Over the years I have, and continue to, hire a lot of people.

Due to my own personal preference I also tend to interview a lot.

I work in the veterinary profession. Which is one of those professions that many people feel they would like to try even though the reality is sometimes not all that it is cracked up to be.

The obvious extension of this is that I see a lot resumes, applications, and applicants.

Some are excellent.

Some are bad.

Some are just not right.

And some make such basic mistakes that it overshadows everything else.

So for those on a on job hunt, or starting on the career ladder, here are my top eight tips.

1: Read the job posting!

If the job posting says no phone calls, that means no phone calls.

It is not unusual for companies to receive hundreds of applications. For small businesses, receiving hundreds of phone calls checking the status of applications can be a serious burden. I know a lot of employers, myself included, who automatically disqualify applicants who call when the job posting specifically says not to. It indicates that the applicant has not read the posting or can’t follow written instructions. Don’t be that person!

If the job posting says you need a license, or some kind qualification, that is generally not negotiable. If you still think you are right for the job make sure that you address the fact that you do it have the right license / qualification in your application letter. This shows that you have read and understood the job posting. It does, of course, not guarantee that you’ll even get an interview – but it should stop automatic disqualification for not reading the posting properly.

2: Your résumé should be the right length for the information you wish to present.

There is nothing worse than a two or three page resume squeezed into one page. It is almost impossible to read. Likewise a one page resume stretched to fill two or three pages just wastes time, paper, and shows that the applicant is trying to be something they are not.

3: Fill out an application if asked.

If you are asked to fill out an application, even if you have a resume and letter of application, fill out the application! Yes, it is double work and it may not present yourself in the way you wish to be presented, but that is normally the point and it is what your potential future employer wants – so start off on the right foot.

4: Be contactable. Be professional.

Your phone number must be right, you must have voicemail, and you should check it at least daily.

The same goes for email.

Take a good long hard look at both your email address and the message you have on your voicemail. You might want a funny message on your voicemail for your friends – but potential employers will not be impressed. Likewise, if your email address can say a lot about you. But if it says any thing other than your name, it probably does not say anything good. Email addresses are generally free, so make them professional.

5: Dress for Success – what to wear to an interview.

My personal take is that you should dress at least one level above the person you are meeting. How can you tell what they will be dressed like? Look at the website! If the person interviewing you is in scrubs then business casual will be fine. If they are wearing business casual, then you should probably be wearing a tie. If they are wearing a tie you should probably be wearing a suit.

Please remember that business casual does to mean what you would wear for a night on the town.

If you have tattoos or piercings and you are prepared to take them out / cover them up for work then do so. Some employers don’t care about such things, but many do.

Flip flops, jeans, revealing attire, and aggressive piercings are all inappropriate for almost all interviews.

6: Honest is the Best Policy.

If you have things in your past that you are not too proud of, or if there are holes in your résumé, be honest about them. Being open and honest may be looked on positively. Trying to hide things or lying is always looked on badly.

7: Working Interviews

Many Veterinary practices use working interviews as a way of ensuring that new employees have the appropriate skills and are a good fit. If you are asked to take part in one, it is important to remember that this is your chance to shine. However, many practices have rules about what you can and can’t do on a working interview. It is never wrong to ask, but it can be very wrong to assume.

8: Getting Turned Down

Don’t take not getting a job personally. If you never get called for an interview for your dream job the worst thing you can do it call up and berate a potential employer. Likewise don’t be too pushy about why you haven’t heard back. A simple email thank you for the interview and the chance to meet is a simple professional way to say that you are interested without intruding on the employers timeline for hiring. It is a rare employer indeed, who looses the application and all the contact details for some one they want to hire.

Getting a job is hard. Don’t make it harder on yourself.

No employer has ever said – that person is too professional to hire.

How not to behave in an interview, courtesy of the excellent Trainspotting (Warning Very Strong Language).

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