Episode #122 – A Simple Blueprint for Growing Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter and search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about a blueprint for growing your Animal Health or Veterinary career. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. As always, I’m glad to be here. I was traveling last week to a veterinary conference and it’s good to be back, although is was a great conference and I was in sunny Orlando unlike the cold temperatures we are experiencing today.

Samantha: Stacy, we are glad to have you back and I know we’ve addressed this topic before, or at least we’ve addressed this topic across a series of podcast episodes. Today, though, we’re presenting what is basically a comprehensive blueprint of what an Animal Health or Veterinary professional can do to grow their career, is that correct?

Stacy: That’s right. And we’re going to discuss a number of things today, but this really is a simple blueprint. What I’ve found is that what it takes to be successful is not that complicated. A person just has to be willing to do what is necessary. If they’re not willing, then it doesn’t matter how simple the blueprint is.

Samantha: That certainly makes a lot of sense Stacy. I’m sure there are many listeners in our audience who are willing to do what is necessary to be successful and are looking forward to what you have to say. Where would you like to start today?

Stacy: I’d like to start at the beginning, of course, with updating your resume and your LinkedIn profile. Best practices for this is that you should update both your resume and your LinkedIn profile, once a quarter, or at the most, every six months. You can update it more frequently than that, if you’d like, especially following major accomplishments or other important changes.

There’s a very good reason for this. As an Animal Health or Veterinary professional, you have to be ready at a moment’s notice if someone asks for your resume. You should be able to send them a up-to-date resume almost immediately. The last thing you want to do is say that you need a few days to get your resume together. That’s not a good answer, and it’s not likely to impress the person who is asking for your resume. Have your resume ready in case an employer or recruiter reaches out to you and requests it. We call that being “resume ready”.

And don’t forget that a recruiter or hiring manager is going to check out your LinkedIn profile once they see your resume. That’s why you should update both of them at the same time. There should be no discrepancies between the two. If there are, that’s a red flag for the person who sees them. Make sure that the job posted on your LinkedIn profile is your current or most recent job and matches what is on your resume. We have had instances of an employer declining to interview a candidate because they felt they were not up-to-date with technology because their LinkedIn profile was not updated and didn’t match what was on the resume.

And actually, LinkedIn leads us to our next part of our blueprint.

Samantha: What is that?

Stacy: Networking. A professional must continue to increase their networking efforts, and they can start with LinkedIn. There are some Animal Health and Veterinary professionals who are not on LinkedIn, or they hardly use it. But you should be on LinkedIn but also not limit your networking efforts to just LinkedIn. There’s also face-to-face networking at events like trade shows, conferences and Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Industry events. An added benefit of attending these events leads us to the next part of our blueprint.

Samantha: Stacy, let me guess. Is it training and continuing education?

Stacy: Yes, it is! Continuous learning and education is a critical part of a person’s career growth. However, attending tradeshows and conferences represent just one of the ways in which to accomplish this. There are plenty of other avenues, as well. These include books, CDs, DVDs, and online webinars. A person can use a variety of different delivery methods for their continuous training and education. And really, it doesn’t matter the method, as long as the person is accumulating to their knowledge and expertise.

And as a professional in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession, there’s a good reason why you would to accumulate knowledge.

Samantha: Why is that?

Stacy: Because when you accumulate knowledge, skills, and other expertise, you’re adding to the value that you possess and could offer to your current employer or a potential new employer. Everything in the employment marketplace boils down to value. So there are two steps that you should take here. First, you must assess the value that you possess and can provide. Second, you must take steps to add to that value in a way that will advance your career.

Samantha: And as we just discussed, one of the ways to do that is through continuous education.

Stacy: That’s right! And as long as we’re discussing value and skills, let’s move to the next part of our blueprint, which involves soft skills. These are the types of skills that are highly sought after in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. These are skills that involve how well you deal with other people. We’re talking about skills such as communication, time management, negotiation, and leadership. An employer wants to hire a candidate who has a good mix of both technical skills and also soft skills.

Samantha: Stacy, it seems as though all of these items are related or connected to one another.

Stacy: They are Samantha, and that also applies to our next item, which is personal branding. Animal Health and Veterinary professionals need to focus on their personal brand as they grow their career. This includes with their current employer and not just with a potential new employer should they decide to embark upon a job search.

The key to personal branding is the experience that you provide for other people. You should think about what kind of experience that is. This includes when you interact with people on a face-to-face basis and also when you talk with them over the phone or even when you email them.

What kind of experience do you provide for your current employer? What does your boss think when they think about the experience that you provide for the organization? What could you do to improve that experience and what your employer thinks? These are the questions that you should be asking yourself about personal branding.

Now, the final three parts of our blueprint are what you could call “upper-level items.” That’s because they deal as much with how professionals should think as it does with how they should act. A person’s mindset is just as important as their actions.

Samantha: And as we discussed earlier in this episode, people have to be willing to do what’s necessary in order to be successful. Is that what you’re talking about here?

Stacy: It is. Before people can do what is necessary to be successful, they must have the proper mindset. With that mindset, they can’t take the steps they need to take.

The first part of that mindset is to be open to opportunity. After more than 20 years as an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter, I can say with certainty that people who are open to opportunity are ultimately more successful in their careers than people who are not. I’ve seen this with my own eyes and successful people in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession have told me that is the reason they have been successful is because they were open to opportunity when it was presented. They didn’t just say “no” without hearing about it. They weren’t closed to opportunity. They were open to opportunities to grow in their career. It’s important to remember that just because you’re open to opportunity and are considering a new position does NOT mean that you have to take it if you decide that it isn’t right for you.

Samantha: Stacy, why would someone not be open to opportunity? I don’t understand why someone would not be open when an opportunity was presented to them.

Stacy: There are many reasons, but one of them is the desire to be comfortable where they are. There are some people who prefer the status quo and they want to keep the status quo. However, allegiance to the status quo does not generally lead to career growth. But being open to opportunity and exploring opportunity is the path to growth.

And the next part of our blueprint is related to this, and that’s to not let fear rule your decisions.

Samantha: Does fear stop people from being open to opportunity?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many people who have allowed fear to rule important decisions regarding their career. Because of that, they did not take a chance and pursue an opportunity could have changed their life for the better. For many of them, they realized they made a mistake when it was too late and they regretted their decision. That’s the power that fear can have over people, and it’s why professionals should make a conscious effort to make sure that it doesn’t affect them in a negative way. I’ve said this before but there is an acronym I like to use for Fear and that is False, Evidence Appearing Real.

Samantha: Stacy, what role does a recruiter play in this blueprint?

Stacy: Samantha, I’m glad you asked because this subject comprises the final part of our blueprint! That’s because I believe that aligning yourself with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter is a smart and strategic move for your career. And there are a number of reasons for this.

First, they have knowledge about the job market including the “hidden job market” and about employers. Second, they have relationships with hiring managers. Because of this, they can provide advice and guidance regarding the interviewing and hiring process. Third, a recruiter can be on the lookout for your ideal job, and when they come across a position that meets your criteria, they can consider you for it and if the time is right reach out to you about it.

And having access to the kind of employment opportunities that you really want—and having access to them on a consistent basis—is a great way to grow your career.

Samantha: Stacy, thanks so much for joining us today and providing all of this great information.

Stacy: You’re very welcome, Samantha, and thank you. Once again, it’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health Employment Insider!