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Old 05-05-2012, 06:38 PM
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Xandra Xandra is offline
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Default Applying as a veterinary assistant--need help!

I'm applying as a veterinary assistant but I honestly don't have a lot of experience--I've had like... one job before and it had nothing to do with animals.

The ad says that while VOA is an asset, they will train the right person. I thought to make myself more attractive I would offer to do some volunteer hours as well (I have the entire month off and I don't mind putting in extra hours at all).

However I still want paid hours and I don't think I'll be putting in volunteer hours forever (especially when schools starts up).

How should I phrase what I'm offering?

(and any other tips you have? I really want the job!)
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:42 AM
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Offer to shadow the vet, because the word 'volunteer' conjures up all sorts of liability issues with many vets, where as with 'shadow' it's clear you just want to observe (even if that's not what you want to do) from a legal standpoint, so if you get bitten or whatever, it's not their fault if it's brought upon by your own actions. It's a PITA, especially if you shadow a vet that takes the shadowing thing seriously (AKA hands off of everything), but well, at least you get the coveted experience to defeat the Catch 22 of applying for a vet tech/asst job. This is the path that most people take from my experience.

The other option is to apply as a kennel tech (this is the path I took) and try to learn stuff whenever you have a break and not sit in the back talking to people. I would scarf down food in 15 minutes or so then spend the other 45 of my lunch break hanging out in the front part of the clinic, looking for someone who was doing something that I didn't know how to do. I came in on a few Saturdays that I was off as well. Eventually one day my name was in the 'treatment' column instead of the 'kennels' column for that week and I went from there. It's a bit frustrating trying to do, essentially, two jobs at once (the kennel job that you're paid for and the job that you actually want) but hey, at least you're getting paid.

Oh and as to being the 'right person', just be personable. Interact with clients (and the patients, of course) well if given the chance, talk to people during procedures, and show a general interest in the profession (which I assume you already have). If you want to bone up on some veterinary topics to talk about, you can try dvm360 or FullyVetted (formerly Dolittler). Some vets are impressed by knowledge of the field beyond the clinic, some just wonder 'why is she talking about this?', so just kind of gauge the situation. If nothing else, it can help you flesh out interview answers.

But yah, anyone can be trained to be a veterinary assistant. Can't train a personality though, so they just want to see that you play well with others. Oh and hopping to clean a dirty cage without being directed is always a way to earn brownie points.
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Last edited by GlassOnion; 05-10-2012 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
The other option is to apply as a kennel tech (this is the path I took) and try to learn stuff whenever you have a break and not sit in the back talking to people. I would scarf down food in 15 minutes or so then spend the other 45 of my lunch break hanging out in the front part of the clinic, looking for someone who was doing something that I didn't know how to do. I came in on a few Saturdays that I was off as well. Eventually one day my name was in the 'treatment' column instead of the 'kennels' column for that week and I went from there. It's a bit frustrating trying to do, essentially, two jobs at once (the kennel job that you're paid for and the job that you actually want) but hey, at least you're getting paid.
That's the route I took, too. Started off as a kennel tech in highschool while expressing interesting in the veterinary field. Now that I'm a senior in college and can work full time (and they know how wonderful I am LOL) they've started training me as a tech/assistant on the vet side of things. Goal is to have me be doing vaccines, wellness check ups, interacting with clients, blood draws, etc. by the end of the summer. I graduate with my BS in Animal Science this winter, then will likely pursue tech school, hopefully focusing on the Veterinary Behavior Technician side of things, as that is what my real passion is. People take what their veterinarian says seriously, and I think if more vet clinics were knowledgeable about training/behavior and offered consultations or "new puppy classes" that would really benefit people, especially knowing how the dogs health plays a role in their behavior or vice versa.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:12 AM
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Hey hey GO returns and he's in my thread! I'm flattered

Thanks guys, I did the interview on Tuesday but I'm not sure it went well (they haven't called back anyways). It was pretty underwhelming actually, I was all pumped up for answering questions that demonstrated my veterinary knowledge, he just asked me about my previous job, why I thought I was qualified, told me that animals die and that I'll be cleaning fluids and excrement.

He said they had SOOOO many applicants but they interviewed me first because of my obvious interest in animals (I got a call the morning my resume was submitted). I dunno what to make of that lol.

To tell you the truth if they don't call back, I'm not crushed. The clinic was tiny, they don't even have animals hospitalized all the time, and the only shift he wanted me to work was like 9-1 on Saturdays and apparently they don't even do anything cool on Saturdays anyways.

Thanks for the help! I'll probably try applying other clinics and will apply your tips then. Also am going to volunteer at the (human) hospital because I have a single reference and nobody likes that lol
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:00 AM
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Haha that sounds pretty typical for an interview. I know, I always expected their questions to be all veterinary related.... but no, they use the same interview questions that every other field uses. In my experience they usually follow up with a working interview so that they can get the bigger picture about you.

And let me tell you, Saturdays can be crazy lol. They usually look harmless because the clinic is only open a few hours, and they don't do surgeries or whatnot... but Saturdays are when you get people calling in all day saying "MY DOG HAS BEEN DYING FOR 4 DAYS. I NEED TO BRING HIM IN RIGHT NOW." And, most clinics will squeeze them in instead of sending them to an emergency clinic. You are essentially fitting a 12 hour day into only a 4 hour timeframe. I really hate working Saturdays lol.

I'd apply other places, even if they don't advertise they're hiring, and see what doors open up.
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