As you approach the end of your schooling, you’re probably about to start looking for your first job as a vet tech. Whether you find potential employers through advertisements or word of mouth, there is a good chance that you will need to submit a resume at some point during the application process. Start working on your resume now, so that you have it available when an opportunity arises!
Follow these 8 tips to create a resume that will help you land your ideal first job as a vet tech.
1. Use a professional email address and voicemail greeting.
If you’ve had the same email address since your younger days, it’s time for an upgrade! Even in the veterinary field, an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org may get your resume tossed in the trash can.
It’s easy to create a new email address online. Consider something like email@example.com. This will look more professional when listed on your resume and when you communicate with potential employers via email.
Call your cell phone and confirm that your ringtone and voicemail greeting also sound professional. Your voicemail greeting may be the first time your potential employer hears your voice; ensure that it sends the message that you are trying to convey.2. Include a clear objective statement.
I have a love-hate relationship with objective statements. On one hand, they seem redundant. (Your objective is to get a job, obviously!) On the other hand, they give you the opportunity to explain your goals and assets in just one or two sentences. Hiring managers often look at your resume before your cover letter, so a good objective statement can motivate them to keep reading and can help emphasize your strengths as a new grad vet tech.
A quick online search will give you a lot of ideas on how to word your objective statement. In general, your objective statement should provide the following information:
- That you’re a recent/future vet tech graduate looking for your first job.
- What you’re hoping to learn from this particular hospital.
- What you’re hoping to contribute to this particular hospital.
Be sure to customize your objective for each job!
3. Highlight your education.
If you’re about to graduate from a vet tech program, your education is probably the strongest aspect of your application. Therefore, your educational information should be listed as the next section of your resume, before work experience.
In addition to listing your degrees earned (or in progress), summarize specific training related to the job for which you’re applying. For example, if you took elective courses that are applicable to the position, include a brief listing of those courses. If you were involved in related student organizations or other extracurricular activities, you should also mention those.4. Include all relevant work experience.
When applying for your first job out of vet tech school, the majority of your relevant experience typically comes from externships. In addition to listing externship locations/dates, provide a detailed description of specific accomplishments, skills gained, and any contributions that you may have made to the practice.
Non-veterinary work experience should also be listed in this section, especially if it provided you with skills that might be useful in vet med. If you have been a waitress for the last five years, for example, list that experience and highlight skills you gained that will be an asset in a veterinary clinic.
Personal pet experience should not be included in the experience section, unless you held a professional role on your family’s ranch or had some other exceptional situation.5. Use active language and detailed descriptions.
Avoid passive phrasing like “responsible for” or “assigned the task of.” Instead, focus on verbs that emphasize what you did at work. Using the waitress example, consider these two possible descriptions that could be listed in the experience section:
- Responsible for providing service to restaurant customers at 10 tables.
- Provided service for up to 40 restaurant customers at a time, multitasking and prioritizing requests to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Which individual do you think would be better-equipped to handle the chaotic environment of a veterinary practice?6. Don’t neglect your cover letter.
Whether you’re submitting your resume in person or via email, a cover letter is a requirement. The cover letter should introduce you to the potential employer, provide a basic overview of why you would be a good fit for the job, and explain anything that isn’t clearly answered in your resume.
Although your cover letter should not directly reiterate information that is included in your resume, it can give you an opportunity to go into further detail on a particular interest or experience.7. Format your resume for clarity and readability.
Without formatting, a resume is just a wall of text. Use bold print, italics, and/or capital letters to add interest. Be consistent, using one style for every heading, one style for every employer name, one style for dates, etc.
Use a 10-12 point font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Your resume is not the time to use a decorative font; you want potential employers to be able to skim your resume quickly and efficiently.8. Have multiple friends or family members proofread your resume.
Typos and errors happen to all of us. Your goal, however, is to catch those errors before they make it to your potential employer! It can be hard to catch your own mistakes, so enlist the help of friends and family.
Finally, don’t forget about your resume once you find your first job. You never know when you may be asked to provide a resume on short notice to take advantage of an appealing opportunity! Keep your resume saved on your computer and update it once or twice a year, so that you can avoid starting from scratch next time you find yourself looking for a new position.
Having an awareness of your options can help you not only as you start your career, but also during future transitions that you may make during the course of your career.