Write your CV and go for an interview – 14 top tips

The CV your write for yourself is often your only initial opportunity to make a good impression to a potential employer, helping you stand out from the crowd. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to spend time and effort on the content and presentation.

Posted: 10 October 2019

Write your CV and go for an interview – 14 top tips

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Be as concise and accurate as you can, and highlight your skills, expertise and value. Write it specifically for the job you are applying for and don’t forget to include your qualifications and experience which are most suited to this particular job. Here are our 14 top tips to writing a great CV.

Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)

  1. Keep it short – limit your CV to one or two pages. Make sure it’s designed to sell your relevant skills and experiences to a specific employer. It needs to be concise, so list your previous job titles, company names, relevant education, dates and keywords. You don’t want to give the impression that you think every little detail is important.

  2. Stay focused – concentrate on writing about your skills and previous clinical experience. Any unrelated experiences can be summarised in a small paragraph at the end.
  3. Beware of templates – there will be many free to use CV templates available on the internet, and they will certainly help you to get started. But beware of becoming constrained by them, as they may not be suitable for a veterinary position. Use them but make important changes where necessary.
  4. Check the formatting – don’t let yourself down by allowing sloppy formatting errors to creep in. Check carefully for any tabbing or line spacing mistakes.
  5. Forget fancy fonts – try not to go mad with fonts. You need to keep it simple and professional, otherwise you may come across as being inexperienced or immature. Keep the size readable and consistent. Exceptions are for your name and header and section titles.
  6. Don’t make visible corrections – never cross out an error and handwrite your correction, as this will just say that you don’t really care or are lazy. If there’s a mistake, correct it and re-print the CV.  
  7. Use spoken English – try not to use too many unfamiliar words which might suggest that you’re just trying to impress with a thesaurus.
  8. Send to the right person - find out the practice manager’s name and address, and in your covering letter, write specifically to this person.
  9. Find out about the practice - do your research before applying. Check their website, Facebook pages and read the “About Us” pages and learn about their vision, mission and values.
  10. User a professional email address – ¾ of all CV’s are ignored if the email address is unprofessional. Use something like yourname@gmail/yahoo.com
  11. Be honest – don’t embellish your CV. The veterinary world is a small world and it’s easy to check the information you give.
  12. Check your Facebook pages – have you revealed too much in the past? Anyone who’s been familiar with using Social Media will know the impact it can have. There will be a long history, and you may have forgotten that party where those photos were taken. Are they saying too much about you?
  13. Proofread – before sending your CV, put it away, proofread the next day, and also ask a friend to take a look.
  14. Use good quality paper – 100gms minimum, and don’t use anything coloured or textured.

The Interview

From the moment you walk through the practice door, you’ll be feeling stressed and under pressure. Making sure you stay calm. Giving a good impression relies on many factors. We’ve chosen 14 tips to help you succeed.

  1. Arrive on time – some might say “if you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late.” The bottom line is to ensure you’re not rushed, so arrive with time to spare, perhaps 15 minutes ahead of your appointment time.
  2. Talk to the receptionist and other staff – whilst the receptionist may not be the person offering you the job, it’s still important to give a good impression, as they may well be asked by the employer what the receptionist thinks.
  3. Turn off your phone – you may be conditioned to looking at your phone when you’re waiting, but at this important time, resist the temptation. Instead, take that time to look over your CV and think through what you want to say during your interview. 
  4. Keep your paperwork organised – you may be asked to bring a copy of your CV or references. To make a good impression, keep everything organised and accessible. Nothing worse than having to rummage for something in your bag.
  5. Positive words – you should speak about yourself in a positive way, but use self-promotional words with care.
  6. Smart but casual - don’t dress in an overly casual way. Look in the mirror and ask a friend before you go to check you appear smart.
  7. Shoes -wearing a pair that’s worn out or scuffed suggests you don’t care for yourself. Don’t wear white gym socks as they usually look awful.
  8. It must fit - don’t wear clothing that requires you to constantly tug or adjust. Buy something new if necessary.
  9. Makeup and hair - don’t overdo it. Less is more!
  10. Smile - be genuine. Don’t let nerves take away your smile. It’s the first thing your prospective employer will see and will make them warm to you.
  11. Ask a friend for honest advice - Don’t be afraid of some feedback. Make sure they tell the truth and choose someone who cares about you.
  12. Honesty - don’t try to bluff or fake your way through the interview. Most interviewers can tell.
  13. Don’t rush your words – talk slowly and clearly, and make sure you don’t babble.
  14. Don’t talk about…  family, problems, money, negative scenarios or health issues unless the job has been offered.

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