Cover Letter and Resume
Your First Impression
We highly recommend that you use the process in the Damned Good Resume Book by Yana Parker. Several copies of this book are on reserve in the CVM library. It is a thin book and describes the process well. Creating effective written job search materials (cover letter and resume) will take you several hours -- most of which will not be spent "writing".
OASA staff are available to review your resume. They will review your documents after you complete the items on this list before you submit your resume for review.
- What is an employer looking for?
- Personal Strengths
- Resumes and Cover Letters
- Tips and Related Resources
You will be more successful in communicating your strengths to a potential employer if you understand what the employer is looking for. A recent (2001/2002) study of "successful" veterinarians identified the following core competencies as qualities of successful veterinarians regardless of their career focus (e.g. small animal, large animal, academic).
- Uses Sound Judgment
- Thinks Innovatively
- Acts Autonomously and Confidently
- Drives for Results
- Demonstrates Integrity
- Pursues Development
- Demonstrates Adaptability
- Builds Relationships
- Communicates Effectively
- Motivates Others
- Influences Others
- Coaches and Develops Others
- Business Oriented
You can also see the types of cases that practitioners regularly see by reviewing the study commissioned for the national board exam. Some things employers may be concerned about include:
- Ability to relate to clients (your "people" skills)
- Ability to get along / work with other staff
- Honesty / Integrity
- Work ethic
- Medical knowledge
- Surgical / technical skills
- Animal experience
- Understanding of the Human Animal Bond
- Business skills / knowledge / interest
- Special skills or knowledge (e.g. production animal software, avian medicine, acupuncture, nutrition, showing horses)
Create a list of your personal strengths and unique attributes. You need to know your own “unique selling points” before you can convince someone else. Things you may want to consider would include:
- animal experience
- technical skills such as Artificial Insemination, surgery
- experience dealing with customers, foreign languages
- business skills or knowledge
- work ethic
- animal related hobbies (eg. show dogs, agility)
- community involvement
- things you do really well
- identify personal accomplishments or experiences that document skills
When you prepare your resume and cover letter make sure that you educate the reader about why you would be a Great Addition to their practice!! As much as possible match your strengths and accomplishments with the needs (stated in the advertisement or guessed at) of the employer. Emphasize your personal strengths and attributes.
If you are applying to an equine exclusive practice – I want to hear about your horse showing and training experience! When creating the list try to tie a general ability to life experiences. For example, "skilled in working with the general public based upon my 4 years working as a waitress in a busy restaurant".
REMEMBER!The single purpose of the resume is to get you an interview.
Use the specific job advertisement you identified, what you believe the employer is looking for (stated in the ad or general qualities all employers would be interested in), your personal strengths and experiences and craft a specific resume and cover letter for that job / employer.
Consider using a brief summary of qualifications near the top of your resume.
What is the employer looking for?
- Successful veterinarians you, or others, may know
- Job skills survey for National Board exam
Resume Writing Resources:
- ISU College Resume & Interview guides http://www.business.iastate.edu/careers/students/guides/resume
- ISU College Resume http://www.hs.iastate.edu/career-services/students/resumes-and-references/
- AVMA Veterinary Career Center www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Career/VCC/Pages/default.aspx
- The Writing Institute at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Short overview of how to put your resume together www.rpi.edu/dept/cdc/students/jobsearch/resumes/resumes.html
- Monster.com (Resume Center) http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-writing-tips/how-to-write-a-resume/article.aspx