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Episode #323 – Two Major (and Overlooked) Factors in Animal Health Career and Veterinary Career Success

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #323 - Two Major (and Overlooked) Factors in Animal Health Career and Veterinary Career Success

Caleb: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, 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.

Today, we’ll be talking about two major and often overlooked factors in Animal Health Career and Veterinary career success. Welcome, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Caleb. As always, I’m glad to be here with you today.

Caleb: Stacy, what prompted you to tackle this topic today?

Stacy: I often speak with Veterinary students or new veterinarian graduates about their career, and I’ve noticed that there are some aspects of career success that some new veterinarians seem to overlook. This is not surprising, of course, because they’re just starting out in the workforce, so they don’t have a lot of experience. However, this is part of what makes my job so fulfilling, which is the opportunity to help professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession to be more successful and reach their goals.

Caleb: So . . . what are the two major and overlooked factors that we’ll be discussing today?

Stacy: Well, not to give the secret away—although it’s not really a secret—the two factors are providing a positive experience and solving problems.

Caleb: We’ve discussed those before on the podcast, correct?

Stacy: Yes, we have, during separate episodes. I don’t believe that we’ve ever addressed them together on the same episode, which is what we’ll be doing today.

Caleb: Stacy, correct me if I’m wrong, but providing a positive experience for other people has to do with personal branding. Is that right?

Stacy: That right. Providing a positive experience is at the heart of personal branding. In today’s modern workforce, where interactions extend beyond face-to-face encounters to phone calls, Zoom calls, and even text messages, every interaction contributes to how you’re perceived.

And there are three aspects of providing a positive experience that I’d like to explore today.

Caleb: What might those be Stacy?

Stacy: Those three aspects are effective communication, compassion, empathy, and building trust. These are integral components of creating positive experiences.

Caleb: Okay, great! Let’s dive into each of these, starting with effective communication. How does communication play a crucial role in creating positive experiences in Veterinary medicine?

Stacy: Communication is the cornerstone of positive experiences, including in the Veterinary profession. While mastering medical terminology is important, equally crucial is the ability to convey complex information in a clear and understandable manner. Pet owners rely on veterinarians to translate intricate medical details into language they can comprehend.

Caleb: What can Veterinary students do to improve in this area, before they even graduate?

Stacy: So, as a Veterinary student, it’s crucial to practice and refine your communication skills through role-playing scenarios, discussions with clients about diagnoses, treatment plans, and potential outcomes.

Caleb: Excellent advice. Now, the second aspect you mentioned is compassion and empathy. How do these qualities contribute to a positive experience in Veterinary medicine?

Stacy: As you probably know, Veterinary medicine is inherently linked to emotions, as animals are often considered cherished family members. Developing a strong sense of compassion and empathy is essential for creating positive experiences. Clients appreciate veterinarians who understand the emotional bond they share with their pets and can navigate difficult situations with sensitivity. As a Veterinary student, cultivating the ability to empathize with pet owners’ concerns and emotions is critical.

Caleb: That makes sense. Empathy and compassion indeed play a significant role, especially in a field so closely tied to emotions. Now, let’s touch on the third aspect, which is building trust. Why is trust so fundamental in the Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Trust is the foundation of any successful Veterinary practice. Clients entrust their beloved pets to our care, and building that sense of trust requires consistent, reliable, and compassionate service. Transparency about treatment options, costs, and potential outcomes is key. Establishing trust involves not just technical competence, but it also involves reliability, honesty, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of animals.

Caleb: Stacy, we’ve been discussing veterinarians providing a positive experience for pet owners, which are their customers. However, what about providing a positive experience for everyone else, including their colleagues and co-workers. Is that equally important?

Stacy: That is a great question, and yes, that is important in terms of Veterinary career success. You should always be striving to provide a positive experience for everyone. The Veterinary profession is a small one and some newly graduated veterinarians don’t realize that when first starting out in their career.

If you only prioritize pet owners, customers, and clients and neglect everyone else, that can have a negative impact on your job and your career. That experience should include everything that we’ve discussed to this point and also everything else that could be categorized as positive.

Caleb: What other ways can Veterinary students, veterinarians, or just about anyone else provide a positive experience and brand themselves positively?

Stacy: There are many other ways, some of which we’ve discussed previously on the podcast, but I’ll list a few of the major ones.

There is being authentic, which is very important. People resonate with genuine individuals. Share your true self, be open about your values, and admit your imperfections. Authenticity builds trust, which we just touched upon, and trust is the cornerstone of any positive relationship.

In addition, there’s being positive. Positivity is contagious. This means infusing a positive tone into your interactions, both online and offline. People are more likely to remember and engage with someone who exudes optimism and encouragement.

Third is being consistently reliable. Once again, reliability is a cornerstone of trust. Consistently delivering on promises and meeting expectations contributes to a positive personal brand. It establishes you as someone others can depend on.

Caleb: It seems like trust is the “brass ring” of providing a positive experience and of personal branding.

Stacy: Yes, that would be accurate to say. Everything leads to trust.

Caleb: What are some other ways to provide a positive experience for others?

Stacy: Another way is cultivating emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions while empathizing with others. In the realm of personal branding, this skill is very valuable. It allows you to navigate interactions with grace, even in challenging situations.

Another one that people don’t often think of is celebrating others. Being genuinely happy for others not only fosters a positive community but also reflects well on your character. It builds a reputation for being a supportive and collaborative individual.

And finally, making a concerted effort to invest in relationships is another way to provide a positive experience in your Animal Health or Veterinary career. This is at the heart of personal branding. So, invest time in getting to know others, understanding their needs, and finding ways to support them. Positive personal branding is often a reciprocal process.

Caleb: These are all great points, Stacy. I have another question. I know that we’re focusing on Veterinary students and the Veterinary profession, but all of this applies to people who are working in the Animal Health industry, as well, correct?

Stacy: That’s correct. The elements of personal branding are the same across industries and professions, although the specific ways in which they’re applied can differ. People who work in the Animal Health industry may not deal with pet owners, but they still deal with clients and customers; both internal customers and external customers. Just about anyone who works in any job has to deal with other people in one way or another, and one of the best ways to be successful is to provide positive experiences for those people. In fact, just the other day I was talking with one of our clients who was considering a highly qualified candidate for a position in their organization. However, our client said the person had a reputation of being cranky and unfriendly and that gave her pause about considering the person. So here we have a highly qualified candidate who rubs people the wrong way and that is causing some pause with a hiring manager who would want to hire her otherwise. So how we make people feel is important. Most people don’t want to work with a cranky or unfriendly person.

Caleb: Once again, that all makes sense. Now, let’s shift gears and talk about the second critical factor—solving problems. Why is problem-solving so vital for veterinarians, and how can Veterinary students develop this skill?

Stacy: Problem-solving is one of the most important types of value you can provide for an employer in any industry. One again, there are three components of this particular factor that I want to discuss. In Veterinary medicine, situations demanding critical thinking, adaptability, and collaboration are necessary.

Caleb: Okay, let’s start with critical thinking. Why is that so important to problem solving within the Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Developing strong critical thinking skills is crucial for navigating the complexities of diagnosis and treatment. Veterinary students can refine these skills through case studies, problem-based learning exercises, and applying their knowledge in real-world situations.

Caleb: Absolutely, critical thinking is a key component of effective problem-solving. What about adaptability? How does the ability to adapt to changing circumstances contribute to successful problem-solving in Veterinary medicine?

Stacy: The ability to adapt is a hallmark of a successful veterinarian. Veterinary students should embrace opportunities that push them out of their comfort zones, whether it’s working with a diverse range of species or handling unexpected complications that come up. Cultivating a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability is crucial. Staying informed about advancements in Veterinary medicine, attending workshops, and seeking mentors who can provide guidance based on their experiences are all valuable.

Caleb: I can see how adaptability is a valuable skill, especially in a field where every case is unique and can present unexpected challenges. Now, the third aspect of problem-solving that you mentioned is collaborative problem-solving. How does collaboration contribute to effective problem-solving in Veterinary medicine?

Stacy: Success in the field is rarely a solitary endeavor; it’s a collective effort that requires effective communication and collaboration. The ability to work with other Veterinary professionals, support staff, and even clients is critical for solving complex problems. Veterinary students can enhance their collaborative problem-solving abilities by actively participating in group projects, engaging in team-based learning, and observing how experienced veterinarians collaborate to address complex cases.

Caleb: Stacy, how else can Veterinary students and veterinarians’ brand themselves as problem solvers, both in the workplace and also in their Animal Health or Veterinary career?

Stacy: Great question. The first step is self-awareness and skill assessment. You must understand your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Conduct a thorough self-assessment to identify the skills and competencies that make you well-suited to tackle challenges in the field. This might include technical skills, analytical abilities, creativity, or strong communication skills.

Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement allows you to target your personal and professional development efforts effectively. I recommend, of course, adopting a growth mindset, recognizing the importance of continuous learning and education.

A problem solver is someone who is adaptable and can apply a diverse set of skills to various challenges. This adaptability comes from a commitment to lifelong learning and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone.

Caleb: Stacy, you’ve mentioned adaptability multiple times today. It seems to me that resilience is also central to providing a positive experience, personal branding, and solving problems. Can you talk about that, too?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely, and that is another great question!

When facing adversity, those who exhibit resilience inspire and uplift those around them. By maintaining a positive attitude in the face of setbacks, individuals create a supportive environment, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared determination among their peers.

And in terms of personal branding, resilience is a key differentiator. A person’s ability to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and adapt to changing circumstances enhances their reputation and credibility. Individuals who demonstrate resilience are perceived as reliable and trustworthy, essential elements of a strong personal brand. Consistently overcoming obstacles showcases a commitment to growth and improvement, reinforcing the narrative of a resilient and determined individual.

And of course, resilience is a cornerstone of effective problem-solving. The ability to adapt and find solutions in the face of adversity is critical. Resilient individuals approach challenges with a mindset that views obstacles as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable barriers. This approach not only facilitates the resolution of immediate issues, but it also contributes to long-term success by instilling a proactive problem-solving mindset.

Caleb: Thank you, Stacy, that definitely answers my question. As we wrap up, what advice do you have for Veterinary students as they prepare to enter the workforce?

Stacy: As Veterinary students prepare for their Veterinary career, it’s essential to recognize that success extends beyond mastering medical knowledge. Focus on providing a positive experience with everyone you encounter and hone your problem-solving skills—both individually and collaboratively. By doing so, you not only accelerate your career growth but also contribute to the success and satisfaction you derive from it. Don’t burn bridges and make sure you leave everyone with a positive experience. This helps brand yourself in a positive way. The veterinary profession is small, and you want to start off your career on the right foot and build a positive reputation and be well regarded. You never know where you might see someone again so leave people in a better place than you found them and that means everyone you encounter in your career.

Caleb: Stacy, before we close today’s podcast episode, how can members of our listening audience contact you?

Stacy: You can visit The VET Recruiter website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. I would recommend navigating to the “Contact Us” section in the main navigation.  You can send us your resume and fill out a profile on our site to be kept in mind for opportunities.

Caleb: For Animal Health companies and Veterinary practices who need to hire top talent be sure to connect with Stacy Pursell at The VET Recruiter. Stacy has placed more Animal Health professionals and more veterinarians than any other recruiter in the United States. Stacy has been placing Animal Health and Veterinary professionals since 1997 and was the first recruiter in the United States to specialize in recruiting in Animal Health and Veterinary Medicine. She is someone you want to get to know.

Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about these major factors for Animal Health and Veterinary career success.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure, Caleb and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

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