How to write a veterinary nurse CV

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Curriculum Vitae for VNs

Image © Pio Si / Fotolia

Whether you’re looking for your first vet nurse job or are continually searching for locum RVN opportunities, it’s important to keep your CV up to date and fit for purpose.

In this career advice article we give our tips on how to write a veterinary nurse CV that will help demonstrate your skills and appeal to what prospective employers are looking for.

You can also download our veterinary CV template to help get you started.  

Match your skills to the job description

Create a CV that covers all your key experience and skills. Use this as a starting point when it comes to applying for different jobs.

It may seem easier to send out the same CV to each prospective employer but it could reduce your chances of getting an interview. When reading your CV, the employer will want to see how your skills fit their skills gap – so a one-size-fits-all approach won’t do the job.

A great way of tailoring your CV is by matching your skills to the job description.

Many veterinary nurse jobs will list the key responsibilities and skills they require. Dissect the job description and pull out key words that describe what the employer is looking for.

As a veterinary nurse you may have experience with a wide range of responsibilities, but it’s important to keep your CV concise. Highlight experience and skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for.

For example, does the role specifically mention emergency or out-of-hours care? If you have experience in this field, say so. Similarly, if you’ve worked in dentals, a specialist clinic, contributed towards reception duties or taken on community visits, say so if the job description highlights them.

It may just be a piece of paper, but use your CV to show your passion for veterinary nursing and animal care

It’s difficult to get across a sense of personality when it comes to writing a CV, but it’s important the employer gets a feel for the type of person you are and how you would fit into their team.

Use your professional profile (two or three sentences at the beginning of your CV, as you can see in our CV template) as an opportunity to explain why you’re applying for this job, what motivates you and the skills you feel will make a real difference to this employer.

Every veterinary nurse will have different specialisms, skills and experience – by explaining to the prospective employer what makes you stand out they’ll be able to get a fuller picture of what you could bring to their workplace.

There’s also room to briefly include some interests and hobbies. Use this space to develop how you come across in your CV and to build up a picture of your passion for animal care.

A clear layout can make all the difference

Use our CV template to create a CV with a clear, well-structured layout. With easy to read headings, bullet points and clear sentences, the employer will be able to easily navigate to the sections that interest them.

Adjust the CV template to suit you. The template is completely flexible so you’ll be able to edit it as you go along. Feel free to make certain sections more of a priority, or even add in or exclude some areas.

Explain any career breaks

It may be that you’re currently looking for a part-time role after having a brief break from the profession. On the other hand, you may be returning to the profession after having children, being made redundant, after working in another field – there are lots of possible reasons for a gap in employment history.

It is, however, important you don’t leave prospective employers guessing. Be honest but keep your explanations concise. They don’t need all the details but will want to understand why there has been a career break.

If you are returning to veterinary nursing after trying your hand at something else, explain why you want to return in your cover letter.

Include details of relevant CPD

Because every RVN is required to complete CPD, it could be easy to assume it unnecessary to explain that you have filled all your hours.

However, in 2014 an RCVS study found that nearly a quarter of veterinary nurses did not complete the mandatory number of hours. So if you have kept up with your CPD, say so – it could make you stand out against another candidate.

Similarly, think about where you allocated your CPD hours. Are any of the skills you gained relevant to this job? If you think they are, make sure you highlight them in your CV.

Be specific and to the point

Being specific is particularly important when listing your previous experience. Employers often have lots of CVs to sift through and they will want to be able to quickly glance over yours and get an understanding of what experience you have as a veterinary nurse.

State what type of practice/charity/university/other veterinary care workplace you worked in, key responsibilities and key achievements. Don’t leave the employer guessing.

Don’t forget the basics

Employers will be looking for a professional CV. Make sure you follow these simple rules:

  • Keep your CV to two pages.
  • Use a professional sounding email address. If you don’t have one, create a new email account online for free.
  • Always proofread your CV. Print it off and check for any spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  • If you are tailoring your CV, remember to pay attention to detail and check you’ve not mentioned another employer that you’re applying to.
  • Ask for someone else in the veterinary profession to read through your CV and give you some advice. Make sure you take their thoughts on board.
  • Don’t include a photo or your date of birth.
  • If you’re planning to relocate for the job you’re applying for, say so in your cover letter or CV. It may be confusing for an employer in Cornwall to see that you’re based in Manchester without any further explanation.

Start applying for vet nurse jobs...

Once you’ve downloaded our CV template and started to fill it out with your own details, you’re ready to start searching for vet nurse jobs.

You can start right now, with hundreds of live veterinary jobs on Vet Times Jobs. And if you’re not sure yet which veterinary nurse job is right for you, have a read of our advice on how to find the veterinary nurse job that’s right for you.

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