Choosing an Academic Job over Private Practice after your Residency

Vetducator - Faculty on clinic rotation image.

I have an obvious pro-academia bias. Because of that, I am frankly sometimes confused as to why people would choose private practice. Most clinical faculty members spend 40-70% of their time on clinics. I see this as getting paid to work only 5-8 months a year. How can working a full 12-month job in private practice compare? Let’s compare the two.

Academia Private Practice
Work Week 5 days a week Variable- possibility for 3 or 4 day work week
Hours/Day On clinics: up to 12
Off clinics: as little as 4
8-12 every day you work
Total clinic hours/year 800-1,250 (40% clinics)
1,450-2,200 (70% clinics)
1,900-3,100 (5 days @ 12 hours/day)
Teaching Students, interns,
residents
Possibly interns, rarely students and residents
Research Required, easy to
do/encouraged
Not required, possible to do
Income $110-140k starting Mostly $150-250k; up to $500k for some disciplines with a crushing work schedule
Contribution to Society Helping animals & owners, training next generation Helping animals & owners

From this breakdown, the salient differences from my point of view are: number of clinic work hours, type of work done, and income.  I don’t consider my non-clinic time “work”. I will probably mentor undergrads and vet students in research even when I retire. Now, if doing teaching and research is not fun for you, so you consider it “work” on par with being on clinic duty, then academia is not for you.  Conversely, if being on clinics is not “work” for you, then private practice is a solid choice.

Most people focus on the income difference, but to me this is meaningless. Even if you have student debt, a six-figure salary is a LOT of money. You can do just fine on an academic salary. Many institutions also allow you to do locums, so you can boost your income by $10-20k easily if needed. In any event, I don’t think you need to make as much as you think you do. Obviously, you have to be selective- $100k goes a lot further in Stillwater, OK than it does in Philadelphia, PA.

Everyone needs to make a decision which is right for them and their situation. I just get so frustrated when people focus on the salary difference. I understand some people want a BMW, but I think they just need to sit and really think about what they want out of life. I think the quality of life is so much better in academia, and no amount of money will make up for that. I’m always available to talk about it, so please reach out if you are considering a life in academia.

Should You Take a Break Before an Internship?

The Vetducator - Image of vet career progression with option private practice step.

Many times, new graduates are on the fence about doing an internship versus going into private practice.  I have heard several say, “Well, maybe I will go into practice first, and then come back and do an internship.”  Although this is not impossible, it is very much the harder path.

Internships and, to a lesser extent, residencies, are designed to fit within a certain career progression.  Vet school leads to internship leads to residency. This is rarely deliberate on the part of the program supervisors, but it is a side effect of a number of differences between academia and private practice.

Letters of recommendation.  When you are a senior student, you will get letters from specialist clinicians who work with you in that context.  If you go into practice, who will write your letters? Your former faculty perhaps, but they haven’t worked with you as a veterinarian- they can only speak to your performance as a student six or more months ago.  Your boss and colleagues in practice probably don’t have much experience writing a letter of recommendation for an internship or residency, and this lack of experience shows plainly when evaluators read applicant packets.

Mentoring and advocacy.  If you are at an academic institution, you have mentors who know the system and can give sound advice on how to proceed through it.  I routinely would get an email from an anesthesia colleague who was on the internship selection committee at their institution asking my opinion on the list of students applying that year from my institution.  I knew them and had worked with them, so could advocate for them. The boss at your practice is almost surely not getting that same email.

Money.  Oh man, is it addicting to get a real paycheck.  I remember going from a resident salary to a faculty salary and thinking, “How am I going to spend all of this?”  Fortunately I saved/invested a lot of it, and you should, too. But many people get the big paycheck and realize, “Hey, I don’t have to eat ramen every week!”  It is very hard to go from earning a fair salary in practice to a third or less in an internship or residency.

Habits.  I don’t agree with this, but I do know program evaluators who are worried about those who have been out in practice coming back to academia with bad habits which will have to be corrected.  I know one prominent neurologist who wouldn’t consider an applicant if they had graduated more than 3 years before applying for a residency for this reason.

Ego.  Are you prepared to go from being The Doctor to being a cog in the wheel of academic medicine?  You have clients who look up to you, even if you’re “the new doc,” you have a certain degree of authority.  In an internship, you will have to swallow your ego and be OK being near the bottom of the ladder. I know some programs who are concerned accepting applications from those who have been out in practice too long, because they are worried the applicants’ ego will be too developed to be teachable.

I know some residencies- notably radiology- tend to take a fair number of applicants who have been out in practice for several years.  In general, though, most programs will select those who have gone through a more traditional route. You can be successful going out into practice and then coming back into academia, but it is an uphill battle.

How to be Well Spoken in an Application Letter

The Vetducator - Picture of MLK giving speech.

How can you demonstrate you are an effective communicator in a single page in a letter of intent?  We’ve covered mistakes to avoid as well as a general structure for application letters. Now we need to progress on to the kinds of detailed feedback I often give letter writers.

Make an outline.  You may not have done this since you were in grade school, but trust me, it helps.  You should have an introduction, some key points you want to hit, and a conclusion. You don’t have to use a five paragraph essay, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t use one regularly when writing letters of recommendation.  There’s a reason it’s an iconic literary construct.

Make sentences punch.  Compare:

  • Original: I am confident that my dedication to meeting new challenges, commitment, willingness to learn, and positive attitude will make me a valued asset to the team.
  • Punchy: My dedication to meeting new challenges, commitment, willingness to learn, and positive attitude are characteristics I can bring to the team.
  • Original: These experiences have fostered my love for building the human-animal bond and as well as recognizing the importance of building positive client relationships, which is something I aim to continue to develop throughout my professional career.
  • Punchy: These experiences have fostered my love for building the human-animal bond and showed me the importance of building positive client relationships.
  • Original: While I am excited by the opportunity to refine my skills and expand my knowledge, I know that it will not be without long hours and hard work and I am motivated by the challenge.
  • Punchy: I know that an internship will often involve long hours and hard work and I am motivated by the challenge.

Use simple language.  Compare:

  • Original: As a veterinary student, I saw that anesthesia offered an opportunity to draw upon a capability in the sciences to solve unique and complex problems with facility and compassion.
  • Simple: As a student, I saw that anesthesia offered an opportunity to solve complex problems with compassion and facility.
  • Original: With the advantage of knowing my life’s passion early on, I dedicated my spare time to furthering my knowledge under the tutelage of senior colleagues and board-certified specialists.
  • Simple: Removed entirely. This sentence doesn’t add anything. It’s saying the applicant spends time learning. Yes, you were in vet school, this is self evident. Also the language is meandering, obscuring the meaning in overly complex phrasing and word choices.

Don’t get confused.  When you start an idea in a paragraph, see it through to the end or scrap the entire paragraph.  Don’t try to bundle too much into too little space.

Flow.  Make sure a reader can follow your train of thought.  Do your conclusions flow from your statements? Are there isolated ideas or concepts not tied to the greater narrative?  Get rid of them, make sure there is a consistent narrative throughout which reveals who you are.

Kill your darlings.  Although oft-misattributed, this quote is important even to the single-page-letter-writer.  Do you have a turn of phrase from your vet school application, or a poignant story you think is perfect?  Maybe it is, but maybe you can’t see the problems with it. Seek out advice and, when all signs point to it, do the right thing and cut it.  My wife edits all my blog posts and regularly cuts segments which I think are just great, but in the end I agree with her.

Second draft = first draft – 10%.  Stephen King introduced me to this idea and I have almost never found it to be wrong.  It is easier to trim than it is to create good content. Start more expansively and then begin cutting.

When in doubt, make sure to use simple but not simplistic language.  Put the thesaurus away. Be sincere and show them who you are. There are innumerable writing guides on the internet and in book form- go check them out.  Your letter doesn’t have to be perfect, but the clearer you can be as a writer, the more effective you will be.

Writing a Good Internship Letter

The Vetducator image of career progression with arrow at internship.

This is a specialized version of a post I have about general application letter writing advice, aimed at intern applicants.

It may be impossible to describe a letter written by a highly-ranked internship applicant, but we will apply Justice Stewart’s test– I know it when I see it. Given the wide variability in internship evaluators, and the subjective nature of the process, can you actually write a good letter of intent? The answer is yes. Let’s do it.

Once evaluators have whittled down the list by tossing those applications which are clearly unacceptable, they will more carefully review the remainder.  You want to be at the top of this list. While your entire application packet matters, the letter is fully under your control right now. It is one of the few ways you can connect with the evaluator and they can get an idea of who you are as an applicant.  You have to make the most of that opportunity.

Your letter should achieve the following goals:

  • Tell them why you want an internship.
  • Demonstrate good communication skills.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of what the internship entails.
  • Illustrate why the program should choose you over another applicant.
  • Create some memorable or interesting personal detail for the evaluator to remember.
  • Avoid all of the mistakes previously described here at The Vetducator

Tell them why you want an internship.

If I have to read another letter that starts, “I want to pursue an internship because I want to continue my education” I will punch my computer.  OF COURSE YOU WANT TO CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION, THAT’S WHY YOU’RE APPLYING FOR AN INTERNSHIP! As a general rule, don’t waste space in your letter writing anything that is self-evident.  I understand why you do it- you need to open with SOMETHING, and this describes your motivation in the most simple terms possible. Instead, open with the position to which you are applying and be specific about what you are looking for and what you can offer.

Demonstrate good communication skills.

In addition to avoiding grammar and spelling mistakes, you want to be articulate.  I will devote an entire blog post to this topic because it is expansive. In general, be sincere, use simple (but not simplistic) language, use punchy sentences, use appropriate openers and closers, present your thoughts in an organized way, use paragraphs, create narratives, and use good punctuation.  You may also demonstrate good communication skills by relating a story of a challenging communication you had with a client, another student, clinician, etc. Everyone knows communication is essential to any job- show them you can do it well.

Demonstrate an understanding of what the internship entails.

Everyone knows you work a lot during an internship, but what is “a lot”?  How do you know? Do you just see the interns at the hospital late at night, do you talk to them, do you have a family member or friend who did an internship?  What else do interns do? You want to show the evaluators that you know what you are getting in to. They want to know if you have what it takes to be successful at this job.

Illustrate why the program should choose you over another applicant.

This is the real kicker, and consequently almost impossible to pin down.  You need to draw from your experiences and who you are and showcase your best characteristics.  Don’t just tell them what you did in school. They have your CV, they know WHAT you did. WHY did you do it, WHAT did you learn, HOW does it make you a better person and candidate?

Create some memorable or interesting personal detail for the evaluator to remember.

First, make sure your details are not too quirky- this turns off some evaluators.  What you want is when they are reviewing the 40-60 shortlisted candidates and your file comes up, one or two of them will say, “Oh yeah, that?s the one who tried to do a research project during a summer but it didn’t work out, but they learned about how they handle challenges.”  This is not essential, but if you are able to pull it off, it is a slight one up in your favor.

Avoid all of the mistakes previously described here at The Vetducator.

Please?  For me?

At the end of the day, you have to express yourself, and no rules or formula can tell you how to do that.  Have others review your letter- friends, classmates, mentors. When you get suggestions for changes, though, you don’t have to accept all of them.  We can probably take 100 people and generate a “typical” good letter, but it won’t be YOUR letter, it will be a regression to the mean. Now get out there and write!

Make Your Faculty Application Letter Great

The Vetducator - image of You have ONE job: Pique their curiosity.

You’ve been through vet school, you’ve done post-graduate work (either a Ph.D. or an internship/residency), and now you are applying for a faculty job.  First, congratulations, this is one of the best, most rewarding jobs I can possibly imagine. Second, realize that this situation is entirely different from any you have encountered before.

For vet school and post-grad, the stakes are high- many applicants, few positions.  For faculty positions, particularly clinical positions, the exact reverse applies. Few applicants, many positions in most disciplines.  As a result, your letter does not need to make you stand out as much as your previous letters of application. It can be more staid and you don’t need to “shine” as much.  You will be in an applicant pool of probably less than half a dozen. They will read each application thoroughly and know your name, CV highlights, and other characteristics.  The job of the faculty application letter is to get you an interview, not to get you the actual job.

As always, you should avoid the common mistakes made by all applicants in their letters. One caveat to that general list is that your letter may be two pages if necessary. Few applicants need two pages but, since there are fewer applicants, the one page limit is not a hard one for faculty applications.

The institution has a need, and your goal is to make them think you may be able to fill that need effectively.  Again, you don’t have to hit it out of the park, you just need to pique their curiosity. You don’t need to bare your soul in your application.  You should be genuine, but you don’t need to share every hope, dream, and aspiration you have for your career in this letter. Here are the things you should be up front about in your application letter if you feel strongly one way or another:

Clinical track vs. tenure track

If you don’t want to do a clinical track position, tell them know that in the application or call and talk to the contact in the advertisement.  Even if they only have a clinical track position, if you’re the only candidate, or if you blow the rest out of the water, they may be willing to interview you and work something out.  But if you get an interview on the premise of doing a clinical track position and then tell them you want a tenure track position, they may be irritated at spending the time and resources getting you for an interview if that is 100% not in the cards.

Research time vs. teaching and clinic time

Obviously there is always an expectation for research.  For clinical positions, if you expect to be doing so much research you may need less teaching or clinic FTE, make this evident in your application.  You don’t need to specify FTE % at this time- that comes at the negotiation. But if they need a hard core teacher and you are a hard core researcher, it’s best to figure that out at this point.

Everything else can come up during the interview or during the negotiation process.  Early in my career, I applied for a faculty position and indicated in one part of my letter that I desired to pursue “some additional training”- possibly a non-traditional ACVECC residency.  I didn’t get an interview. When I asked some colleagues why I didn’t get an interview, they pointed to that section of my letter. I was an otherwise excellent candidate, but they weren’t look for someone who wanted to expand their own clinical training, they wanted someone who would fill their need, which was for a full-time clinical anesthesiologist.

In retrospect, if I had really wanted that position, I should have kept my desire for some additional training to myself and figured out how to make it work after starting the job.  As it turned out, I stayed at my institution and finished two Masters degrees with the institution’s support and blessing. I probably could have done the same or similar at the other institution. I could have worked there for a while and gained their trust and understanding. They would have understood that it would not impact my primary work responsibilities.  But from just looking at my letter, and comparing it to other letters, they thought, “Well, this applicant seems to want something other than what this job is. So no interview for him.”

Your goal with the letter is to tell them what interests you about the position, that you would be a viable candidate, that if given an interview and an offer you would accept both, and that you can fill their need.  Don’t gush, keep it simple, and show them you are competent and not a prima donna.

The All-Star Vet School VMCAS Essays

The Vetducator Star Symbol

Applying to vet school is exciting and intimidating.  For many, it’s the culmination of years of focus and enthusiasm.  It’s a high-stakes application, with an applicant:seat ratio of between 1.6 and 2, indicating that there are at least 1.6 applicants per available position in veterinary schools.  Your strategy to apply to vet school may be a years-long affair, with retaking classes, studying for and taking the GRE, and fulfilling prerequisites all long before the application.  Once it comes time to apply, though, you have direct and immediately control over your application packet, including your essays. It is just one piece of the puzzle, but it’s one you can improve right now.

Your essays should achieve the following goals:

  • Tell them why you want to be a veterinarian.
  • Demonstrate good communication skills.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of what veterinary school entails.
  • Illustrate why the program should choose you over another applicant.
  • Create some memorable or interesting personal detail for the evaluator to remember.
  • Avoid all of the mistakes previously described here at The Vetducator.

Tell them why you want to be a veterinarian

Of course you love animals.  Of course you want to help them.  This is self-evident because you are applying to veterinary school.  But what is it about being a veterinarian that appeals to you? You can use the “I was a child and my horse got sick and the vet helped it and I knew at that moment that’s what I wanted to do” story, but it’s hard to make it unique or interesting enough to (possibly jaded) evaluators.  Try to elevate your origin story from the first Deadpool movie (I got cancer and I love her doc) to something more like Infinity War (my world was dying from overconsumption so I solved it the only way I knew how- killing half the people).

Demonstrate good communication skills

In addition to avoiding grammar and spelling mistakes, you want to be articulate.  I will devote an entire blog post to this topic, because it is expansive. In general, be sincere, use simple (but not simplistic) language, use punchy sentences, use appropriate openers and closers, present your thoughts in an organized way, use paragraphs, create narratives, and use good punctuation.  You may also demonstrate good communication skills by relating a story of a challenging communication you had with a client, other student, clinician, etc. Everyone knows communication is essential to any job- show them you can do it well.

Demonstrate an understanding of what vet school entails

You have no idea.  No. Idea. Nothing you have done- unless you went to another professional program in your life- can possibly prepare you for vet school.  Undergrad and grad school are a cake walk. A full-time job where you only work 40 hours a week- laughable. The social dynamics are like high school- 4 years together, stuck in one room with the same people day after day.  The workload is indescribable- you never imagined there was so much information in the world. The psychological and mental toll WILL break your mind in order to rebuild you stronger, better, faster.

You can acknowledge that vet school is a new, unknown challenge but you have the mental fortitude to handle it.  Can you tell a story of when you had grit? Can you elaborate on a time when you helped solve some interpersonal conflict in a group?  Can you handle it? The evaluators want to know if you can.

Illustrate why the program should choose you over another applicant.

This is the real kicker, and consequently almost impossible to pin down.  You need to draw from your experiences and who you are and showcase your best characteristics.  Don’t just tell them what you did in school. They have your CV, they know WHAT you did. WHY did you do it, WHAT did you learn, HOW does it make you a better person and candidate?

Create some memorable or interesting personal detail for the evaluator to remember.

First, make sure your details are not too quirky- this turns off some evaluators.  What you want is when they are reviewing the short listed candidates and your file comes up, one or two of them will say, “Oh yeah, that’s the one who talked about learning about One Health when visiting a small village where the animals and people all mixed together.”  This is not essential, but if you are able to pull it off, it is a slight one up in your favor.

Avoid all of the mistakes previously described here at The Vetducator.

Please?  For me?

Veterinary school essays are a small part of the overall package.  Compared with grades, GRE scores, recommendations, experience, and interviews, they are probably near the bottom of the pack.  Nonetheless, they can still help or hurt you.

At the end of the day, you have to express yourself, and no rules or formula can tell you how to do that.  Have others review your letter- friends, classmates, mentors. When you get suggestions for changes, though, you don’t have to accept all of them.  We can probably take 100 people and generate “typical” good essays, but they won’t be YOUR essays, it will be a regression to the mean. Show them you can be a great vet.

There is No Ideal Applicant

The Vetducator Puzzle Piece Image

Most people who apply to a position want to be the ideal candidate.  Employers want the ideal candidate, so they get a quality employee who will stay for the long term and not cause waves.  Applicants want the ideal position, to progress their career and to maximize happiness.  Sadly, there is no such thing as the ideal candidate or the ideal position.  There’s only a good fit.

This became evident to me with one of my first residents.  Our training program was designed to provide a high degree of autonomy to the residents. They chose how to spend their off-clinic time, what rotations to take, what research to pursue, how to study, etc.  This worked great when I came through the program- I did external rotations at UCD in Ireland and at Royal Perth Hospital in Australia, I got five papers submitted for publication, and I passed the written section of boards the first time.  This also worked great for the resident who came after me. But the next resident did not have a high degree of internal motivation. He needed a more structured program.

He had difficulty with deciding how to spend his time, did not seek out advice, and generally did not efficiently use his time.  Ultimately he ended up not completing the program. I don’t see that as a failing of his or a failing of the program.  It was a bad fit.  Our program worked well with highly internally motivated residents and he needed a program which would tell him what to do and when.  Subsequent residents were highly successful once we identified that we needed to tell residents about this feature of our program. We would tell applicants what our program was like during the interview, and if they needed more structure, there were great programs that could provide that out there.  But ours was not one of them.

There are good programs.  There are good candidates.  But there is no perfect program or perfect candidate.  

You have to be extremely honest with yourself:  

What can you tolerate?  

What kind of person are you?  

How do you like to work?  

Do you want to be the top in your field and climb over the bodies of your fallen enemies or are you happy just doddering along doing your thing and being happy?

How many hours and how hard do you ACTUALLY want to work?  

Do you need the social status attendant with being in a top program?  

Do you want high income, or more free time, lots of students/interns/residents to train, lots of time for research, more contact with students, or more time in the classroom?  

Spend time dwelling on what you actually genuinely want.

This is less critical for internships- they are only a year, and you can tolerate almost anything for that span of time.  When evaluating residencies and faculty positions, though, ask a lot of questions to make sure you would actually be happy where you are applying.  Don’t just accept anything- your life is too short to waste it being miserable. Do you have a tale of a good position not being a good fit or visa versa?

Maximize Your Senior Year for Internship Success

The Vetducator - Picture of senior vet year schedule for internship prep
Sample senior year schedule for a small animal internship-bound student.

What are your concerns in scheduling your senior year?  When you plan to take boards and what rotations to do before that.  When you want to take vacation and do job interviews. Have you thought about how scheduling your rotations may affect your intern application success?  Because it can, fairly dramatically.

Remember what intern evaluators want to know– can you do the job?  More specifically, do you have general surgical and medical skills sufficient to be a competent intern?  Even if your interest is neurology, the internship evaluators are probably not very interested in the amazingness of your neuro knowledge.  Evaluators know about your clinical skills largely from your letters of recommendation.

You need to make sure your senior year is structured to maximize your likelihood of getting good letters of recommendation from core clinical disciplines.  Core disciplines are medicine, surgery, and related disciplines. Your first rotation or two is a wash- you’re just learning the clinic and figuring things out.  Getting a good letter from the first rotations is nearly impossible- you don’t know enough to shine yet. Load up rotations which will get you in the clinic but which are not core, such as ophthalmology, dermatology, anesthesiology, oncology, and similar disciplines.

You want to schedule the rotations where you will get your really stellar letters of recommendation in the late summer and early fall.  Internal medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine are probably the top contenders. Cardiology and neurology can be rotations for good letters if you absolutely cannot arrange your schedule to get medicine and surgery during this time.

Some internship programs may offer on-site interviews after applications are due in early December.  Having some vacation time in late December or early January to arrange these may be helpful. However, everyone else wants to be off over the holidays, too, so this may be difficult.  Don’t lose sleep if you can’t arrange it- most programs which do interviews are fine with phone or video interviews.

Don’t waste any time before the match doing external rotations at the clinic where you worked during undergrad, or on peripheral disciplines like pathology or behavior.  You may, however, do external rotations at other universities or clinics which have internship programs to which you want to apply. But remember, you don’t have much time to become an above-average clinical senior veterinary student in order to perform to the level where you will get good letters of recommendation.  Focus on core clinical disciplines and leave the rest of the year after match applications are due for anything else. Not sure how to do this? Ask away!

Guidelines for the Best Faculty CV


The Vetducator Guidelines for Best Faculty CV - Sign of what you can't do here.

Even if you have experience writing a CV for vet school, internship, residency, or grad school, you can always improve your CV-writing skills.  I see CVs from applicants all the time and think, “Who advised you to do it like this?” There aren’t many rules when it comes to faculty CVs, but you can make the most of your application with a few simple guidelines.

Length.  Make it as long as you like.  The CV is intended to be exhaustive.  Mine is 17 pages, and I trimmed a fair bit of content recently.

Font.  This isn’t particularly critical, as long as it is readable and not tiny.  I would keep it between 9-12 point font and recommendations vary widely on what font to use, but it seems like there is a short list.

Time.  You probably don’t need to include awards you got in undergrad, or externships you did in vet school.  If you are applying for a new assistant professor position, potentially including awards from veterinary school, internship, and residency are acceptable.  After that, unless it occurred when you were on faculty, you can remove them.

Organization.  Create headlines in decreasing order of importance.  End with references. If you are applying for a clinical position and are residency trained or boarded, open with that.  Then, education and experience are up, with publications close behind. Teaching experience follows, then any other service information.  If you are applying for a non-clinical position, highlighting grant funding is important. Everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.

Headings.  You can chose many or a few, and there is no proscribed list.  Here are some examples of potential headings to get your creativity going: Diplomate Status, Education and Employment, Professional Progression, Publications, Research in Progress, Submitted Research, Research Funding, Grants, Teaching Responsibilities, Continuing Education Presentations, Mentees, Awards, Associations, Committees, Reviewer Responsibilities, Research Presentations, Special Skills/Certifications, Conferences, Abstracts Presented, External Rotations, Interests and Activities.

Research.  List publications by year and highlight your position in the author order.  If you have non-peer-reviewed publications which are not obvious (book chapters are obviously non-peer-reviewed), label them appropriately with an * and indicate so at the bottom of the section.  If you have a lot of publications, you can keep a running count.

Teaching.  If you have little teaching experience, list everything and give details (number of contact hours, number of students).  If you have extensive teaching experience, you can summarize. Indicate if you were the course coordinator.

New teacher:

2016 Fall                    Lecturer, SAMS 5373 (Basic Surgical Techniques)                                      – 4 lectures, 16 lab periods (4 labs); 120 students

Experienced teacher:

Principles of Anesthesia                                                         Course Coordinator 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

The CV is a practical document, not a time to express your individuality- that comes from your letter of intent.  When in doubt, include more content rather than less. If you are an Associate Professor or full Professor, you may want to condense some material or drop whole sections which are not that relevant for a search committee.  What other guidelines do you think should be considered for the faculty CV?

How to Nail the Vet School Interview

The Vetducator Vet Student Interviews.

Veterinary schools engage in interviews to varying degrees. Some go back and forth on doing them or not. There is not particularly compelling evidence that interviews improve the selection process, but it’s hard to let go of them. It SEEMS like sitting down talking with someone should help us determine if they will be successful or not. So, for those schools that do interviews, how do you really nail the interview?

Your goal is to have notes made by the interviewers that you are an above-average candidate. You do not have to aim to be a superstar candidate or the best candidate and, in fact, aiming for that is likely to backfire. As always, aim for zero. Here are some general tips which will help you with any vet school interview.

Be concise but not parsimonious with your answers.  When you are asked a question, answer it without rambling.  However, try not to answer with one or two sentences. You need an opportunity to showcase yourself, and answering questions is how you do so.  Answer the question directly and expand on your answer. If you find you are speaking for more than about three minutes on a reply, it’s probably too long or rambling.

Use examples.  Whenever possible, use examples from your own experience.  If you are given an ethical conundrum, try to relate it to something you had to tackle yourself in the recent past.  Always share what you learned from the experience and how you might do things better in the future.

Be secure.  If you need a question repeated, ask so politely.  If you need to take notes, do so. Take the time to take a sip of water.  You don’t have to answer in a rapid-fire manner. Consider your answer before giving it if you need to.

Be prepared.  Why do you want to go to that institution?  You should have researched this before the interview and have some answers prepared.  Why are you a good candidate? Be genuine but not generic. If given an opportunity, have questions to ask them.  Remember, it’s about finding the right fit– you need to make sure this institution is where you want to go to school.

If you hit these points, you will come off as poised and professional- a future colleague to the interview team.  Although the interview is rarely a make-or-break decision for the admissions team, it does factor into their decision making.  I have seen some interviewees who impressed the heck out of me, and others which were definitely unremarkable. If you follow the short list above, you are more likely to edge into that impressive group.  Are there scenarios you have heard of where you think the above would not be helpful?