Career Tips

They say that getting into veterinary school is the hardest part. But it can be a huge adjustment transitioning from your undergrad years. With more responsibilities to juggle this time around, and a very rigorous workload, making sure that you have a healthy work/life balance is key to being successful.

Make the most out of your first year with these vet school hacks from veterinarians who remember the struggle all too well (and what they wish someone had told them sooner!)

  • laptop study stationCreate a Study Plan. Kienan Gold, DVM, a recent graduate from Harris Boulevard Veterinary Clinic in Charlotte, NC, says that time becomes your most valuable asset in vet school, so make sure you are prioritizing your studies. Don't abandon all of your hobbies – but some of them may have to take a back seat while you figure out how to prepare effectively for classes and exams. You can also look for study groups to join to help keep you on track.

  • Balance Work and Play. Molly King, DVM, another recent grad and veterinarian at Oaks Veterinary Hospital in Gainesville, FL warns you’ll go nuts if you don’t take some time to enjoy yourself and relax. Have fun getting to know your classmates and make new friends. You’ll miss them after graduation!

  • Put Good In. Eating well while studying and on the go can be tough. But if you keep healthy snacks on hand, like nuts, granola bars and fruit, you can help keep junk food at bay. Meal prepping and making sure that you always have a healthy breakfast can also help to set you up for success.

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Did you know that adults lose an average of 2.5 liters (more than 10 cups) of water each day, simply by doing ordinary tasks? You can imagine how much more we are losing each day while on our feet and busy at work!

Water can do so much good for us - it can eliminate hunger pains, prevent and ease headaches, increase our metabolism, fight fatigue, help us feel more alert, and more. Staying hydrated is not only a healthy choice, it’s a smart choice. Dehydration can actually be quite dangerous, and especially during these hot and humid summer months, it’s important to be aware of our habits and establish good ones.

Check out these quick tips we've put together to help quench your body's thirst and ensure you stay hydrated throughout your work day. 

Grab a couple of reusable water bottles.

Water in glass

Not only are they good for the environment, but they can also help make it easier for you to sip water throughout the day. With such busy shifts, it's easy to forget to take breaks - let alone water breaks! Try keeping a water bottle with ounce markings tucked away in an area that clients can't see, but is easy for you to grab, so you can hydrate and keep track of how much you're drinking.

Spice up your water.

Try jazzing up your water by infusing it with fruits or herbs to give it a burst of flavor! Sparkling or seltzer waters with natural flavors like lemon or lime can also keep things interesting, and help you feel more satisfied.

Limit coffee and soda intake.

We know - you aren't you before your first cup of coffee in the morning! But keep in mind that caffeine can actually dehydrate you. Try to drink one cup of water for every cup of coffee/soda or two cups of black tea, to make up for the diuretic effect. Sugary drinks and juices should also be limited due to their high sugar and calorie content, and less effective hydration.

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Fight the Feeling of Burnout

The veterinary field is fast-paced, demanding, and definitely stressful. Often times, as caregivers, we are so consumed with the wellbeing for our patients and their owners that we forget to take care of ourselves.

It is important not to neglect yourself and your own needs amidst the commotion. So we've put together a few tips to help manage stress from work and keep any feelings of burnout at bay.

  1. take-a-break-coffeeTake a break. Take a walk around the building or simply step outside for a breath of fresh air. Though shifts can be busy or short-staffed, taking a moment to clear your head will refresh you and allow you to be ready to tackle the next case.

  2. Eat lunch with coworkers. Taking a few moments to sit down and chat with coworkers about current events, the awesome book you just read, or the latest television show will not only give your tired feet a rest, but will also invite friendly conversation and even a laugh!

  3. Communicate your feelings. As veterinary professionals, we experience many different feelings and some hard days. It’s important to let it all out with a trusted listener, and to be a good listener to others when they have a rough day also. A couple words of encouragement and understanding can go a long way. You can also find local veterinary support groups online.

  4. Enjoy a healthy snack. Almonds, smoothies, a piece of fruit or trail mix are all great ways to fuel your mind and your body. Snacking also helps to promote a healthy weight and blood sugar!

  5. Turn work off at home. Try not to get bogged down by the stresses of your shift. Allow yourself only one hour after work to talk about it with family or friends, then focus on hobbies and interests outside of medicine. Simple techniques like box breathing or meditation can also help take your mind off work and allow yourself to let go.


The most important tip, however, is to remember to be good to yourself. Stay on top of your mental and physical health by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating well. Take some time off every now and then, and give yourself some credit for all the hard work that you do.

Thank you for all that you do for our furry friends!

While your cover letter and resume may show that you are qualified for a position, the interview is your chance to showcase your skills and prove that you can connect with the team. Interviews can seem very intimidating, but with these tips you can be rest assured that you be will be prepared for a successful meeting.

  1. top-5-interview-tipsDo your research on the practice. Visit their website, read their reviews, and follow their Facebook and social media so that they know you are well versed on the hospital. This shows that you are interested in working there, have done your due diligence and are excited about becoming a vital part of their team.

  2. Dress to impress. Practices want to know that you will look professional and credible to their clients, so be sure to dress in business casual attire.

  3. Remember to ask questions! An interview isn’t a one-way street – it’s an opportunity for both parties to get to know each other. While the practice will be determining if they think you are a good fit for them, you will need to decide whether or not the practice is a good fit for you, too. This is a good opportunity to ask hospital-specific questions like what a typical caseload looks like, or how they schedule their veterinarians, so you know what you can expect.

  4. Consider the whole experience a part of your interview. Every person you interact with from the minute you walk through the door is important in your interview process. These could be your potential teammates, after all. Even though you may not be sitting down to talk with each team member, they will be evaluating you and gauging whether or not you’re right for their team and beloved clients and patients.

  5. Always say thank you. Be sure to follow-up with the interviewer by mail or email. It may not make a difference in getting hired, but it could strengthen an already positive impression of you and show that you genuinely are interested in working at their practice. Don’t forget to incorporate something from your chat, to show that you were listening and engaged.


Best of luck on your next interview! 

You did it! You've hustled through four years of veterinary school, internships, externships, and more hard work, and you're excited to start applying for your very first veterinary job.

Remember – first impressions are everything. You've got to make sure that your application is the best representation of yourself and makes potential new employers want to meet with you. Follow these tips below to land the veterinary position you’ve been working so hard for.

Follow these tips for applying for your first veterinary job.Keep it short and sweet.

Pay attention to the request for a resume versus a CV to apply for a position. More often than not, a short resume is all you need – one to two pages, max. Anything more than that can overwhelm the reader and make it difficult for them to see what sets you apart from the rest. Don't get overlooked!

Ditch the "objective."

Objectives are really not necessary for a professional position, unless you're using it to explain something about your application that doesn't align with what you're applying for. For example, you may want to note that you're looking for a position in the Chicago area if you're moving there from Tennessee, or moving from a large animal focus to small animal medicine.

Include all of your relevant hands-on experience.

This includes being a veterinary assistant or technician at a hospital before school or during breaks. While an employer may want to hear about your externships, all of your clinical experience is great to highlight as well. Same goes for your customer service positions. If you have the room for it (remember, you want to keep it short), include that waitressing job or that time you answered phones. It is important to show that you can connect with clients and build their trust in your recommendations.

Remember to keep it concise and relevant. If someone wants to know the details of your academic career, including publications and research, they will ask for a CV.

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It's a New Year, so why not make healthy work habits a priority in 2017? Follow these 5 simple steps for a less stressful work environment, and a healthier, happier you. 

  1. healthy-lifesytle-350pxBring a healthy lunch. Meal prepping is the easiest way to kick temptation to the curb. Make sure you pack a well-balanced lunch every day, and that you have healthy snacks stored away, too. Or even better, eat healthy with a co-worker - each of you can bring part of a nutritious lunch to share.

  2. Take a walk during your break. Even though you may be on your feet all day, the change in scenery can help clear your head. A quick walk outside can help you take your mind off of work, de-stress, and get some vitamin D in as well.

  3. Stay hydrated. Don't forget to drink water throughout the day. Especially during these winter months when temperatures drop and the air gets drier, water is our best defense against dehydrated skin. Keep a water bottle tucked away in an area that clients can't see, but is easy for you to grab on the go.

  4. Wash your hands. It's always important to wash your hands after meeting new clients or handling pets, but now it is especially important because it's flu season. Help stop the spread of germs by taking a quick minute to wash your hands with soap or sanitizer. 

  5. Keep your workspace clean. Shared work spaces can be difficult to keep organized, and the clutter can negatively affect you and your co-workers. Assign each team member with an area in the practice and hold each other responsible for keeping it tidy.
Eat healthy with a co-worker- each of you can bring part of a nutritious lunch to share.