As a veterinarian, you have patients that can’t communicate how they feel, so you look for other clues. As you begin your job hunt, you need to know how to communicate your ability to diagnose and treat the animals you work with. A veterinarian resume that’s the cat’s meow displays the way you interact with your patients and their owners, but it also offers evidence of your expertise.
How do you impart all that within a formatted document?
Start with Resume.io. We offer resume examples and writing guides for 300+ professions, backed by expert resources and tools. Let us help you express your style and experience in a way that will impress employers and get you that interview.
This resume guide, along with the corresponding resume example will cover the following topics:
- What does a veterinarian do?
- How to write a veterinarian resume (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a veterinarian resume
- Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design hints.
More than 65% or 84.9 million American households have some type of pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Of those, 63.4 million have dogs and 42.7 million have cats.
What does a veterinarian do?
Veterinarians are medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of animals. Vets study for many years in order to reach the highest level of their professions. Just like human doctors, veterinarians can specialize in surgery or other subfields. Certain vets also focus on specific types of animals like horses or livestock. Many vets work with cats, dogs and other common pets and advise owners on the correct care and treatment. Veterinarians work alongside veterinary technicians and receptionists.
How to write a veterinarian resume
Before you begin to put your veterinarian resume together, you need to know what elements it contains. Create the following components for your CV:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
Writing a resume that resounds means matching the tone and expectations of your future employer. Research the hospital or clinic before you begin to get an idea of the types of procedures they perform, the types of animals they provide care for and the general work environment. That information will help you target your message.
Overcome the Applicant Tracking System
You can develop a fabulous resume, but if you don’t understand Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS, it may never get into the hands of a hiring manager. These software programs scan, sort and assess resumes for human resources departments.These systems are looking for keywords and phrases the employer has pegged to the job.
The best way to ensure that your resume won’t get filtered out is to understand what your prospective employer wants. Analyze the job listing, carefully highlighting keywords and phrases within it that you can then use in your resume.
Use the phrase as it appears exactly. Spell out and use any acronyms just in case.
Choosing the best resume format for a veterinarian
As you saw above, resumes typically follow a strict structure and the format of your veterinarian resume is no different. Reverse chronological order, which mostly affects your work history section, is the way to go unless your career falls into a special circumstance.
If you have changed careers, are just starting out, you may consider the other resume formats we suggest as chronological alternatives or hybrids. If you are a highly specialized veterinarian with deep scientific expertise, you may want to use the functional resume style. It is typically reserved for niche technologists or scientists because it highlights skills over work experience.
The job market for veterinarians
Even before COVID prompted thousands of Americans to head to shelters to adopt pets, the job market for veterinarians was booming. The demand for veterinarians is projected to leap 17% in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They earned a median income of $99,250 per year in 2020.
Several factors play into this market shortage. There are only 28 veterinary schools in the United States, so the numbers of new graduates is limited. Of the practicing veterinarians today, fully one-third are baby boomers who are expected to retire within the next 10-15 years. Those demographics combined with the increased number of pets have created a shortage of care. In addition, many rural areas are also experiencing shortages of veterinarians who care for livestock, farm animals and other large animals.
Resume summary example: bird’s eye view
The summary section is the one element in your veterinarian resume where the structure is loose enough for you to show off your love for animals. Your goal is to give an overview of your career while showing off your passion and knowledge.
You have about 100 words to show that you are a great fit for the practice you are applying to. Go whole hog here and explain why you became a vet. Then highlight the very best of your career. Use strong words to describe your approach with animal owners and your expertise.
You will find a veterinarian resume example summary below.
Dedicated and experienced veterinarian with over five years of experience working with canines and felines to properly diagnose, treat, and support their health. Adept in educating pet owners about proper care and healthy lifestyles for their pets. Bringing forth a passion for animals and their rights. Experienced in working collaboratively with a team of veterinary professionals to ensure the highest level of customer care.
Employment history CV sample: crow a little
You want your prospective employer to see the best of you, and the employment history section of your veterinarian CV is no exception. That means that instead of listing all the responsibilities you had at your last job, you need to think of each bullet item as evidence of your excellence.
Highlight a different skill with each item to give a well-rounded impression of your talents. You don’t just work with animals, but with their owners. You must keep careful records and constantly refresh your medical knowledge.
Use the STAR method to compile your bullet items. Start with the situation. Then, describe your task. Relate the action you took to solve the problem and the results you achieved.
You will find a veterinarian employment history resume sample below.
- Carefully examined and treated all patients appropriately and according to best practices.
- Conducted thorough diagnostic tests and immunizations.
- Treated and medicated animals suffering from disease, injury, and infection.
- Carefully monitored the care and progress of patients.
- Communicated the condition of patients to pet owners in a clear and concise way.
- Created detailed recovery plans for patients.
- Advised owners about proper care practices, feeding, and immunizing their pets.
CV skills example: a breed apart
Your skills CV section is a quick way for recruiters to discover whether you have the right attributes for the job and set yourself apart from the pack. It also gives them insight into what you think are the key skills you have. It is among the first things they will look at, and may go no further if they don’t see what they are looking for. That’s what makes personalizing this CV section so important.
Choose your top 4-7 skills, but don’t lean too heavily toward one area. Use examples of your medical knowledge, people (and animal) skills and administrative abilities. Double-check the job listing to make sure you’re optimizing for the ATS and listing the attributes your prospective employer seeks.
You will find a skills resume sample below.
- Knowledge of Canines
- Diagnostic Skills
- Effective Treatment Plans
- Strong Communication Skills
- Advanced Analytical Thinking Skills
Veterinarian resume education example
Just getting into veterinary school is an achievement. Schools receive many more applications than there are spots for students, data from the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges shows. If you are newly graduated, you should consider lifting the education section above your work history section. Add your GPA if it was above 3.0.
Otherwise, leave it at the bottom since your experience speaks more loudly than your degree. Simply list all degrees and certifications here. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well.
See resume example for an education section below.
- 2014 Ohio State University, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Columbus, OH
- 2010-2014 Manhattan College, Bachelor of Biology NY, NY
Resume layout and design: best in show
A great resume design puts the finishing touches on your job application by making a first impression that entices hiring managers to read your document thoroughly. What image do you want to present to your prospective employer? You’re a medical professional so try to project cleanliness, organization and friendly efficiency.
Here are some pointers for accomplishing that:
- Align text and leave ample margins for a clean look.
- Maintain a professional image by avoiding all but a small splash of color (if you must use color)
- Draw attention to your contact information and section headings by using different fonts for them and your body text
- Try out our expertly-designed layouts to avoid formatting errors and make a great first visual impression.
A great layout and design speak volumes about your experience and professionalism. If you haven't yet mastered graphic design software – or just want to save a little time – consider using an expertly-designed resume template.
Key takeaways for a veterinarian resume
- Veterinarians need expert medical knowledge, compassion, communication skills and administrative talents. Try to show you have them all.
- Your career is in high demand, so create a job application that opens the right door.
- Target each CV to the job you seek. Not all employers or environments are the same, so your resume shouldn’t be either.
- Check out our veterinarian resume sample for more ideas on creating a great header section.