Your resume in its final form should be a picture of yourself on paper.
Your first step on this exciting journey that you are about to embark on is to create a picture of yourself on paper. This picture is called a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). These terms, although usually used synonymously, are not the same. Let us consider the differences. The Curriculum Vitae Handbook by Rebecca Anthony and Gerald Roe defines these two terms as follows:
So it would seem that for your first position in veterinary medicine, you should prepare a resume. Later, if you pursue a life in academia, then research or a similar endeavor, a CV will be more appropriate. If you desire, at this point, to pursue an internship and possibly a residency, then a resume will be required as well.
Your resume should include, in this order, the following about yourself.
Now that you have this information, what do you do with it? First, make a plan of your resume. You can create a format or use a form from a word processing program. Your resume should most certainly be typed and not handwritten. You also can hire someone to produce the resume for you using your information. At this point, this may not be necessary and might even be risky.
Your resume in its final form should be a picture of you on paper. It will tell a prospective employer who you are, where you have gone to school, what work you have done, what activities you have been involved in, what interests you have and who knows you well enough to attest to all of this. It will not get you a position, but it will get you in the door. Letting someone else prepare it might produce something that will not be as effective as what you could do yourself.
Next, make a draft of your resume. Here are some do's and don'ts.
It would be illegal for a prospective employer to request this information on a resume, job application or during an interview. At this stage tell, them what they need to know. Other information might come forth later, either during the interview or after you have been offered the position.
The next step will be to finalize and format your resume. Paper color will be your choice but should be a plain and pleasing color and heavy paper. Be sure to use a format that is easily read and at least an 11-point font. Use only one font. Not surprisingly, your choice in font tells a lot about you.
Make sure you have used open space and margins carefully so that the resume is not crammed and crowded. Now, print out on the best paper quality printer you have access to and look carefully to see that you have produced a clear, concise and accurate picture of what you want to convey to a prospective employer. Proof your resume carefully for the do's and don'ts, and ask others to do as well.
Make sure you have your resume on a hard or transportable disk or CD, and remember that each time you change a position, move to a new location or add another credit of course work, your resume changes. You will have numerous needs for your resume throughout your career. Be sure to keep it in a form and place where these changes can be made easily. A sample resume is included in this section (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Template for success
More than likely, you will send your resume to several prospective employers during your job search. The resume will not change that much. However, the resume should be accompanied by a cover letter that will be different with each position you apply for. The cover letter is as important, if not more important than your resume. Along with your resume, the cover letter serves to:
Your cover letter is written specifically for one position and refers to that position, its location, its requirements and duties. A cover letter should be written as a business letter with proper heading and salutation. Font, font size, paper, quality of printer formatting and care for proper grammar, word usage and spelling are as important as with the resume.
The cover letter should be written on one page and have no more than three paragraphs. These three paragraphs should be organized as follows:
The same do's and don'ts as listed under resumes apply for cover letters.
You will use your resume and cover letter to introduce yourself to the appropriate individual in that practice or institution. If you mail the resume and cover letter, make the package as attractive and as business-like as possible with no folds in a 9-inch by 12-inch envelope.
Only e-mail the resume and cover letter after your prospective employer has requested you to do so. If you use e-mail, then make sure your documents are sent as attachments and not pasted to an e-mail message, which likely will corrupt most of its formatting.
Dr. McCarthy is an internationally known, author, speaker and teacher and currently serves St. George's School of Veterinary Medicine as visiting professor of ethics and jurisprudence and special lecturer on practice management.