Finding your first vet job after graduation

Written by: Jordan Sinclair
Published on: 1 Mar 2018


Image © Ljupco Smokovski / Adobe Stock

Around about this time last year, many of my friends started the job search. For me, it was mostly while procrastinating and avoiding doing uni assignments when I would lazily flick through the adverts at the back of Veterinary Times without any particular intention.

However, one or two people in the year group securing their first vet jobs seems to incite panic – they’ve already been offered a job and you’ve not even looked at your CV since before vet school!

This creates a rumbling throughout the entire year group and the apprehension starts to spread. Your friends start applying for jobs, graduate schemes are mentioned and, all of a sudden, finals and graduation seem a bit too close for comfort.

Stay calm

My first piece of advice is do not panic.

Don’t let the stories get to you. Ignore everyone else and take a step back. You need to do what is right for you. The worst thing you can do is rush into applying for totally unsuitable roles and take the first job that comes along.

The most important thing to remember about job hunting is it’s time-consuming if done properly.

You may well have a quiet couple of rotations – in which case start having a browse and cobbling a CV together. But if you have night shifts, upcoming deadlines, or even your finals coming up, focus on these – and even if you haven’t, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find a job this early. Enjoy your time as a student while you can.

That said, if you are interested in specific internships or graduate programmes, keep an eye on their deadlines as they can often be much earlier than general practice roles.

Where to look

Traditionally, veterinary publications are the places to look for job adverts, but in these ever-progressing technological times, a number of other places should be considered to find job opportunities:

  • veterinary publications and their websites
  • Facebook groups
  • corporate group websites (some new graduate schemes require you to apply to the group as a whole and will then match you with an appropriate practice; others will display vacancies for individual practices on their websites)
  • check your university emails (some practices will forward ads on to the universities)
  • recruitment agencies (approach with caution)
  • internships (check individual university/practice websites)
  • the BEVA jobs board (for specifically equine roles)
  • word of mouth (contacting individual practices, offers via EMS and talking to any new graduates you know)

Recruitment agencies

A word of caution with recruitment agencies – I know some graduates who found their jobs through recruitment agencies, but, on the whole, I would be very careful. They will advertise roles without disclosing the practice name until the last minute, which makes it very difficult to contact the practice directly before interview.

As a potential employee, I found some recruitment agencies would also bombard you with unsuitable vacancies in the wrong location, despite an initial chat to gauge where and what you’re looking for.