Looking for a job as an associate veterinarian? Set yourself apart as a candidate
As a practice co-owner looking to hire an associate to work at my clinic once the other owner (my father) retired, I recently went through the process of identifying and recruiting a great associate veterinarian. (Read the full story: “How I found my superstar associate.”) Based on what I observed in that process, here are a couple of take-home messages for potential associates:
1. Develop an area of interest that separates you from your peers. This could entail learning a surgical skill such as TTA or laparoscopy; becoming proficient in a particular area of medicine such as ophthalmology or behavior; mastering a diagnostic tool such as ultrasound; or even sharpening your social media and marketing skills. As an example, I’m not crazy about working with pocket pets, and a candidate excited about pocket pets and exotics would have risen on my list.
2. Identify your personality strengths and weakness. Put your strengths on display both in your interviews and in your working environment. (Can you make people laugh? Are you a super-sharp problem solver? Prove it!) Work on your weaknesses so they don’t get you passed over in interviews or diminish morale in your hospital. (Tendency to sarcasm, so soft-spoken people have to ask you to repeat yourself? Get some coaching, or work on these traits yourself.) In a professional working environment, your personality as a doctor, whether owner or associate, has a trickle-down effect on the support staff. You can control the path of your career by controlling how you project yourself.
Work on these two areas, and you’ll be miles ahead of your peers who are out looking for veterinary jobs along with you.