Where to find jobs
There are numerous places where available positions in veterinary medicine can be found.
In most states and provinces in the United States and Canada, veterinary graduates who are properly licensed are allowed, by law, to start their own practices.
However, most new graduates choose to continue their education or find either temporary or permanent employment in an existing practice or other veterinary-related business as soon as possible after graduation.
The first place to start is with yourself. In order to find the position right for you, one that will give you satisfaction on a personal and professional level, you need to honestly assess what you want, where you want to live and what kind of work you really want to do. Asking yourself the following questions might be helpful:
· 1. What are the goals you have set for yourself that you put on your resume?
· 2. Are you interested in working for industry or government?
· 3. Where would you, and/or your family like to reside? Would you prefer a rural, suburban or urban setting? This question should be very high on your priority list.
· 4. If your desire is so-called traditional private clinical practice, what species of animal would you like to work with? Do you have any special interests such as avian or exotic?
· 5. Do you have any interest in a practice that provides primarily emergency and after-hours service?
· 6. Would you be most comfortable in a small one or two person practice or a multi-doctor practice?
· 7. Are you aware of corporate groups such as Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) and Banfield that own multiple animal hospitals in the United States?
· 8. Are you anxious to become involved in the business aspects of veterinary practice or would you rather "leave that up to someone else?"
· 9. What are your financial requirements? Before you start your job search make a budget for yourself and include what you will need to live, pay taxes, payoff student debt and allow yourself a modicum amount for yourself. I will discuss this in more detail later. I will also cover internships, residencies and "non-traditional" practice opportunities in Your DVM Career in April.
Following is a partial list of sources for information concerning available positions.
· 1. Job search-related efforts, including placement centers, bulletin boards and job fairs, sponsored by your college.
· 2. Practices that you have been employed by before or during veterinary school or during externship programs.
· 3. Word-of-mouth from other students, alumni and friends. This can be a particularly good source if coming from a former employee of the practice where you'd like to be employed.
· 4. The classified advertisements found bi-monthly in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. These advertisements are classified by state as well as small animal, feline, equine, mixed animal and food animal. Other professional journals have classified ads as well.
· 5. The AVMA Veterinary Career Center, which is a computer-based matching service that can be found at www.AVMA.org or can be contacted by calling the AVMA at (847) 925-8070, ext. 6683. This service is free for job-seekers.
· 6. Block advertisements placed by the corporate veterinary groups in professional journals, on bulletin boards or on Web sites that will direct you to a human resource department that will have information about all positions available in that company throughout the U.S.
· 7. Web sites-many Web sites exist for job-seekers. The larger corporate veterinary groups maintain Web sites that have information on all available positions with that group. These are generally categorized by state, type of practice and type of position and give details on how to obtain more information or apply. Three of the larger corporate groups, Banfield (www.banfield.net), VCA (www.vcai.com) and National PetCare Centers (www.nationalpet.com) maintain such Web sites.
· 8. Employment placement services that are private organizations normally get their funding from the prospective employer and do not charge the job-seeker. These organizations can be readily found in most of the above sources and do offer personalized job searches based on criteria given to them by the prospective employers and employees. These organizations also maintain Web sites listing job opportunities available through them. Two of these organizations are VetNet America (www.VetNetAmerica.com) and VetEssential (www.vetessential.com).
· 9. If you are interested in positions with the U.S. Federal Government, information concerning available positions, application procedures and other information can be found at www.pueblo.gsa.gov/call or by calling (800) FED-INFO.
Hopefully, you've now compiled a list of several possible employers for your first position. Depending on the instructions given in the ad or listing, you will contact the practice and ask if you may send them a copy of your resume with cover letter. In some cases, that might be the primary instruction. You will, either on your first contact or in your cover letter, ask for an opportunity to visit the practice and schedule an interview. You have made a big first step in finding the "perfect first job."
Dr. McCarthy is an internationally known author, speaker and teacher and currently serves St. Georges School of Veterinary Medicine as visiting professor of ethics and jurisprudence and special lecturer on practice management.