Writing a Good Veterinary Curriculum Vitae
A Good Veterinary C.V is Essential?
The importance of writing a good CV, that truly represents your skills and what you have to offer, cannot be overemphasised.
As your agency, we review your CV to gather vital information about your skills and abilities to best represent you to the employer. Even when applying for a position through an agency, be it locum or permanent, the client employer still needs to review your CV to ensure you have the skills and experience they are looking for.
Invest some time working on your CV to give yourself the best chance of repeat permanent or locum job offers and maximise your earning potential.
There are many resources available on the web that can help you write a good CV, but what makes a good veterinary CV?
Getting the Basics Right
- Check your CV for poor spelling and grammar.
- Ask somebody who works in the veterinary profession and somebody who doesn’t, to read through your CV and give their thoughts. Take their comments on board and make adjustments to improve your CV.
- Keep your CV to two-sides of A4 paper.
- Your CV offers limited yet valuable space so always try to be as concise as you possibly can by using “to the point” language and writing short sentences. This will make your CV easier to read, especially when employers are working their way through a pile of applications.
- Write a cover letter. You can find out more about writing cover letters later on.
Let’s take a look at the winning formula for writing a killer veterinary CV.
- Your name. This should be your first name and surname at least; middle names are optional.
- Contact details. Your contact details should be for you personally so refrain from using your current employers contact number or work email address.
- You email address should be professional. If you have something like email@example.com, you should create a new account that is specifically used for your job search.
- Include your mobile number on your CV and always double check you’ve put the correct number. If you’re already employed and worried about receiving calls at work, you can always include your contactable hours.
- Your location. While you are not required to list your full address, the town or city that you live in should be stated. If you’re happy to relocate, you can include that in your CV and you can always state how far you feel it would be reasonable to commute.
- Your marital and family status is optional. You may choose to include this information if you think it may be beneficial. For example, being single may make relocating or working unsociable hours more feasible.
Note: Employers are forbidden from making a decision based on these factors by the Equality Act, but you are free to mention this information.
- Your date of birth is no longer necessary since the Equality Act of 2010.
- If you apply for a job that requires you to hold a driving licence, then you should include details of your licence. I.e. Full UK Clean Driving Licence.
DO NOT Include:
- Your nationality. Under the Equality Act of 2010, your nationality should not be included in your CV. This is because the act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, or nationality (including citizenship, ethnicity or national origin.)
- A photo of yourself on your CV. It is not a requirement and a photograph tends to bias people’s impression and is not always for the better. Your CV has limited space so choose to include information that will add value to it.
BE AWARE: Employers may look you up on social media or carry out a simple Google search. This is becoming increasingly popular and many employers’ do it as part of their recruitment process. Ask yourself, would a search reveal any photos or information that would not be appropriate for an employer to see?
If the answer is yes, you may need to review your social media settings or remove the images and posts in question.
An introduction or personal profile paragraph is a good start to a CV. It provides an overview with context about you and your veterinary career, but make sure you keep it relevant. Include details about the type of vet/vet nurse you are, any clinical interests or special expertise, and some simple details about yourself and your situation, as well as your desired next career move.
How to perfectly balance personal with professional?
- Reflect your values and soft skills
- Explain why you think you’re right for the job
- Expand your skills and explain why you love veterinary work
- Expand your skills and explain what you’re like as an individual
EMPLOYMENT PROFILE & CAREER SUMMARY
Your employment profile is the most important part of your CV as it’s the part prospective employers will be most interested in. Be concise and don’t leave employers to make assumptions.
It may seem obvious but it’s important to accurately illustrate and promote your skills, and only ever use real examples. Each role that you list is an opportunity to show what you’ve been doing and, in most cases, will show your experience and skill set expanding throughout your career. Do not lie in your CV. Your experience is unique to you so your CV will always be unique too. An employer, be it a permanent or locum employer, will want to read your CV to get an initial impression of how you could benefit them and their practice.
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.
It’s important that your work history has context as it’s a good way to highlight your key skills and responsibilities of the position and how this experience can be applied the job role they are offering. You should also highlight any personal accomplishments in your employment record.
For example: 3 vet, 100% SA practice covering own OOH duties and dealing with first opinion and referral work.
Remember to list your previous employment in date order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. You should include the start and end date of your employment using MM/YYYY format.
What Can You Do?
Not every clinician with 1/2/3/5+ years has the same experience with medicine and surgery. Use this opportunity to make your practical skills known to the employer holding your CV by highlighting your skills in detail as well as mentioning what your role was:-
- Hospital or branch based?
- Sole charge or multi-team situation?
- Responsible for special clinics, expertise, etc.?
- Clinical standards maintenance
If you have worked internationally, as a volunteer, 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 sometimes be unsettling to a prospective employer so it’s always worth trying to smooth out any concerns they may have.
Professional experience is a priority for potential employers but so is business acumen. Being able to demonstrate your interpersonal skills with clients, awareness of commercial pressures and business skills like being a team player, are also extremely important.
- Education & Qualifications: List your qualifications and education by beginning with the most recent and work backwards. Remember to include your grade and/or qualification as well as the year you graduated, or the years you were in education at the named establishment.
- Memberships: If you are a member of any relevant veterinary professional or industry bodies, such as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons or British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), you should include details under your professional profile. You can add details of the type of membership you hold (e.g. fellowship), and the time period you have been a member for (e.g. Member since 2012)
After your employment and professional profiles, you can include some additional information about any relevant CPD. You’re not required to list it all but it is important to show the most recent couple of years to demonstrate compliance with the minimums required as part of RCVS membership. There is a growing requirement where clinics are asking to see recent CPD records.
We recommend that locums have their CPD as an appendix, or at least cover the last 2-3 years of CPD training and include highlights of anything of relevant importance or significance.
HOBBIES & INTERESTS
It is good practice to include some brief information about your hobbies and interests. Although your skills and experience are of significant interest to prospective employers, you will be surprised by how many employment decisions are made on the basis of shared interests with the employer.
If you mentor or are involved in a community role, this will help paint a good impression.
Do not ‘over-provide’ in this section of your CV – keep it brief. The prospective employer does not need to know the names of your children, partner or pets at this stage of the recruitment process. You can elaborate on your personal circumstances if invited to an interview.
When seeking employment opportunities through our agency, you do not need to list your referees on your CV. It’s important to share this information with the prospective employer at the appropriate time.
This will help to prevent your referee contacts from receiving unnecessary calls where clinics just want to be nosey – it does happen!
Top Tips for Veterinary Graduates
Writing a CV as a veterinary graduate is slightly different from experienced veterinarians or vet nurses, but it is important to follow the same format with just a few adjustments.
We realise you won’t have an extensive employment profile and so will prospective employers. They are however interested in your work experience placements and self-directed study.
When you are looking to start your veterinary career, it can be all too tempting to cast your net wide and apply for almost every job on the market. Spend some time doing your research to find out more about the type of job you would like. This not only narrows your search down, but it means you can avoid applying to jobs that you don’t really fit the criteria for and it’ll stop you from applying for jobs you wouldn’t really enjoy.
5 Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Applicants fail to demonstrate commercial skills including great clinical skills, a love of animals and experience. These are all a priority in the world of vet and vet nurse recruitment.
- Experience is important but it’s not everything. Remember to include highlight your soft skills, commercial skills and business acumen too.
- Don’t fail to tailor your CV to the job you are applying for. This applies more to permanent positions.
- You’re not up to date with industry news. Keeping up to date with the latest news will keep you in the loop of what employers are looking for. You’ll also be aware of current trends, opportunities and challenges that face the veterinary industry. Knowledge is key.
- Your CV is too long. A CV should not be any longer than 2 sides of A4 paper.