How To Get a Veterinary Externship With Me Or Really Any Veterinary Practice
Our practice receives around 200 externship requests a year. All of the resumes I see are disgustingly amazing. Everyone is way too smart, has way too much experience, has lots of volunteer experience, and has worked at a thousand different farms or clinics. You’re all amazing, but you’re all the same.
When I review resumes, I am looking for some obvious things and some more subtle things.
First, of course I’m looking for “shining stars.” Two PhD’s in bovine nutrition and reproduction or similar ridiculously good credentials…you’re going in the YES pile.
I’m also searching for clues that tell me the person is going to be engaged in the type of practice that I do. It’s really important to me that a person has worked on a beef farm, worked as a pen checker at a feedlot, is from a beef farm, or has taken advanced classes during third or fourth year classes that are beef specific.
We do accept vet students who want to end up in mixed practice or equine or dairy solely. However, I feel that I can provide the most value to the person who definitely wants to work in the beef profession.
Are you ready for the secret? The fastest way to get an externship with me is that I recognize your name.
Only about 10% or maybe 20% of people who apply for an externship have put in the effort to create a personal relationship with me ahead of time. I’m telling you now, the most sure fire way to make it into the YES pile is that I recognize your name and attach it to a positive feeling.
Last week, I was sitting with my vet tech and going through the stacks of resumes we had received. This is a perfect example of what I mean by recognizing someone’s name. This kid, Tommy, had set up a webinar with me last year at his vet school. After that event, he continued a relationship with me. He would send me emails and messages and Snaps. We had a positive relationship and a connection over a period of time. The second I saw his name, I didn’t even look at his resume. I just threw it on the YES pile and said, “Oh yeah, we gotta have Tommy out here.”
I’ve never met Tommy in person, never talked to him on the phone, but I’ve engaged with him over messages and emails. Sometimes I joke that the best way to get an externship with me is to press like and share my posts and leave comments on my videos. It’s funny, but it truly is a positive reinforcement to my brain that I’m seeing your name over and over again.
Another example is two students from Mississippi who were part of a webinar last year. They are the sweetest kids in the world and they have been Snapping me every single day for the last year of cute little things that they’re learning. Sometimes it’s embarrassing things their professors have said or the first time they neutered a dog. Now I have a connection to these kids and that is the most important thing to me, which is why I didn’t hesitate to accept them for an externship.
That’s two examples of how social media can be more important than your resume. If you’ve networked to the fullest extent, you may not even need to show your resume.
One last thing to remember about social media. When I get a resume of someone I’m interested in, the first thing I do is go to Facebook or Instagram and look at everything you’ve ever done on the internets. Yes, it’s crazy, but I do it. If I find questionable stuff, I might not hire you. That’s the negative side, but there’s certainly a huge positive side.
If I see that every single post you had was talking about the cattle industry, and you were volunteering at feedlots, and you are so jacked that you got to do your first palpation in a bull, you’re social media is sharing that story with me. I’m going to see that, even if it is retrospectively. That’s so incredibly important not only to me as a person who’s hiring, but also to you, because you need to differentiate yourself to get the job that you want.
None of this should be a surprise, it’s the oldest trick in the book, the whole “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” concept. I want to know who I am saying yes to, I want to know YOU.