5 Ways to Boost Your Veterinary Career
It’s time. You have built up your experience and expertise, and you are quietly confident that you are ready to take a big step up in your career. Your motivations could be many. Building up a nest egg in anticipation of adding to your family, you want the challenge of leading a substantial team, you desire to fix some of the systemic issues that challenge the veterinary space, or practice ownership is your goal. You may be concerned about skill stagnation, have a deep-seated wish to create the ideal practice culture from the ground up, or take on a leadership role at an industry level, guiding policies and protocols that will have a long-lasting impact. Current research confirms that one in four veterinary professionals – doctors, nurses or veterinary technicians or management – are considering changing their employment in 2023. If you are considering such a change, here are five key ways you can prepare to boost your veterinary career…
Social media – your career accelerant
Think again if you thought social media was just for posting funny memes and cute cat videos. And no, we don’t mean lip-synching and dancing to Taylor Swift’s latest release on TikTok, although that may also be fun!
Social media can be one of the most valuable tools to reach out to other veterinary professionals, highlight your skills and expertise, connect with possible future employers, and keep up-to-date on trends in the industry.
- Keep your social media profile updated
Employers increasingly use social networking sites and groups to post jobs and recruit applicants. Recruiters, hiring managers, and employers are also researching social media profiles to gain insights into potential employees and whether or not they might fit with the organization based on what they like, dislike, and post. LinkedIn and Facebook remain the veterinary industry’s go-to social media apps. Therefore, you want to build up your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles before exploring new career opportunities. Keep them updated with your most recent skills, groups, and employment information. Like your resume, you should ideally update your social media profiles each time you do something worthy of note.
- Stay active with professional connections
In addition to keeping your social media profiles current, you should actively communicate with your network. Join professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and participate in the discussions that interest you. And book a fifteen-minute slot in your calendar each week to review your feeds and post, comment or share content that is highly relevant to your goals.
Volunteer for committees in your industry associations
Some of the associations you likely already belong to are another valuable networking tool. Professional associations increasingly use committees and task forces made up of volunteers to address specific issues and give their members a voice.
- The Board of Directors of The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) appoints members to a variety of committees, task forces, and working groups on everything ranging from Animal Welfare to Education Standards to International Veterinary Affairs. Here is a listing of some of the key AVMA committees and task forces.
- There is tremendous value in growing your global professional network. Organizations such as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) do much of their work through volunteer committees and initiatives that unite experts worldwide.
- Some non-profit veterinary organizations, such as the British Veterinary Association (BVA), exist to eliminate the knowledge divide in the industry.
No matter what aspect of the veterinary profession you work in, professional organisations could use your expertise in various ways, and they are eager for you to contribute. In return, you will expand your knowledge base and connect with like-minded individuals who can help you grow your career.
Make every educational event a networking opportunity
Any educational opportunity, whether a workshop, an online webinar, a day-long program, a professional conference, or a multi-year degree, is a chance to connect with other professionals naturally.
Education is robust in that it promotes sharing ideas and new ways of looking at issues and challenges in how we view the world and our profession.
Rather than dreading the term “networking,” think of it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional.
Attend professional veterinary meetups…in real life
Local meetups are a valuable way to bring professionals together for question-and-answer sessions, panel discussions, and conversations about various ways other professionals approach workplace issues.
Local meetups offer smaller, more intimate settings than larger conferences, providing more discussion and question-answer opportunities. Additionally, meetups offer opportunities for recent graduates or new professionals to talk with veterans in the field and find out about employers looking to hire.
Take 5 minutes each day to boost your personal network
Networking doesn’t need to be a full-time job. Try doing something simple each day or week that can have a significant impact on your career, such as:
- Recognize a co-worker’s achievements – Look for opportunities to highlight a co-worker’s skills or the positive way they handled a situation. Share an email with your peers, department or the wide world. Not only will you feel good and make a fellow team member’s day, but others will also be more likely to recognize your potential as a future leader and mentor.
- Ask a professional to have lunch with you – Take some time to think about whom you would like to meet in your field of work. Please do your research and know what you want to ask before you ask someone to take time out of her busy schedule. Once you have done that, draft an email mentioning that you know they are swamped, but you would appreciate it if they would be willing to take 30 minutes out of their day to meet with you. State why you find them interesting or admire the work they have done. The chances are that most people will be flattered and happy to meet with you. You will have some stimulating conversations and increase your professional network.
- Reach out to a mentor – A relationship with a mentor can be a valuable tool. They are not only someone with whom to talk shop but a person to bounce ideas off of and to speak with outside the workplace. Your mentor can also be a resource for building your professional network. You might ask them whom they suggest you meet in your interest areas. Alternatively, consider asking, “What workshops would you recommend I attend?” or “Do you know any veterinary groups that meet up in the local area?”
Boosting your career is all about building and maintaining relationships. Keep in touch with the people you connect with, whether from volunteer committees, social media, mentorship relationships, or educational experiences. And “Pay It Forward” – it’s a good thing to do, and you will be surprised by the impact that it will have on your career prospects.
You never know when your next perfect career opportunity will arise; when it does, all the groundwork and time you have invested will put your name on the tip of everyone’s tongue. So start today.
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