Veterinarian resume
Dr. Erica Thiel
Words by:
Erica Thiel, DVM — Area Clinical Lead

Veterinary Resumes

According to eye tracking research by Ladders, an employer only takes an average of 7 seconds to look at a resume before deciding if the candidate should move forward in the hiring process. Given this brevity, it is important to have an attractive, well-crafted veterinary resume that will make them want to put your resume in the “move forward” pile.

As veterinarians, we are often hard-working, high achieving, and competitive. While it may seem like listing all your career accomplishments would be needed to land you a job, a long-winded resume will likely have the opposite effect. Focus on what makes you unique and sets you apart from the rest.


Here are the 7 key sections you should have in your resume:

1. Professional Summary

  • A.k.a. the “Objective” or “About Me” section.
  • This section should state clearly and succinctly who you are, what type of position you are seeking, and why you are seeking that position.

2.  Education and Qualifications

  • This section of the resume will differ depending on how far out of veterinary school you are.
  • For more seasoned veterinarians, it should be short and sweet as your accomplishments in veterinary school are now not as relevant as your in-the-field experience. Keep it simple with the names of the schools (both veterinary and undergraduate) you attended, degrees you received, and the years you received them.
  • For new graduates, this will be a meatier section than that of your work experience. Include all the previous information noted for the seasoned veterinarians with the addition of awards you have received, leadership positions you held, and any preceptorships or internships you have done.

3. Work Experience

  • This section will also differ depending on how far out of veterinary school you are.
  • If you are a brand new graduate seeking your first official veterinarian position, list any work experiences that are relevant to the veterinary field. This could include positions such as: receptionist at a veterinary clinic, kennel worker at a shelter, and more.
  • List the following:
    • Where you worked
    • What your title was
    • The years you worked there
    • Brief description of what your duties included
  • If veterinary medicine is your second career, you could briefly include the most recent job associated with a previous career as this may speak to some skills that might apply to the profession (leadership, project management, sales, etc.)
  • For everyone else, list every veterinarian position you have held, including the clinic or company name, your title, the years you worked there, and a bulleted list (try to keep to three to five) of your duties or achievements in this position. Avoid just simply stating things that essentially every veterinarian does. Instead, focus on specific duties or achievements that make you stand out, or use buzzwords when describing your duties to help show how valuable you are.
    • Example: Instead of “Provided client education” try “Empowered clients to make health decisions for their pets by educating them on the benefits and importance of annual screens.”
  • Make sure to not list too many non-veterinary related job experience if your resume is becoming lengthy (over 2 pages) UNLESS there is relevance to that work experience you think will elevate you over other candidates.

4. Extracurriculars and Volunteer Work

  • Like the “Work Experience” section, list any extracurricular activities and/or volunteer work you participate(d) in along with a description of what your responsibilities are/were. Even if these experiences are not necessarily veterinary or even animal related, they can demonstrate your proficiency in other key skills they are looking for such as communication, leadership, and conflict resolution.

5. Certifications and Licenses

  • This is straightforward – list the states you are licensed in, if you have your own DEA license (do not list your license number), and any relevant certifications (like Fear Free, ABVP, USDA Accreditation, etc.).

6. Key Skills and Competencies

  • This should be a bulleted list with each bullet only consisting of a few words.
  • Include clinical (surgery, abdominal ultrasound), technical (veterinary software and laboratory equipment you are skilled at using), and soft skills (communication, mentorship).

7. References

  • If you have a list of references you want to include, absolutely do so. References should not be relatives. They can be a mix of people you have worked with and people who you may not have worked with but know you outside of the veterinary field if they can speak to your soft skills (such as communication, teamwork, and creativity).
    • An ideal list of references should include 1-2 veterinarians, 1 paraprofessional staff (technician, veterinary assistant, etc.), +/- a non-veterinary person.
  • If you do not want to list references, simply write “References provided upon request.”

The dos and don’ts of creating your resume:

  • DO carefully read through each individual job posting you are applying for to note the specific things they are looking for in a candidate. The skills and qualities they list may differ from what others are looking for. Which leads to . . .
  • DON’T take a “one size fits all” approach. Depending on what the employer is specifically looking for, edit your resume to reflect that. I recommend saving several copies of your resume that are each slightly different from one another.
  • DO ask permission to list someone as a reference before doing so and ask their preferred method of contact.
  • DON’T have spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • DO use a resume template (such as those found in Word) but DON’T use one with a design that is too eclectic or hard on the eyes. You don’t want to distract from the content of your resume. And DON’T use fancy, hard-to-read fonts.
  • DO consider having a trusted friend or colleague look over your resume.
  • DO make sure to consistently update your resume. DON’T wait until you are actively looking for a new opportunity to try to remember accomplishments and skills gained over months or years.

Parting Thoughts

In conclusion, your resume is your chance to show off how incredible you are and can open doors to so many opportunities in your career. Take the time to make sure it accurately and effectively represents the veterinarian, and person, you are!