4 tips on how to optimize your CV

By the time we are ready to find a veterinary job, whether you’re a recent grad or need a change, we have pages and pages of experience that we want to fit in our CV. Even with all this amazing experience, you still don’t find that you’re getting the jobs you want. Don’t stress! Although you are the perfect candidate, your CV may not reflect that. Here are 4 tips on how to optimize your CV and apply for that job with CONFIDENCE!

1. Create a master CV:

The veterinary industry is a field of work that encourages lots of hands on experience. To get into veterinary school or veterinary technician school, they look at how many hours of experience you have with animals, your hobbies, and other extra-curriculars you do. During school, they require countless weeks of volunteering, internships, and externships in order to graduate. After school, some of you have moved on to internships, residencies, or hopped around a few jobs to find your perfect fit. By the end of all this, you have acquired loads of great experience that has led you to become the veterinarian or veterinary technician you are today! The only problem is, how do you show off all your hard work into a two page CV? Unfortunately the answer is, you can’t. So the next question is, what should I keep on my CV and what should I cut out? This answer is going to depend on what job you are applying for. To help with this, create a master CV. Your master CV will contain EVERY experience you have done that is CV worthy. This includes all your animal experience, extra-curriculars, awards, and other accomplishments or activities outside of the veterinary industry. Yes, this may end up being over 10 pages for some of you; however, now you have a database that you can pull from. From here, you can pick and choose relative experience specific to the job you are apply to. And this leads us to the next tip…

2. Cater your CV to the job you’re apply to:

Now that you have created your master CV, you will look at each job individually and create a CV that is specific to it. For example, if you want to work as a large animal veterinarian in Saskatchewan, choose your top large animal experiences to put on your CV. If you are applying for 5 jobs, it is very possible you will have to create 5 different CVs. The benefit of having a master CV is that you can copy and paste parts of it, so it shouldn’t take much time. The reality is, if your employer is looking for a large animal veterinarian, they might not necessarily care that you are a wizard at performing an ovariohysterectomy procedure in a cat. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing skill and it has components to it that translate into large animal medicine which should be expressed; however, this is a perfect thing to talk about during an interview after you have hooked them with your CV.

3. Use key words:

Alright, now you have a great looking CV and you’re confident you’re going to get an interview… yet you hear no word from the employer. Don’t get discouraged. There may have been a lot of applicants equally as qualified and unfortunately, it just wasn’t your day. However, using some keywords may be your ticket to stand out from the others. Look at the employers in terms of the job description they posted, their ‘about us’ section on their website, and their overall vibe of the business. Use some of the exact words they use and put it in your CV. For example, if the job post says ‘looking for an energetic veterinary technician who has a specific interest in animal nutrition’, you should have the words ‘energetic’ and ‘interest in animal nutrition in your CV – and ideally somewhere at the top of the page.  All they want is someone who is qualified and fits in perfectly with their team, so if they are using specific description words, you should use those words too.

4. Life is more than our job:

It is important to not only focus on the veterinary world, but on other aspects of our lives as well. Many times we have acquired skills in other jobs or activities that have helped with our veterinary job and it’s essential to not discount those experiences. Maybe you have previously worked in costumer service and that is where you developed excellent client communication skills. Perhaps you were apart of a varsity sports team and you are good at working as a team. Employers like to see what kind of person you are outside of the veterinary profession, so don’t be afraid to show off  other important parts of your life that has made you the wonderful human you are today!