Category: Career Tips

  • How to Survive the Rollercoaster of Applying...

    How to Survive the Rollercoaster of Applying For Jobs

    Creating a sense of calm and resilience when you're trying to find a new role.

    Posted: 19/11/2022

    Read Time/Watch Time

    8 minutes

    Who should read this?

    veterinarians, vet nurses, vet techs, job seekers

    Author(s)

    Melanie Barham

    Region

    Global content

    How to survive the rollercoaster of applying for jobs

    If it’s been a while since you applied for a job, you might forget how much energy it takes. Much like dating, applying for jobs in any field is really putting yourself out there. It can be exhausting, exciting, and many other feelings in between.

    Here’s some tips to help:

    1. Budget your energy

    Remember that you might have to take time to imagine yourself in a role, craft a cover letter and customized resume, and go through interviews. This can cause us to feel quite exposed, as though we’re holding ourselves up for examination and validation. Whether you get the job or not, set aside energy to dedicate to this process. Remembering this before you begin is so important!

    2. Rally your circle of support

    You may contact your mentors etc for references, and this is a great time to rally your supporters. They know you well, and can be your cheering squad and team of reflection coaches as you prep for each stage of the job seeking process, asking you great questions that get your brain thinking. If you don’t have a circle of support, reach out to our communities or a coach as either an anonymous support or for one-on-one support from our coaches.

    3. Set aside time for reflection

    It’s important to reflect on what went well and what didn’t at each stage of the job search. What went well? What were you most proud of? What would you do differently next time? Answering these questions, and considering them independently of the outcome or feedback of others first can be helpful. Seeking feedback from successful and unsuccessful job attempts can also be incredibly helpful to help with personal growth.

    4. Avoid over-rumination

    Sometimes, getting or not getting the job has less to do with us, and more to do with the specific job. If you go down the road of self-depreciation and examining your self worth, you know you’ve overdone the reflection. My fabulous husband always says to me, “Your worth is not measured by other people’s opinions of you,” which I will share with you as well. Even if you get 0 jobs you applied for, you are still an amazing professional and there is still a need for your unique talents.

    5. Manage your expectations

    A lovely wise person told me, “It isn’t worth keeping track of how many attempts it took to get you over the high jump pole.” Ah right! We always remember the failed attempts and take them hard, but in reality, it can take a few tries before we land an amazing position. Know that despite how people tell their career stories, there’s a lot of failed applications and attempts before appearing to leap to apparent success.

    Let us know if we can help you on your career journey. You don’t have to go it alone.

    Come on the journey with Vets Stay Go Diversify

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  • Three Tips to Connect to Your Career...

    Three Tips to Connect to Your Career Purpose

    If you're questioning your next career move, follow our tips to help get you on track.

    Posted: 19/11/2022

    Read Time/Watch Time

    8 minutes

    Who should read this?

    Veterinarians, veterinary technicians/nurses, job seekers, vet professionals questioning their careers

    Author(s)

    Adrian Nelson-Pratt

    Don’t get stuck in the mud – imagine doing work that you’d love to do!

    If you’ve ridden the rollercoaster of the pandemic, don’t be surprised if you start thinking about your career path.  Maybe you’re like millions of people around the world just re-evaluating where you fit best.  When you think about work, does it make you excited or are you fearing the worse rather than a sense of opportunity?

    Don’t get stuck in the mud – imagine doing work that you’d love to do! I’m going to give you three tips to prepare for reconnecting to your career purpose.

    The great news is that professionals in the veterinary field can cross sectors easily with transferable skills, and many people actually find they rekindle their joy of practice with a few adjustments.

    Working with a coach on career vision, change and diversification might be just the thing to help you find clarity on your direction, explore options for diversification or build confidence to apply for a new role.

    Perhaps you’re worried about stigma around switching or change? Unsure of how to reinvent yourself or find work you really want to do? How about seizing the opportunity you’ve been given but not knowing where to start?

    These are my three tips for reconnecting to your career after uncertainty or change.

    Take back control
    Identify your concerns and write them down.
    What can you and what can’t you influence?
    What is actually within your control? Highlight this.
    It is normal to have many things in your sphere of concern and be able to influence some of them, however we can only control the things within our direct control. These are our mindset, our choices and our actions.

    Once you’ve established what is within your control, then you can choose your actions or more importantly in the current circumstances, you can choose your response to your concerns.

    What will I keep doing?
    What will I start doing differently?
    What will I stop doing?
    What must I learn to accept? This does not mean liking it, rather accepting and choosing a productive response.
    Being furloughed, made redundant or having your job role changed may well be a concern but not be within your control. You may have to accept it and choose a response instead. This is a common challenge that I address with my coaching clients.

    Work your values
    What are the things you hold dear, that support your beliefs, drive your intentions and describe your identity? Is your work aligned with those values?

    Maybe your employer has struggled and not treated their people well during the crisis? Has that jarred you?

    Perhaps you didn’t really feel settled or really like the work? Were you stuck in a rut and not sure how to get out?

    If so, then this is an opportunity to reframe your job or career. Try answering these questions.

    What words describe the work you’d like to do? Meaningful work that will make you feel fulfilled. What does fulfilment mean for you?
    What words describe the kind of place you want to work? What kind of culture and management style, for example?
    What would you do if you didn’t have to do the career you’ve been doing so far? You know, the dream job.
    Taking the opportunity to work on your values now, to find the purpose in your career, gives you clarity deciding your next step.

    Prepare your shop window: Resume/CV, LinkedIn, Cover letter
    When you have a secure job, it can feel like a high-risk strategy to update your CV, promote your LinkedIn profile or start networking. Good news: there are things you can do without announcing your intentions to the world.

    Build a keyword led, competency-based CV with a strong profile statement. The classic style of CV is reverse chronological – listing jobs and responsibilities. A better CV in the current market will be a skill or competency-based CV that highlights your skills by keywords. Transferable skills come first, with less emphasis on the jobs you’ve had and more on the things you can do.
    Your profile statement becomes your elevator speech. What would you say if you got in a lift with your dream employer and had 30 seconds to make a memorable first impression? That’s 100 words to talk about your skills, experience and career aspirations.
    Be a LinkedIn ‘All-Star’ profile. If you work on your CV first, this should flow from there. Check out LinkedIn help for how to build a killer LinkedIn profile that gets you noticed, but don’t forget, being findable and searchable on LinkedIn requires a keyword led approach.
    Think about your network – personal and professional. In the current situation this is almost certainly virtual. Which networking communities do you follow on LinkedIn or social media? What about the local business community, growth hub or business accelerator? Are you engaged and interactive in these communities? Do you post your own content, comment on posts and watch webinars? What could your contribution be? What would it say about you as potential employee? Make a contribution, you won’t regret it.

    We’re here to help you with any of your career development needs, so secure a FREE, no obligation Coaching Exploration with one of our coaches.

    There is a silver lining – uncertainty and change might just have given you a free pass to explore your options, reconnecting to your career.

    Come on the journey with Vets Stay Go Diversify

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    I'm looking for a new job/career path.

    I need some career support to work out what's next for me.

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  • How negotiating salary can build relationships with...

    How negotiating salary can build relationships with employees

    A case study in changing hiring practices

    Posted: 19/11/2022

    Read Time/Watch Time

    8 minutes

    Who should read this?

    employers, managers, recruiters

    Author(s)

    Melanie Barham, DVM, MBA, PMP

    How can you turn negotiating into a positive scenario?

    You’ve likely had some experience with negotiating as an employer, and I bet you remember the negative ones with a lot of emotion really clearly. Or maybe a great employee quit sometime after a quiet negotiation where they accepted your offer, leaving you wondering, “why didn’t they ask for what they wanted?”

    Employees also remember the negative negotiations as well. A market research survey completed by VSGD indicated that more than 80% of people in the vet industry would prefer to leave a job than negotiate.

    Yikes, that is NOT good news for employers in this market.

    Negotiation around salary is an incredibly sensitive topic, mainly because in western cultures, our value is often measured in dollars. Salary and compensation can be equated to how much an employee feels appreciated, seen, and valued within the workplace. The same can feel true for employers. We’re all human, and we can often feel complex emotions around people asking for money from us, or asking for it from other people. When contemplating quitting, employees often speak about a galvanizing moment in negotiations where they felt undervalued and it caused them to look elsewhere for a job.

    At the same time, you have a business to run, and need to ensure you can pay your own bills. Most of us also did not go to school to learn to negotiate!

    How can you turn negotiating into a positive scenario, keep your bottom line in the black, and not pull your hair out?

    1. Encourage employees to ask for what they want

    This may run against everything you’ve been taught about negotiating, but hear me out. I’ve coached hundreds of people to ask for what they want, and the thing is, people almost always wait too long before asking. By the time they ask, emotions and stakes are high. Why? Most of us were taught that if we keep our heads down and do good work, someone will reward us. This works in school, and in a lot of areas. But not in the workplace for the most part. You, as an employer, are also not a mind reader and you can’t know exactly what motivates your employee, and what they need right now to feel valued. Asking regularly is a starting point. If the answers aren’t forthcoming, take a look at the level of psychological safety in your relationship with the employee and in the workplace. 

    2. Encourage frequent conversations, NOT just an annual review

    Try to create opportunities for employees to speak with you regularly with small asks, and where you can provide feedback. These smaller meetings put currency in the trust and psychological safety bank account, and allow you to encourage asking for things as they occur. If you’ve never done this before, it might feel awkward. Try grabbing a coffee and bringing a notepad, or as ka few open ended questions about how things are going at work. I’d recommend quarterly as a starting point.

    3. Check your bias and your emotions

    Even as someone who encourages my team to ask me for what they want, I still sometimes get hit in the eyes with my own emotions. We all have different “upbringings” both professionally and personally, and ideas of what’s ok or not ok. I’ll often give people a list of behaviours and get them to sort them into appropriate for negotiation, and inappropriate. The list is NEVER EVER the same for two people. If an ask comes to you and seems impertinent, ungrateful, or any other negative word, take some time. What’s at the heart of this feeling for you? Can you explore why the employee may feel this is the right thing to ask for with some open ended questions? Remember that the employee in 99% of cases has screwed up their courage to come ask for something from you, even if their delivery wasn’t perfect.

    4. Provide data, rationale, a plan

    Once you’ve explored where the employee is coming from, what their motivations are, and what means the most to them in the ask, determine what you CAN do. Providing concrete data and timelines together with a no is a lot better than a vague reason that may leave the employee wondering if they are seen and valued. See if you can make a plan to move to their goal together. Building forward together helps both parties work on a solution and maintain the relationship.

    5. Connect authentically

    It can be very humanizing to hear an employer admit, “I am feeling a bit caught off guard; can I take a second?” or “I really value you, and I want to learn more about what you’re asking me so I can help as much as I can.” Name your emotion to the employee, your intention, and ask for what you need. Maybe that’s a few days to look into whether you can grant their request. Maybe it’s a moment to grab a cup of coffee because you’re feeling flustered, but you value them and it’s your intention to hear them out. It’s ok to feel things, and it’s ok to share that with your employee so they aren’t left guessing (and likely misinterpreting). Remember that no one knows your intentions or how you’re feeling, they just see and interpret what you say, do, and your non-verbal cues. Those can so easily be mis-interpreted; don’t let that happen on such an important topic.

    Conclusion

    Do you need help with developing a plan to encourage your staff to ask for what they want, need, and what it will take to keep them, while managing your budget? We can help.

    Come on the journey with Vets Stay Go Diversify

    I need some career inspiration.

    I'm looking for a new job/career path.

    I need some career support to work out what's next for me.

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  • Thanks for not hiring me; I’ll be...

    Thanks for not hiring me; I’ll be applying again

    A case study in changing hiring practices

    Posted: 19/11/2022

    Read Time/Watch Time

    8 minutes

    Who should read this?

    employers, managers, recruiters

    Author(s)

    Melanie Barham, DVM, MBA, PMP

    Thanks for not hiring me, I'll be applying again

    Have you ever turned someone down for a job and then got an email saying, “thank you for such an amazing hiring process.  Even though I didn’t get the job, I’m going to encourage other people to apply to your organization, and I’ll apply again next time.” I DID get this email, and 2 other similar ones in the past year.  I changed our hiring practices at a workplace just before joining VSGD, and it had some pretty astounding results. Our organization generally had reasonable numbers of applicants as it was a fully remote workplace. We had 4-10 applicants in most jobs listed.  After implementing the changes below, we averaged over 30 applicants in every listing during the toughest employees market I’ve seen.  We also had a 100% increase in BIPOC applicants, and reached gender parity in applicants.  Are you curious yet what we tried? I just finished reading Ruchika Tulshyan’s amazing book, “Inclusion on Purpose.”  That book changed how I think about all aspects of the workplace and is so practical I dog eared and highlighted almost every page. The controls/context:
    • We listed our jobs in the exact same places and promoted them in the exact same way.
    • The job market got decidedly worse for employers during this time, so our results were all the proof I needed never to go back on these techniques.

    Here’s what we did:

    1. Listed salary on every job ad
    This was one of the second things I tried, and it increased our applicants in a big way, and I loved it as an employer because it took a lot of hassle out of negotiating, and I didn’t have to guess if a candidate was overqualified and would turn me down, or whether they would be insulted by my first offer.  It made it easier for us to come to a clear offer because I could speak to the range and justify placing the candidate at a certain point on the range.  I never lost a candidate of choice.
    1. Modified the job titles and job ads

    We had undergone a human resources review of our salaries, position titles and job descriptions, and adjusted the titles of our positions to reflect the actual work being done.  In some cases, we awarded a more senior title to match the level of responsibility the employee was taking on. (In a smaller organization, ensuring you have the right seniority of title is REALLY critical and an incredible flexibility that larger institutions don’t have). In the job ad, I used more action verbs and carefully reviewed the description to ensure I was accurately describing the exciting work and purpose the employee would be fulfilling.

    1. Provided a fully transparent hiring process

    Applying for a job is emotionally draining, confusing, and seems to have all kinds of hidden rules.  We took Inclusion on Purpose’s advice and evened the playing field.  We got explicit about expectations (e.g., please submit a resume and cover letter).  We let candidates know what to expect and our timelines.  Because of our structure, we ran a hiring process with grading and at least 3 interviewers.  We let candidates know this in advance. Surprise surprise, candidates came better prepared, and we got to really see them for who they were without excess nervousness. I believe in letting candidates know what to expect so strongly that we have added this to job ads in our platform

    1. Blinded resume and cover letters

    This was the very first thing I did when I joined the organization, mostly because I’d always wanted to try the technique.  I assigned a staff member to download the applications from the platform we used, and she redacted them to remove the candidate name/identifier. Then we used a grading rubric to screen the candidates.   It cut down on my admin time drastically.

    Candidates were informed that we’d be blinded during the process as part of our transparent process.

    When I compared our data to competitions prior to blinding, we interviewed more diverse candidates by a factor of 2-3 times.  This is easy to accomplish with our platform- you can add team members and assign an admin staff member to download and redact resumes/CVs.

    Conclusion

    After the results I saw first hand with this organization of more than doubling (and sometimes tripling applicants), and obtaining a far more diverse candidate pool, I’ll never go back!  And I’ll never forget getting that thank you card for NOT hiring someone.

    I’m curious to see if you have tried any of these techniques, or others that have been successful or unsuccessful?  What’s worked for you?   If you need help with your recruiting and retention strategy, get in touch.  We’d love to help.

    Come on the journey with Vets Stay Go Diversify

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    I'm looking for a new job/career path.

    I need some career support to work out what's next for me.

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  • Why Salary Transparency?

    Why Salary Transparency?

    Why listing salary is more likely to land you a candidate

    Posted: 19/11/2022

    Read Time/Watch Time

    5 minutes

    Who should read this?

    employers, managers, recruiters

    Author(s)

    Melanie Barham

    Why Salary Transparency?

    In a crowded employees market, it’s hard to stand out in a sea of job ads.  With over 20% vacancy rate (AVMA, 2021), every organization searching for a new hire wants an edge!

    We’ve given this so much thought at VSGD.  It is the top request from community members every time we’ve asked in every country when we ask “what do you want to know about a job before applying?”

    Here’s what we know about listing salaries:

     

    1. Ramp up your applicant numbers by a factor of 2-3

    In an independent market research study conducted by us in 2021-2022 in North America, we case controlled similar veterinary professional and support staff job ads in similar locations and tracked their stats.  

    “Jobs with salary range posted received anywhere from 2-3 times more applications. Job ads with salary range listed had 4-5 times more views than those without salary.”  

    I could probably stop there- those are compelling enough stats to stop anyone in their tracks.

    Particularly if you are in an area where candidates may make assumptions about salary range (rural, large animal positions, charity or not-for-profit, academia, government), listing salary dispels myths. Salary range reduces the internal struggle of whether to apply or not.  We are all about reducing barriers!  

    1. Decrease hiring hassle for employers

    When you provide a salary range, you waste less time guessing at what an applicant wants.  In a similar market research study we conducted, employers who listed salary reported less time spent on the hiring process as a whole, and experienced less stress during negotiation.  Employers were also more likely to nab their top choice candidate. 

    1. Increase diversity of applicants

    If your workplace is serious about attracting diverse candidates, listing salary is one easy way to start. In a veterinary market research survey we did in 2021 with over 100 respondents, 90% of respondents had experienced discrimination in the hiring  process, and many responses involved unfair negotiation practices.

    “One of our favourite books Inclusion on Purpose  states that salary transparency is a concrete step employers can take to close the gender and racial pay gap.”

    Listing salary is a clear signal to candidates from under-represented groups that you care about equity. You’re open enough to share the salary so everyone can start with the same information.  

     

    At Vets Stay Go Diversify, we require every listing to have a salary range, and we’re proud to have been doing this for over 2 years.  We want you as an employer to attract the right candidates, and we want candidates to find their best match with as little effort on either side as possible. 

    Whether you list with us or not, we hope you’ll join us in embracing salary transparency in job listings!  

    Get in touch to see if we can help you with your vacancies.

    Come on the journey with Vets Stay Go Diversify

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    I'm looking for a new job/career path.

    I need some career support to work out what's next for me.

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  • How to Write a Job Ad That...

    How to Write a Job Ad That Stands Out

    Here's our top tips to stand out in a sea of employers. Let your unique and amazing workplace shine through!

    Posted: 19/11/2022

    Read Time/Watch Time

    7 minutes

    Who should read this?

    employers, office managers

    Author(s)

    Melanie Barham

    Region

    Global

    How to Write a Job Ad That Stands Out

    Whew, it is tough out there right now for employers, am I right? Every veterinary magazine is stuffed with help wanted ads!

    We’ve been conducting independent market research as we piloted our recruiting methods, and below are some of the ways that are proven to help employers stand out.

    Show your values, not your equipment or your adorable town

    Job embeddedness is a term from careers research. It describes the level of commitment or depth of connection an employee feels to a workplace. When an employee or potential employee feel connected and aligned with the values of a workplace, they are many time more likely to stay, even when life is tough. Workplaces that can showcase their unique values are much more likely to attract a candidate who will feel embedded and want to stay long term.  If your clinic values that you’ve written down include “delivering high quality care”, I’m urging you to dig deeper!

    How in heaven’s name do you do that?

    Start with asking your employees these questions:

    • What makes this workplace special?
    • What makes them stay?
    • What attracted them to the clinic, or what they noticed first?

    This exercise helps themes come though! Maybe you value laughter every day, or getting every employee home on time, or being a flexible workplace.

    Let them see your personality

    Think back to the days of commercials on TV- you’d see an ad for a soft drink. The person in the ad would be having fun, and feeling so very refreshed drinking the drink, exhaling, “ahhh.”

    Marketers want us to be able to see ourselves using a product, or enjoying the benefits of a service. Job advertising is no different. Help employees picture themselves within your workplace by adding video, photos, tours of the workplace, or a personal message. Don’t be afraid to show them what it’s really like day to day. Essentially, you want to attract your ideal employee by showing your special breed of awesome that your workplace is.  This is why every job ad listed with us on our recruiting platform allows video, photos, and unlimited text.

    We love doing Interview the Boss features with workplaces for this exact reason; it’s a unique opportunity to have an intimate and personal conversation to show what it’s really like to work for you. ITBs have a 4x factor increase in candidates applying to their positions in our pilot in 2021-2022, and report higher quality candidates. With a professional facilitator to assist and tease out the best characteristics of your team, it makes connecting genuinely with candidates easier.

    Show your full offering

    Salary isn’t the whole package for employees, and while it’s an important factor, be sure to list all the perks/benefits of working for you to create a real picture of total compensation.

    Private pension/401K/RRSP matches, loan repayment programs, paid time off/vacation time, number of stat holidays, be sure to list it all. Maybe you have some fun clauses like get your birthday as a paid day off, or you always pay for lunch on Fridays. Remember that in a global market, candidates are moving all over the place, and may not know the amazing perks you offer even the other side of the same country.

    Conclusion

    If these seem overwhelming right now, or you’re fresh out of ideas, we get it. It can be tricky to find time to ponder deep things like your workplace values and craft a jaunty ad after a 12 hour day. We specialize in helping workplaces identify their unique and amazing aspects and showcasing them to attract the right people. Contact us to get help crafting an ad and showcasing your job to a larger audience.  

    Come on the journey with Vets Stay Go Diversify

    I need some career inspiration.

    I'm looking for a new job/career path.

    I need some career support to work out what's next for me.

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