As you’ve probably found, there’s a whole bunch of information out there about resume writing, and more specifically, writing a resume for an open associate veterinarian position, so I won’t spend much time focusing on the basics. Being a professional veterinary recruiter, I screen hundreds of resumes a year, and having seen it all, I thought it’d be helpful to let you in on some of the details I’ve learned to appreciate and can be helpful for you to stand out in your job search in 2022 and beyond.
7 Tips for Writing the Perfect Resume:
- Simple is best! With the incredible number of resume templates available to us and our desire to stand out from the pack, we can be tempted to choose a layout that’s different and “fun”. As I’m screening so many resumes daily, it’s always a breath of fresh air to open a concise resume with easy-to-find contact information in a format that shares easily with my colleagues and my ATS (applicant tracking system.) We use Greenhouse to manage our candidate experience at Suveto, and if you use an image or a document created in the Notes app rather than a .pdf, the resume will not parse correctly into our system, leading to extra work for whoever is looking at the resume (in our case, me)!
- As most of my positions are in private practice, I’m generally more interested in seeing a resume than a curriculum vitae or CV. While I do want to know where you are in your academic journey and what relevant work history you might have, I probably won’t have the time to review more than your top three publications. That’s not to say that I’m not proud of your achievements, I really am!
- Let your achievements speak for themselves. I have started to see more and more resumes include a picture. While I personally love seeing your beautiful faces, I worry that there is still lingering unconscious bias in the industry. I would hate for any candidate to be treated differently based on their physical appearance and unfortunately, research shows this can still happen. I’d lean more on the side of caution here.
- Use your references! While the catch phrase “references upon request” is still an acceptable route to go, I always appreciate when a candidate has taken the time to get permission in advance for someone to vouch for their character and previous work performance. If possible, provide both an email address and a phone number to make outreach as easy as possible.
- Share an icebreaker. I love when my candidates share something about their lives that’s not work related! It can help make our initial conversation far less awkward. Even if it’s not something we have in common, it gives me the opportunity to get vested in creating a great future for you; one where your professional life allows you to pursue your personal passions. That’s my favorite part about being a recruiter!
- Consider a cover letter. If there’s a specific position that you’re interested in, take the time to write a cover letter that speaks to your desire and suitability for the job. While it’s my responsibility to glean much of that information from you during our first conversation, it’s lovely to be able to pass along your own words to my practices so that they can get to know you in a more detailed way before the in-person interview. Share why you believe this practice suits you and be sure to refer to details about the practice that show you have done your homework! For example, if the practice sees exotics and that’s an area you have a special interest in, share relevant experience you might have in that field and your willingness to learn from any mentorship available. Be careful to edit your cover letter to reflect the position you’re applying for. I’ve received some that were obviously written for different positions and that’s not a great first impression.
- Mind the final details. Proofread your resume and if you’re happy with the result, have someone you trust review it before sending it out. Make sure the font is appropriate, go easy on the capital letters, and name the .pdf in a way that’s easy to find such as your first and last name. Trim off any excess so your resume fits onto two pages or less, double check that your contact information is current, accurate and easy to find, and lastly, avoid colors that might be difficult to see.
Creating an outstanding resume is the right place to start when preparing for your next step as a veterinary professional, and following up with timely communication and punctual, engaging interviews will take you much, much further. While the world has become a far less formal place, good etiquette from candidates (and recruiters!) goes a long way in creating lasting, positive impressions and will ensure that you have the best shot of advancing through the hiring process and landing the opportunity you’ve dreamed about. Best of luck as you navigate the job market, and be sure to reach out to me for help on taking your next steps in veterinary medicine!