I have officially been working in a clinic for about two months now and it has been a whirlwind journey. To say that being a new grad veterinarian has a steep learning curve would be an understatement.
I graduated in 2019, and after taking a few months off, I moved to Australia from London and started looking for a job. Australia is like my second home, so the move was an easy decision! The interview process varied greatly between practices, some more formal than others, but in general, I took away a couple important things that I’ll share with you below.
1. Be comfortable with who you are.
There is no point in pretending to be interested in something you’re not! For example, if the small animal job you’re interviewing for asks if you are willing to see some large animals every once in a while, and that’s a big no-no for you, don’t try to please them just to get the job. You want to be happy with where you work, and if that means passing a less-than-perfect job opportunity up, then that’s ok. There will be others. Be honest with yourself and with potential employers.
2. Be ready.
In the immortal words of Scar from The Lion King, be prepared. This one’s obvious, but first impressions really do matter. Re-read your CV, prepare a list of questions you want to ask them (for example, salary, how much support you’ll get, and what sort of continued education opportunities they provide), and do a bit of research about the practice you’re applying for. Lucky for me, I was offered a position at a practice that I was really interested in and let me tell you, it has been an amazing journey so far. I have felt incredibly supported by the vets, staff, and administration team. I’ve got a lovely work-life balance and have been really enjoying consulting and building rapport with customers.
3. Know what you want out of a job
This ties into asking questions. You just graduated vet school and you’re very employable. Make sure to interview them as much as they are interviewing you. If you’re not keen on working out-of-hours, that’s ok. Make sure to ask them about their OOH—if they have any and if so, how often are they? Do you really want to practice your ultrasound skills? Touch on that and see if there are any specialized vets there who can mentor you in that, or if the practice would be willing to send you to an ultrasound course. You have to be happy with where you work, so you have to make sure that the job ticks most of your boxes. No job will be perfect and there will be compromises you have to make, but make sure to not settle on things that you find important.
Now go forth and ace those interviews. You’ll do great.