Veterinarians, if you’re in the market for a new job, be careful, cautions a job recruiting expert. Bill Humbert, owner of the Humbert Group recruiting firm in Washington, D.C., says if you’ve been looking for work a long time, you may be happy just to get a job—and accept a lower salary than you have to. But Humbert says there are ways to get a job and still get what you want. Here’s his advice for job hunters:
1. Don’t offer salary requirements. When an employer asks you to include salary requirements with your resume, it’s typically used to screen out candidates. Humbert says to simply write “Open” in that spot. If your qualifications are on target, they’ll call you. If in the interview you’re asked what you made at your last job, reply by asking about the range for the one you’re applying for. You’d be surprised how many managers will tell you.
2. Don’t give away too much. In many job applications, an employer will ask for your salary history. It’s perfectly acceptable to write, “Willing to discuss at appropriate time during interview process,” and leave those numbers blank. Writing down those numbers pigeonholes you and reduces your negotiation power.
3. Don’t negotiate salary. Don’t negotiate salary during your interviews. Instead, negotiate when you’ll give them your salary requirements. When they ask you for that figure, tell them you don’t know what you’d require until you have a clear picture of the job requirements and potential for advancement over the next five years.
4. Keep networking. Once you have a job offer, it’s not a done deal until you accept it. So until that happens, keep networking and looking for jobs. It may give you valuable market-worth data about the position you’ve been offered. It may also be a safety net in case something goes awry between the time you receive an offer and the time you accept it.
5. Accept the offer. Once you’re given an offer, you have the right to ask for clarification. Ask, “Is there any flexibility in this offer?” This may help to open a discussion of increasing the salary. If it does, don’t expect a large boost in base pay but rather an extra week of paid vacation, a signing bonus or other such perks.
Follow these tips, and you might just land your dream job as a veterinarian—along with a dream salary.