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All posts by Lawrence O'Shea

Vet and nurse generic - Liberty Vets Recruitment

6 tips to help you ace that interview

It’s natural to be stressed before a big job interview. Avoid the trauma and panic by following these six easy to follow tips:

Prepare

Consider what questions you may be asked in advance, and rehearse your answers. Do this in the shower, in the car, in front of the mirror – whatever works best for you!

Also, think about some interesting questions you’d like to ask the employer as you will inevitably be asked if you have any questions.

Research

Research the company, the industry (if it’s new to you), and if possible, the interviewer. Use your new found

Use your new found knowledge to build rapport with the interviewer, move on to things you may have in common.

Check out the company’s website and social media channels, show how thorough you have been in your research.

Arrive on time (Early)

That’s not to say you should turn up half an hour early! Five minutes early will do just fine!

Make sure you have everything ready to go well in advance of leaving home for the interview and aim to be outside the building 15-20 minutes before your interview is scheduled to start. It’s no hardship to be sat outside in the car for 10 minutes doing some final prep, rather than sweatily dashing in without a minute to spare.

Finally, nothing says “don’t hire me” than being late. Don’t do it. There’s no excuse!

Stay Calm

Relax and stay calm during your interview. You aren’t only displaying your ability to do the job, but also fit into the team.

Try to assimilate as much as possible. Balance your behaviour with that of the interviewer. Take your lead from them.

Don’t panic and start talking a million words a minute. Listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking, and give them the response they want.

Remember that you have two ears, and only one mouth!

Demonstrate your ability and knowledge

You’ve done the prep, you can do the job and you are relaxed in the interview environment. Remember to concisely demonstrate that you HAVE done the preparation and that you CAN do the job!

Don’t sell yourself short, and show what an asset to the business you’d be!

Follow up

Drop the interviewer an email, directly or through your recruitment agent to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.

Try to do this within 24 hours of the interview.

The Takeaway

If you’ve got an interview, the chances are the employer thinks you look good “on paper”. Remember this, and be confident. Be yourself, and remember, it’s as much about you finding out about the company as it is about them finding out about you!

Good Luck!

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Is it time to refresh your CV?

When was the last time you spent a little time to refresh your CV? Last month? Last year? Ten years ago?!

With changing trends and fashions, come challenges for all of us – large and small! Not only must businesses make sure they keep up to date with the latest marketing techniques. As individuals, we too must change and adapt to the world around us. Keep up or be left behind!

Some recruitment and career commentators have suggested that it won’t be long before the traditional CV is obsolete. Replaced by LinkedIn (and others), your job history and references will soon be a living digital record. Until then, however, we should make the most of the traditional CV format until it is gone forever.

Here are a few way you can refresh your CV:

  • Demonstrate your individuality! Show what you have achieved individually which may set you apart from anyone else.
  • Don’t over complicate it! Simple fonts and layouts are the way forward here. As much as you like those more exotic fonts, they are probably best left off your CV.
  • Spell check, grammar check, fact check! Make sure everything on your CV is accurate and presented without spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Have a plan! Decide on how you are going to organise your CV and keep to it. Having a structure ensures you keep everything you need on your CV and everything unnecessary off it.
  • Keep it updated! None of the first four points will count for anything if your latest employment and achievements aren’t listed. Have an up to date CV ready to go, just in case that perfect role comes along.

Following these five steps religiously will help you prepare for any career eventuality.

If you’d like us to help you with your CV, or find you a new rolecontact us today!

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Communicating with clients

When communicating with clients, context is everything.

Last week we took a look at how technological advances can help veterinary professionals in their jobs. This week, we’ll explore the specifics of using technology to reach out to current and new clients. There are two distinct ways of doing this, with a small overlap in between.

Directly communicating with clients

Use a CRM database to help when you are communicating with clients. Your database will have your clients’ contact details which will be essential for reaching out. More than that, your CRM could be tailored to include patient history and veterinary details. When reaching out to clients to book their pet’s vaccinations, you’ll be glad of the organisation which CRM delivers so effortlessly.

Use the details from your CRM to build an email list. Use a service such as MailChimp to reach out to your clients’ general needs, or combine CRM and email to deliver bespoke and relevant content. Ultimately, your clients will appreciate any personal touch you can provide in any correspondence. Whether it be their pet’s name, birthday or just a due checkup – it gives off a professional impression of your practice.

Socially communicating with clients

I briefly touched on social media in my last post – and it’s making a comeback again today. Ultimately, if you refuse to embrace social media, you will only be hindering your practice’s business prospects.

You can use social media to reach out to new people and existing clients. Use the community and group features on Facebook to build a rapport with your target audience and potential clients. Utilise the microblogging Twitter platform to keep people updated with the latest goings-on at your practice. Post pictures of your staff and patients on Instagram – I’ve said it before, who doesn’t love cute animal pictures!?

The solution?

Ultimately, what is good for one practice may not be good for all.

All businesses have their own branding, and the veterinary sector is no different. It’s just always worth asking if you are making the most of your client correspondence.

 

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Harnessing veterinary technology

As a vet or veterinary nurse, you will have no doubt noticed the technological sea change in the industry. Veterinary technology waits for no vet, and without keeping a finger on the pulse of technical innovation, being left behind can be a real worry. Before you get too disheartened, read the below to see how technical innovations could help you grow your practice and move up the veterinary career ladder.

When approaching something as nebulous as industry technology, discipline is required. As a result, we’ve broken veterinary technology into three chunks. Tools are the practical uses of technology in a surgical environment. Client communication covers ways to optimise all inbound and outbound correspondence. Personal Development straddles everything from career guidance to communities. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll feel enthused about the real-life benefits of veterinary technology.

Tools

Veterinary technology has a place at the forefront of any surgical environment. From simple illumination solutions to advanced imaging and visualisation, there are practical benefits to tech in any theatre situation. Digital radiography is increasingly featuring in a new surge of technological advance providing surgeries with cost-effective in-house imaging solutions.

The practical benefit of veterinary technology isn’t limited to the operating theatre.

As a surgery grows, organising patient records becomes a priority, a robust database containing medical and vaccination histories becomes essential. As does the need to use this database to strategically communicate with your clients.

Client Communication

It is an excellent practice to build a CRM solution into your patient database. A customer relationship database is a practical use of veterinary technology to make your practice run smoothly. Scheduling visits, confirming appointments and reminding clients of their pets outstanding vaccinations by email are all clear benefits of a CRM solution.

Develop a simple and effective web presence. Starting with a website, show your potential clients where to find you and outline the services you offer. Present a brand which clients will buy into as their one-stop shop for pet care. Managed correctly, your website can be a source of new business.

Dovetail your website with a presence on social media. Facebook and Twitter (for example) are easy to use and frequented by most potential clients. Everybody loves pictures of cute animals (obtain the client’s permission) and animal memes. Its an easy win for any veterinary practice. Social media also obviously has the benefit of being ‘social’. Find new clients and build relationships with local businesses and individuals to drum up conversation and business.

Developing these skills in communication will benefit you and your business.

Personal Development

Perhaps the greatest personal benefit of veterinary technology is continuing personal development. Similar to the business benefits of the online community mentioned above, there are substantial educational benefits. Social media provides an informal space for discussions to take place. Facebook Groups are one such example of an informal, free-form place to garner wisdom.

Further to these informal spaces, are some purpose built, dedicated communities. Spaces such as Pet Professionals, VN Online and VetNurse.co.uk provide a professional online forum to discuss all things veterinary.

Another way to use veterinary technology for your personal development is to read blogs – much like this one! There is an abundance of industry journalism on the web. From the blogging exploits of an RVN to the formalised and technical reporting of Vet Times.

More overtly still, are the opportunities to study online. There are plenty of online courses available, though one must exercise caution to ensure their credibility. A good place to start for veterinary nurses is The College of Animal Welfare, which offers online learning alongside its more traditional offerings.

For those career minded veterinary professionals, there’s also a glut of career advice available. This RCVS guide is particularly generous in its advice.

Summary

There is a magnitude of ways to use veterinary technology to develop your business, career and skill. From the practical use of technology at ‘the coal face’, using tech as business support to developing your own abilities, tech has a place in your professional life. It’s not just something to think about for the future, technology is with us now. Ignore it at your peril.

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CPD: Building a better you

For some, it’s seen as tedious, inconvenient and a waste of time. CPD, or Continuing Professional Development, is not unique to the veterinary world. It is seen as a grim manifestation of the increasing ‘red-tape’ clogging up our profession. A spectre of lame bureaucratic intervention in a practical and stressful environment.

It needn’t be this way.

The Necessary

RVNs are obliged, under the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, to partake in 45 hours of CPD over any three-year period. Simply put, veterinary nurses need to make sure that at any time they can say they’ve committed 45 hours to CPD in the last three years. Broken down, that is 15 hours per year and just over one hour per month. Realistically, this is an easy box to tick.

What can be included in a registered veterinary nurse’s CPD quota?

  1. Training on the job (at your practice)
  2. Shadowing a peer of superior (at your practice or another)
  3. Attending organised lectures, seminars of courses
  4. Reading of veterinary journals or other relevant publications (keep a reading diary for evidence)
  5. Research for presentations or lectures

Considering the variety of activities which can be included, filling the 45-hour minimum requirement shouldn’t represent a challenge. CPD then becomes less about ‘ticking a box’, a more about how to make to most of one’s time.

The Immediate Benefit

Further to keeping the mind sharp and agile, CPD has the central benefit of ‘professional self-improvement’. It keeps a registered veterinary nurse at the top of their game, abreast of all of the latest developments in veterinary medicine. An RVN with a healthy attitude to CPD will be ready for any challenges headed their way.

The RCVS defines CPD as “the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skills, and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional duties throughout a veterinary nurse’s working life”. This statement is a little awkwardly put, but the sentiment is admirable.

CPD throughout a veterinary nurse’s career will open doors and bring new opportunities. These opportunities may be within general practice, education or practice management.

Formal qualifications are available to those who’d like to test themselves formally. The Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Dip AVN) is an example of such a qualification.

Most importantly, arguably, is the fact that an RVN will be more employable if they approach their CPD with dedication. This may not manifest itself as anything obvious on a CV. It will, however, be clear when the candidate has an understanding of current veterinary affairs when interviewed.

Being part of a profession which encourages and prescribes professional development is a gift. Grab it with both hands.

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