As you approach the end of your vet tech training, you will begin the search for your first vet tech job. Even if you have already received an offer from a current or former employer, it’s still a good idea to investigate other openings and compare opportunities.
Creating a resume immediately out of school can be challenging, because you haven’t yet had an opportunity to work as a vet tech. However, playing up your strengths can play a big role in helping you find the right first job.
Consider these tips:
Draw attention to your educational background.
Depending on your area of the country, you may find yourself applying for the same positions as an uncredentialed vet assistant. herefore, it’s important to emphasize what sets you apart from a vet assistant, which is your education and the credentials that you will bring to the practice.
List your vet tech education first on your resume, so employers are immediately aware of your training. Provide a brief overview of special opportunities that you took advantage of during your schooling, such as elective courses, student organizations, and externships. List any awards or honors that you received. It’s important to list your education first, because some employers may not bother to read all the way to the bottom of your resume.
Provide detailed job descriptions, especially for previous veterinary jobs.
Practices differ significantly in how they utilize their staff. I have worked in practices where vet assistants were only allowed to restrain pets and clean kennels, but I have also worked in practices where vet assistants routinely drew blood, ran laboratory tests, placed intravenous catheters, and performed other technical duties.
If you have worked in a veterinary clinic as an assistant or extern, be sure to clearly highlight the skills that you gained through that job. If yours was one of the clinics that used vet assistants for a wide variety of tasks, highlight that experience on your resume!
Emphasize connections between non-veterinary jobs and your vet tech career.
Don’t automatically assume that your non-veterinary jobs are irrelevant to your vet tech resume! While technical skills and medical knowledge are important for vet techs, people skills and the ability to multitask are every bit as essential in a busy veterinary clinic. Don’t hesitate to list non-veterinary jobs on your resume, especially if you don’t have extensive veterinary experience.
The key to listing non-veterinary jobs is to demonstrate how those positions prepared you for a role as a vet tech. If you previously worked as a waitress, for example, emphasize the skills that you gained in engaging with all types of people, handling frustrated customers, and juggling multiple demands in a hectic setting. If you worked in sales, you may want to emphasize the communication and persuasive skills that you developed in that role. If you volunteered in a community organization, think of how the skills you gained in that role could translate to a vet tech position.
Nearly any non-veterinary position has some skills that will translate to the veterinary field; your job is to help your potential employer see these connections!
Pay attention to detail.
As a vet tech, you will be expected to communicate clearly with clients, document findings and treatment plans in the medical record, and perform other detail-oriented tasks. A resume that contains typos or other errors may leave your potential employer concerned about your ability to perform quality work.
Pay careful attention to spelling, grammar, and formatting in your resume. Attempt to create a finished document that looks professional and polished, even if that means using the services of a paid resume-writing service. Don’t try to go it alone; at the least, have several trusted friends or family members edit your resume and give feedback. (Trust me, it’s often hard to find your own mistakes!)
Consider modifying your resume for different types of practices.
If you’re open to employment in a variety of practice settings, you may want to create a different resume for each setting. This can be especially valuable if you have extensive work experience that is difficult to confine to a one-page resume. The resume that you send to a general practice may emphasize your skills in client communication and preventive care, while the resume that you send to an emergency clinic may emphasize your skills and experience in multitasking and managing critical cases.