Episode #166 – Animal Health and Veterinary Career Advice During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #166 - Animal Health and Veterinary Career Advice During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health Industry Executive Recruiter and Veterinary 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 companies 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 Animal Health and Veterinary career advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here.  We are in some uncharted waters right now with this COVID-19 pandemic and I want to be able to help Animal Health and Veterinary professionals know what they can do to help their career during this time.

Julea: Stacy, we addressed the COVID-19 virus for the first time on our podcast in our previous episode. And as you well know, a lot has happened in the United States and around the world since then, with more infections and more action taken by different countries and by states within this country, as well. Last week, we talked about the value of video interviews for both employers and professionals to keep the interviewing process moving forward so that employers can continue to interview and hire the top talent they need. What will we will be discussing today?

Stacy: I’m going to provide some Animal Health and Veterinary career tips and advice today for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals in the marketplace, including those who are seeking new employment opportunities during this time.

Julea: Okay. Where would you like to start?

Stacy: First and foremost, I want to say that I hope everyone is doing well both personally and physically. These are not only uncertain times in this country and around the world, but they’re also challenging and troubling times on a number of levels. I also hope that everyone in the listening audience is keeping a positive mental attitude and looking forward to the better days that are ahead once we get through this.  We will get through this.

And that’s one of the pieces of advice that I’d like to discuss today.

Julea: What’s that?

Stacy: Keeping a positive mental attitude. I know that it’s tough to keep a positive attitude, even under normal circumstances, and these are definitely not normal circumstances. It seems like there’s another state going into lockdown every day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as you mentioned, more people are being infected. Not only that, but the Stock Market has also fallen quite a bit throughout this time and many employers and businesses, especially within the restaurant and hospitality industries, have begun to lay off workers, at least until the virus threat is over.

Julea: Stacy, has this all changed the dynamic of the employment marketplace?

Stacy: Yes, I would say so, especially in the short term. Prior to this pandemic, job candidates and job seekers had the leverage in a hiring situation. That’s because the employers needed the candidates more than the candidates needed the employers. We’ve talked about this candidate-driven market on quite a few episodes of our podcast, and during these episodes, we discussed the fact that those market conditions were not going to last forever. This marketplace dynamic is now changing, and it’s doing so rather swiftly. This is one of those Black Swan events that no one expected.

And that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to talk today about what Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can do during this time to help their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Julea: What other advice do you have for us today?

Stacy: Well, I shouldn’t have to say this, but obviously, everyone should be following all of the CDC’s and federal and local government’s suggestions about combatting the spread of the virus. This is especially the case for those professionals who are not able to work from home, and that applies to a great many workers in the Veterinary profession. We are “social distancing,” and it requires staying approximately six feet away from other people in public, if you’re able to do so. Unfortunately, not everyone in the country has been vigilant about social distancing, but it’s very important to take the steps that are necessary to slow the spread of this virus.

Julea: Stacy, I don’t want to get us sidetracked, but I’ve heard a lot about what are called “essential businesses.” During these lockdowns, many businesses have closed that are not deemed essential. In which category do Veterinary practices fall?

Stacy: First of all, Veterinary practices have been deemed as essential businesses. Not only that, but the Federal Drug Administration has also temporarily eased restrictions on veterinarians to allow them to use telemedicine to treat pets during the pandemic.

Julea: What does that mean, exactly?

Stacy: Now, according to the FDA, veterinarians can use a video examination to diagnose the pets and then prescribe the appropriate medicine.

Julea: That’s good news, then.

Stacy: It is good news! So there are challenges that exist in the marketplace right now, but there is also good news. I want to use that as the foundation for my Animal Health and Veterinary career advice today. And my next piece of advice is to manage your mindset, which is part of having a positive frame of mind.

The key to having a positive frame of mind is to stop focusing on events—especially current events—that are out of your control. Quit watching all of the negative news on your television and on social media. Instead, focus on the things that you can control. When you do that, you’ll be better able to cope with situations and circumstances and you’ll be better positioned for success when the pandemic is over and things return more or less to normal.

My next piece of advice is to take time to reflect.

Julea: What does that mean?

Stacy: I mean taking time to reflect on things that are related to your Animal Health or Veterinary career and your professional life. First, where you are in your career, and second, your situation with your current employer. How your employer responds to the COVID-19 pandemic could tell you a great deal about how it handles crisis situations. Hopefully, it will handle the situation well and you will be assured about your choice of employers. However, if it doesn’t, that could bring up a series of other questions.

Julea: What kind of questions are those?

Stacy: Questions like are you truly working in a supportive environment? Is your career in the hands of the right people? Are you at a point in your life where you are re-evaluating your priorities, and if that’s the case, what does that mean for your job and your career? Your answers to these questions could have a large impact on the decisions you make once this crisis is over.

Julea: That makes sense. What’s another piece of advice you have for our listening audience?

Stacy: Another piece of advice is to keep networking. Even with social distancing, you can still network. And I’ll tell you right now, this is the perfect time to maximize and optimize your LinkedIn presence. There are two things you should do in relation to your LinkedIn account. First, make sure that your profile is branding yourself the right way, the way that you want to be branded. And second, make sure that your profile is providing as much value to you and your career as possible.

Julea: As we talked about in our previous podcast episode, people can also network online through video platforms, correct?

Stacy: That’s right. As we mentioned, there are many different platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, and Webex. My personal favorite is Zoom, because it’s so easy to use. And of course, you can also use the telephone, which is what you and I are using today. I can tell you firsthand that today people are more willing to talk on the phone due to the social distancing we are all doing, because people crave social interaction.

Julea: Yes, for those of you who can’t tell, Stacy and I are conducting today’s podcast episode over the phone. We’re doing this so that we’re following the social distancing protocol. Normally we record this podcast in person in a recording studio.  We want to continue to be able to provide Animal Health and Veterinary career tips and advice to our listeners during this time.

Stacy, what other advice do you have for those listeners today?

Stacy: Another piece of advice is to look for opportunities to add to your skills.

Julea: What kind of skills are you talking about? Technical skills or soft skills?

Stacy: I’m talking more about soft skills or supplementary skills, including computer and/or software skills. For most people, their social calendar is probably light right now. In fact, I know it is. Not only that, but as we discussed earlier, many states are in lockdown mode and people aren’t leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary. If a person has more time on their hands under these conditions, this is a great time to explore online training classes and courses that can increase their value as an employee and as a professional.

Julea: Stacy, we’re just about out of time. Is there anything else that you’d like to add today?

Stacy: Yes, there is. I can not stress enough that people’s health and well-being and the health and well-being of their family and friends are very important. The coming weeks and months will be challenging for sure, but I want everyone to remember that there will be a time of recovery and restoration in the future. The key is to stay focused on that recovery, stay calm and level-headed, and prepare to move forward and make progress. And of course, we at The VET Recruiter are committed to doing whatever we can to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers and professionals continue to hire the top talent they need and continue to grow their career.

Julea: Stacy, before we wrap up today, I have a quick question. You still have clients that are interviewing and hiring even under these conditions, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right. I want to say that The VET Recruiter is open for business and we have clients who are continuing to interview and hire. Many are conducting video interviews during this time of intense social distancing. And of course, we’re taking our own advice, including some of the advice that we’ve been discussing today. We are social distancing too.

In addition to social distancing, like you and I are currently doing by talking on the phone for today’s podcast episode, we’re keeping a positive frame of mind with a hopeful expectation of a better future. We’re doing everything we can to position ourselves and prepare for that future, and we hope that our listeners are doing the same thing.

Julea: Stacy, thank you once again for all of this Animal Health and Veterinary career advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. And for those in our listening audience who are considering a job change at this time, there are still Animal Health and Veterinary employment opportunities on The VET Recruiter website, and we encourage you to check them out.

Stacy: Yes, there are. We still have clients with critical hiring needs at this time. 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 post new job opportunities on a regular basis.

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It is my pleasure Julea. It’s my hope that everyone stays safe, healthy and well.  I look forward to our next podcast episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider.