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Veterinary practice managers play a varied role, from managing HR responsibilities through to finance and budgets. Because of this diversity, practice management is suited to individuals with a broad range of skills and a great commercial acumen.
Not only that but practice manager jobs aren’t exclusive to those already within the veterinary industry – those with business skills from a range of backgrounds can bring valuable external knowledge to practices. Although an understanding of the veterinary industry is still important, it’s something that can be built.
To find out more about what a veterinary practice manager role entails, read our article: Have you ever considered a career as a veterinary practice manager?
If you’re ready to start applying for jobs, check out our tips below where we take a look at how you can make your CV stand out to employers, highlighting the skills they’re looking for in their next veterinary practice manager:
1. Management skills
It may seem like an obvious place to start for a practice management role, but highlighting some key management skills in your CV could really help you stand out.
It’s easy to assume your management capabilities will shine through in your previous experience – with job titles (especially managerial job titles) speaking for themselves – but employers in veterinary practice will be looking for specific management skills, so it’s worth your while making them stand out in your application.
Leadership skills – pull out examples of when you’ve led a team in a successful project or carefully mitigated team member or employee issues. Remember, HR responsibilities are often core to practice manager roles.
Communication skills – as a practice manager you will be responsible for communicating with a range of stakeholders, from surgeons at the practice through to clients and suppliers.
Being able to clearly communicate with individuals from different backgrounds and in a range of settings (for example, in a challenging conversation with a pet owner) is key to being a successful veterinary practice manager.
Influencer skills – having the ability to persuade and engage stakeholders will also be important for any practice manager role. Highlight examples where you have encouraged a team to take on your ideas or when you’ve been able to engage individuals on a project.
Influencer skills will also be important when you need to highlight to clients why veterinary recommendations are important, manage supplier relationships and work with team members.
Delegation and time management skills – with the specification for a practice manager’s role being quite broad, it’s important to remember that delegation will play a big role and, with that, time management.
Use specific examples of when you’ve worked with a team, getting all members involved and coping with a particular challenge or busy period together.
2. Marketing knowledge
A lot of practices will require their managers to also look after brand and marketing. In the digital age, that can mean taking on several responsibilities. Alternatively, some larger practices may have marketing agencies they work with.
Whether you’ll be working with third party supplier or managing marketing yourself, it’s important you highlight an awareness of the skills required in your CV.
In a recent edition of VBJ, editor James Westgate highlighted that “in the digital age we all now live in, brand management has become a core business activity. But defining what that brand is and what it stands for – especially for veterinary practices – is not as easy as it sounds…”
As a result, highlighting digital skills you may have could also play to your advantage. If you’ve managed social media accounts previously, say so.
As a part of you marketing knowledge, highlight any experience of managing reputation (a PR skill, which could be important for managing reviews and brand sentiment of your practice online).
3. Confident with budgets and revenue
As practice manager you’ll have to manage budgets and be financially savvy, so show you’re a numerate individual, confident in managing varying budgets.
Ultimately a practice manager will have to take advice and listen to the requirements of surgeons and nurses before allocating budgets across different areas, from equipment to marketing and facilities management.
However, practice managers will also be required to look at ways to maximise revenue too. Billable services to clients will, obviously, form a large proportion of the practice’s revenue, but how else can you maximise return on product sales and other revenue streams?
Highlight in your CV how you’ve managed budgets successfully in the past. Use real figures to make the examples more hard-hitting – such as: “On completion, the project saved the department £XYZ annually”.
4. Organised and confident with quality control
Many UK veterinary practices are signed up to the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon) Practice Standards Scheme and, as such, must meet certain specific criteria. Not only that, but professionals registered with the RCVS must complete a set amount of CPD hours every three years (105 hours for veterinary surgeons, 45 for nurses).
As practice manager it will be your responsibility to ensure all members of staff are complying with RCVS regulations, as well as the practice as a whole. With this in mind, being highly organised, efficient and familiar with quality control and operations management will be a big plus to potential employers.
5. Commercial awareness
Overarching the above points is commercial awareness. There are four main areas to any veterinary practice:
By showing an awareness of the importance of all these elements, you’ll be demonstrating to potential employers that you have skills across the board.
It’s worth mentioning that many veterinary surgeon jobs incorporate elements of practice management. If that's the case for the job you’re applying for, consider how to include each of the skills above and ensure commercial awareness remains a priority.
It can be difficult to pull out all the information employers really want to know about when writing your CV. Hopefully the tips above will help you to do just that.
When you’re ready to starting applying for veterinary practice manager jobs, make sure you check Vet Times Jobs' current vacancies.
To find out more about the practice management, what it entails, remuneration and the prevalence of the role in the UK, read the VBJ article: Who are the managers and what are they for?