CV (Curriculum Vitae) for Veterinary Surgeons – get it right
This is it, you need to put everything you know in a CV to get that job you want… Or do you?
If you think your CV will get you a job, you’re half right. A good CV will show the prospective employer you have the skills they need. A good cover letter will make them look at your CV and have an idea of whether you as a person will fit the bill in their team.
Your CV should be ideally no more than 2 pages unless you have a lot of experience. Avoid unnecessary information. The general structure should start with your details, a personal statement, then your education and employment history. Here are some general tips.
- Don’t send a photo of you. Even though this is a bit controversial, I don’t have a photo on my CV. It helps employers avoid discrimination. If you want to use a photo, choose a professional one (ideally wear scrubs).
- Mention your gender. If you don’t have a photo and are a foreigner, many potential employers will have the question in their minds… he or she? Make sure to answer that question by mentioning your gender.
- State your nationality. This is something your potential employer definitely wants to know.
The “work” experience
- When listing previews employments, start with the most recent and try to not only mention the tasks, but also the achievements you have reached (for instance, “mixed position – position that has consolidated first-opinion skills “).
- If you’re a new grad… mention any useful experience for the job! For instance, mention that you went to a local small animal clinic every weekend to help during appointments. Mention you did fertility work in dairy cows when you were out in farm visits with your university teachers. Mention you volunteered to spend the afternoons after class in the University Hospital. Mention you helped with Trap-Neuter-Release programs with your local cat shelter. Even new grads have experience! Bear in mind you will always be at a disadvantage when compared to a UK new grad, as they all go through a period of “EMS – Extra Mural Studies” while students that generally guarantees them much more experience (some will even be doing surgery on their EMS placements before completing university). So you need to beat them with your personality, adaptability and impress with your cover letter.
About the Design
When it comes to designing your CV, you will be inundated by different options and templates when yo do a bit of a search (hint: you also get a CV template if with our Job Applications guide). Don’t forget no matter how pretty your CV is, if what’s written in there is not what the employer needs to read, you’re not getting an interview. Also don’t forget that, despite the rainbows, you want your CV read. So make it easy for others to read it:
- Keep the design simple. Avoid rainbows of colours and hard to read fonts
- Have white space to make the CV look lighter and easier to read – make sure you have clear margins
- Use bullet points to focus the reader’s attention
Things you shouldn’t have in your CV
It’s easy, especially when you don’t have experience, to try to showcase every single thing you have seen or tried. However, the trick with a good CV is understanding that we are all selfish. Sounds bad, but it’s true. You probably wrote your CV thinking about you and showcasing your skills. Well, someone else is going to read your CV while thinking about themselves. So you want to write your CV for the employer, not for you. You want the employer to read your CV and think “this guy/gal could really do what I want someone to do for me/my business”. Here are some things you should not have in your CV:
- Anything that is repeated – waste of space and time!
- Irrelevant information – having worked at McDonnald’s 5 years ago probably brings no skills to the table you have not gained with other type of relevant experience
- CPD/conferences you attended (especially as an undergraduate) – there are some exceptions to this. They usually relate to the roles you are applying for (having a certain CPD can really highlight a highly desirable skill, for instance, if you have very good quality CPD on ultrasound and the role is looking for someone with imaging bias to establish an ultrasound service for other practices). When it comes to conferences, they are usually better left out – unless you were attending as a speaker and are applying for a role involving teaching.