Yvette: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter 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 employers 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 career returners in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello,Yvette. As always, I’m glad to be here.
Yvette: Stacy, to start us off today, what is a career returner? Is it what it sounds like?
Stacy: Yes, it is, actually, if you think that a career returner is someone who takes a break from their professional life to attend to other matters and then returns to their career at some point in the future.
Yvette: What is important about career returners in this current market? Why did you feel the need to make them a topic for our podcast today?
Stacy: Well good question and I did this for a couple of reasons. First, there is a lack of qualified candidates in the marketplace right now, especially in the Veterinary profession. From some accounts, there is only one Veterinary candidate applicant for every five job openings. If that statistic is even close to being accurate, you can see how scarce talent is within the veterinary profession.
Second, there used to be a time when having a gap on your resume was seen as a bad thing. Professionals would try to cover up that gap and avoid talking about it as much as they could during the interview. However, that is no longer the case. Much like the stigma attached to “job hopping,” there is less of a stigma attached to having a gap on your resume.
This is important because people who have been out of the workforce for a while may feel a bit intimidated about looking for a job again. They might feel as though they’re at a disadvantage or that employers are not going to consider them for their open positions. They should not feel that way. Someone who is thinking about returning to their career in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession should not let any of these negative thoughts stand in their way.
Yvette: Okay, that sounds great Stacy. Where would you like to start?
Stacy: I’d like to start on the employer side. As I mentioned a few moments ago, qualified candidates are scarce in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, more so in the Veterinary profession, where the unemployment rate is hovering right around 1% and has been for quite some time.
The first tip for employers is to not discount a candidate just because they have a gap on their resume. There are a host of reasons why someone has been out of the employment marketplace. It could be a health reason, a family reason, or both. In fact, considering current conditions in the marketplace, a qualified candidate who has been out of the market for a while has probably done so of their own volition. In other words, they made the conscious decision to leave the workforce and weren’t forced out because they were fired or because of layoffs.
Yvette: So you’re saying that an Animal Health employer or Veterinary employer should consider a candidate if they appear to have the skills and experience, but they’ve been out of the workforce for a while?
Stacy: Yes, absolutely. And employers should focus on soft skills.
Yvette: They should? Why is that Stacy?
Stacy: Because soft skills are not typically diminished as much by the passage of time. For example, if a person is excellent at communicating with others or is good with project management, those skills are more than likely not going to diminish just because they haven’t been in the workforce. They’ve probably been applying those skills to some other aspects of their life.
Yvette: That makes sense. And soft skills are in high demand these days, aren’t they?
Stacy: They’re most definitely in high demand. Let’s say you have two candidates. One has been out of the workforce for a couple of years. The other has not. The candidate who has not been out of the workforce might not have any of the soft skills that the employer wants, but the candidate who has been out of the workforce might have all or most of those skills. In such a situation, the career returner would have the edge in terms of which candidate the employer is more interested in.
Yvette: What other tips do you have for employers?
Stacy: All employers should have a training program in place for skills development. This is an important program for all employees, not just those who have been out of the workforce for any length of time. We’ve discussed this before, but most professionals including Animal Health and Veterinary professionals want the opportunity to sharpen their skills and advance their careers. They want to continue to develop and improve. So if you’re an employer, you should already be offering these types of training opportunities to your employees. This includes those who have been in the workforce and those who are now returning.
Yvette: Stacy, what about the “flip side of the coin”? What advice do you have for professionals who are returning to their career?
Stacy: I’ve already mentioned the first tip, which is not to be intimidated or afraid. That’s the surest way to sabotage your job search. Self-confidence and a high level of self-esteem are critical for any job search, but they’re especially important in a situation like this one.
The second tip is to be aggressive about your networking efforts. I’m a huge advocate of networking for every person in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, but once again, it’s even more important for career returners. And of course, when I say networking, I mean both networking online and face-to-face. First, you absolutely must have a LinkedIn account, and not only must you have an account, but you should also be active with the account. If you just set up your profile and do nothing with it, then that’s almost as bad as not having an account at all. The whole point of social media is engagement and it is important to be engaged.
Second, you should look for chances to attend events like veterinary industry tradeshows and conferences. These are great networking opportunities, as well as great educational opportunities. It’s almost like “killing two birds with one stone” from a professional point of view. You never know when networking will result in an employment opportunity or the chance to grow your career in some way.
Yvette: Stacy, does that networking also include networking with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter?
Stacy: I’m glad you asked. It certainly does! Having an experienced recruiter in your network can be extremely beneficial, especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for any length of time. That’s because recruiters have knowledge that job seekers do not. They have knowledge about the marketplace, about employers, about who is hiring, what jobs are available, about current trends, and about possible future trends. Someone who has been out of the workforce for a while and is now returning to their career could definitely put that knowledge to good use.
Yvette: What other tips do you have for career returners?
Stacy: Something else that I’m passionate about is continuous learning and education. I recommend continuing education to everyone, but especially someone who is returning to the workforce. In fact, I would recommend seeking out education and skills development before officially returning to the workforce. It’s a good idea to conduct some research about your chosen field, including what has been happening in your absence. Things can change rapidly, and the more information and knowledge you have, the better prepared you will be to position yourself for success.
Yvette: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And for those people who are returning to the workforce and to their career, there are plenty of employment opportunities on The VET Recruiter website, aren’t there?
Stacy: Yes, there are. For those listeners who want to change their current situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite them to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. We have numerous employment opportunities available on our site, and new ones are posted all the time.
Yvette: Thank you, Stacy. Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you so much for joining us today.
Stacy: It is my pleasure Yvette, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health Employment Insider!
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