mention what your role was – hospital/branch based, sole charge/multi team situation, responsibility for special clinics/expertise etc
Vets – tell us for example if you are a gp/first opinion vet or have referral experience too; medical or surgical bias; can you use ultrasound and digi xray; have you experience with endoscopy; can you do basic/advanced orthopaedics; how much emergency work have you done; are you confident with caesars and GDVs????
Nurses – tell us about your experience including nurse consults; inpatient care; emergency work; dentals; specialist clinics; practice marketing; community visits; first opinion and/or referral work; roadshows; insurance work; lab work; theatre work etc.
If you have worked internationally, on a volunteer project, or in an ‘unusual’ vacancy, it’s important to illustrate the skills used and how the experience contributes to your current profile – the unfamiliar can be unsettling for a prospective employer.
What not to include:
After your employment history, you can add some additional information, including any relevant CPD. You don’t need to list it all, but it is important to show the most recent couple of years to illustrate compliance with the minimums required as part of RCVS membership, more and more clinics are asking to see recent CPD record. We tend to recommend that locums have it as an appendix, or at least cover the last 2-3 years plus highlights for anything really important or relevant speciality etc.
Don’t include reference contacts on your CV- its important to share this information with a clinic at the appropriate time, but helps to stop your referee contacts getting unnecessary calls if a clinic just wants to be nosey, it does happen!
Do not include a photograph of yourself on your cv. These tend to bias people’s impression far too much and not always for the better. For the space they take up they are not of any value.
Be aware that employers may look you up on LinkedIn or Facebook. Employers are becoming increasingly savvy and running a Google search is becoming part of the usual recruitment techniques. Would a search reveal any photos or information that would not be appropriate for a employer to see?
You do not need to include your age, date of birth or marital status on your CV.
Don’t include a list of the names of all your children, partner or pets. You can elaborate on your personal circumstances if invited to at interview.
You can however include some brief information about your hobbies and interests. Although skills and experience count for an awful lot, you will be surprised how many employment decisions are made on the basis of shared interests with the employer, such as a common love of conservation, bird watching or scuba diving. Mentoring or a community role will also help paint a good impression, but the golden rule is keep it brief, with a view to getting to know the potential employer at interview.