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Preparing for an Interview and Building a Resume

 

 Veterinary Career Resources

 
 

 Information At-A-Glance

 
 

 Quick Tip

 

​"Tell me about yourself" is a very common interview question that you should be ready to answer. Think about these items when formatting your response:

  • Briefly introduce yourself
  • Talk about your current student status, what species you are interested in, and your passion for veterinary medicine
  • Briefly describe your work experience
  • Touch on your extracurricular activities (club leadership roles) and/or something you have accomplished or excel at that directly relates to the position
  • Mention why you are interested in the practice/position

Remember to keep your answers short and concise.

 

 Phone Interview Tips

 
  • Do the interview somewhere free of distractions (at a desk, in a conference room, etc.)
  • If you will be using a cell phone, do a test call to make sure you have good reception
  • Have a copy of your resume and paper for notes, as well as questions to ask at the end
  • Make sure you sound interested and enthusiastic – all they have to go by is your voice
  • Avoid filler words – they stand out more in phone interviews
  • Don’t get uncomfortable if there is a pause on the interviewer’s end of the phone – they may be writing down notes from your answers. Just wait for the next question

Prepare for the Interview

Interview Topics

Be prepared to answer interview questions based on experiences gained in part-time jobs, volunteer opportunities, undergraduate internships, externships, academics and clubs that align with interview topics and the job description.

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Cultural diversity
  • Client service
  • Work ethic
  • A difficult co-worker or client
  • Problem solving
  • Failed task
  • Making a tough decision

Common Interview Questions

  • Why did you decide to become a veterinarian?
  • What does excellent client service mean to you?
  • What motivates you?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • How do you feel about euthanasia?
  • How would you handle a situation where the client couldn’t pay for the services needed?
  • What are your short and long-term goals?
  • If you can’t figure out a diagnosis, what would you do?
  • What special skills would you bring to our practice?
  • What is your greatest strength and weakness?
  • If I were to ask one of your professors or a boss to describe you, what would they say?
  • How do you feel about working overtime?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why should we hire you?

Questions to Ask an Employer

  • What do you like the best about your job/the practice?
  • What does a typical day look like? Number of appointments, length, type, etc.?
  • What does mentorship mean to you, and how is it approached?
  • What is the most important expectation for this position?
  • What is the practice’s mission or core values?
  • How do you approach clients who can’t afford essential medical care?
  • Are there opportunities for professional growth or continuing education?
  • What challenges is the practice currently facing?
  • Where would you like to see the practice grow and improve?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?
  • Will there be a working interview?

​Ace the Interview

An interview is your opportunity to showcase your abilities and experience. It is the time to prove to the employer that you capable, dependable, and the right person for the job. Sell yourself!

Before the Interview

  • Find out if it is a regular or "working interview" and wear the appropriate clothing
  • Research the job you are applying for and the practice/organization/company
  • Practice answering general interview and behavioral-based questions. (See "Behavioral-Based Interviews." These are a common style of questions asked in interviews and they require a very specific style of response.)
  • Prepare a list of your experiences that fit into different interview question topics
  • Bring a portfolio with pen and paper to take notes when appropriate during the interview
  • Take copies of your resume, references, and letters of recommendation (if you have them)
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
  • Arrive 10 minutes early

During the Interview

  • Make a good first impression with a firm handshake, pleasant smile
  • Listen attentively, maintain eye contact, and avoid nervous mannerisms
  • Speak clearly and openly
  • Be positive, enthusiastic, and honest
  • Act polite and professional at all times
  • Take notes if and when appropriate
  • Ask 2-4 thoughtful questions at the end of the interview

After the Interview

  • Ask the interviewer for a business card
  • Thank them and show your enthusiasm for the position
  • Shake their hand
  • Send a thank you card or email within 24-48 hours
  • Follow-up within a week, unless a different timeframe was established

Build a Resume or CV That Gets Noticed 

 

It is important to understand the function, appropriate format, and necessary content of a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). A CV is often used in academic and medical careers. It is more comprehensive listing research, publications, presentations, awards and other achievements. 

A resume/CV should be professional and exceptional; it represents you to people who don’t know you. It will take a considerable amount of time to develop and will require several critiques, revisions and updates – be sure yours is current!

General Tips

  • Pay attention to format (margins, bullets, bold, font size) and be consistent
  • Use the same font throughout (select a simple, professional font that is easy to read)
  • Spell out everything. Try not to use acronyms and avoid abbreviations
  • Do NOT use personal pronouns (I, my, their).  Using "my" in the objective or profile is acceptable
  • Employers scan resumes quickly, so be sure it’s well organized and highlights your skills

Five P's of Resumes/CV's

  1. PERFECT: NO MISTAKES
    1. Make certain everything is spelled correctly and use proper grammar
    2. Have several people proofread it (including a professional you trust)
  2. PAINLESS: QUICK AND EASY TO READ
    1. Text:10-12 pt. font; Section Headings: 12-14 pt. font and bold
    2. Margins should be between .5 and 1 inch; all tabs should line up and be consistent
  3. PAGES: SELL YOURSELF
    1. One or two pages are appropriate for resumes; CV’s can be longer (no ½ pages)
    2. Include critical information showcasing your skills and experience
  4. PAPER: MAKE IT PROFESSIONAL
    1. Copies should be on nice resume paper (24 lb.)
    2. If mailing to a prospective employer, do not fold it – use a large envelope
  5. POSITION: SHOW YOU ARE A GOOD FIT
    1. Tailor it to the required and preferred skills listed in the position description
    2. If applicable, use words specified in the job description

Outline

Name and address

  • Name should be large, bold, and stand out (20-24 pt. font)
  • Address, phone, and email (must be professional) should be smaller (10-12 pt. font)

Objective or profile

  • Objectives and profiles are optional, but can be strong elements on a resume
  • Objective – you know the industry and type of position you are applying for
  • Profile – you are open to an industry, but want to highlight experience, skills and goals

Education

  • List most recent first (DVM); and also Bachelor’s or AA degree; do NOT list high school
  • Spell out and bold your degree and major; can also list a minor if you have one
  • Include your GPA and the month and year you plan to complete your degree/graduate
  • If you have studied abroad, list the school, location, and dates.

Qualifications, veterinary skills, and areas of expertise

  • Must be specific and relevant to the position you are applying for
  • List skills gained through experience, knowledge gained in classes, computer skills, languages, certificates, licenses, etc.
  • This section is a "snapshot" of YOU

Veterinary experience (can title Small Animal, Large Animal, Livestock, Wildlife, etc.)

  • Include paid or unpaid full- or part-time jobs, as well as volunteer experience, externships, international experience, internships, and significant or relevant class/leadership projects
  • List most recent employment or experiences first
  • Past experiences need to be explained in past tense, present in present tense
  • Always list the practice/organization/company name, city, and state (or country)
  • List more than just job duties; describe specific accomplishments and achievements
  • Lead sentences with action words (Conducted, Performed, Completed, Administered)
  • List dates of experience on the right-hand side (either tabbed or right-justified)
  • Can have other sections for volunteer experience or additional work experience

Activities, involvement, leadership, and other interests (title as appropriate for your activities)

  • List involvement in clubs/organizations, athletics, hobbies, special interests
  • For clubs/organizations, include your role and dates; listing accomplishments is optional

Honors and awards

  • List scholarships, distinctions, awards, etc.
  • Include the name/title of the recognition, the organization it was through, and date

Research, publications, and teaching experience (include if you have it; important for CV)

References (separate page with your resume/CV header and same format)

  • Do NOT put a reference section on your resume or “References available upon request”
  • List at least 3-4 people (no more than 5). ASK first!
  • Include employers, advisors, and/or faculty – NOT personal friends or relatives
  • Include each person’s title, company, address, phone number, and email address
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