Like many other senior vet students, with January comes the start of the job hunt. It is a scary and exciting step. For me, every job opportunity comes with a period of excitement and “what ifs” (I even have gone so far as to look at houses for sale), before looking at the opportunities a little more logically.
I started my hunt with a phone call back to a vet I worked for as an undergrad, and she was a great resource. She was able to let me know which vets in the area had just hired an associate and who may be hiring in the future. Next, I called prospective clinics, but this has not been a very productive route; vets and practice managers are busy people and not many have gotten back to me. I found that my prospective state’s vet website occasionally posts jobs, and I applied to one job I found there. Other associations and clubs are also good places to find job postings. I asked a favorite professor if he knew of anyone with a position open, and I visited a fantastic clinic based on his recommendation. Finally, I visited a clinic after listening to a family member talk about a veterinarian whom she really liked and respected. There are many resources for finding a new job, and I have found that job postings are a good start, but there are other ways of findings vets looking for a new associate.
One thing I did not expect when starting the job hunt is that I am looking into opportunities that I had not considered before. I found myself applying for jobs in places I knew nothing about and in states I had not planned on, and even at clinics that specialize in things that are not my strong suits. I have been told over and over is that veterinary medicine is a very diverse field and that there is so much that can be done within it, and I am finding that this is really true.
For four years, I have watched my student debts pile up while hearing how tough it is to get a job. Every time I get a call back on a resume I send out, I am flattered and excited. After a couple of call-backs and combinations of online and phone interviews, I have set up times to visit a couple of different clinics during a two-week break in January. One thing I wish I had done is set up more time for externships and vacations at the end of my senior year, rather than at the beginning. This would have made it easier to spend time at the practices I am interested in. Now, these two weeks in January will be my last break until graduation, and taking time to visit a clinic during the remaining school year will be very, very difficult. Still, the start of a job hunt is very exciting, even if a little intimidating.