I was interviewing at a university recently and someone brought up the study we did looking at internship letters of intent. They said, “Aren’t you just telling them how to write a good letter? Won’t it be formulaic? There won’t be any difference between candidates. They can just read the study and ape what others wrote and get matched.” I thought this was a valuable observation. It certainly applies to this blog and my services. Am I breaking the system by sharing this knowledge with the world? I hope not.
First, to find this blog, one has to go out and do research. Almost everything I post about is written down somewhere else. Interview techniques, writing techniques, making a CV– all of this can be found elsewhere. I put it all together and related it to veterinary medicine. Based on my experience with candidates, most don’t even go to Google and type in “How to write a letter of intent.” Therefore, I think only the best candidates will find this blog.
Second, on the blog and in the services I offer, I don’t tell anyone exactly what to write. I have some examples to inspire readers. But it has to come from them. So they make it their own in the process of creation. It just happens to be the best of their own.
Third, I frankly would welcome it if every application I received was well researched, polished, and professional. It would make my job as an evaluator a delight! If every video interview I conducted was well-lit and set up properly, I would be pleased as punch. If every interview I conducted was with someone who was prepared and engaged, I would sing with joy. I want to make the world a better place, and maybe I can.
Finally, this information has only so much influence. If you’re lazy, or don’t have integrity, or practice bad medicine, or are unprofessional, or any of a dozen other flaws, you’re not going to get the position no matter how polished your materials are. I am helping people display their actual selves in their materials and during their interview so that the applicant and the institution can identify the best fit. Bad fits happen all the time- wouldn’t it be great if applying what I write about could reduce them?
I appreciate that job advice like this in veterinary medicine is new and different, and different is often scary. Veterinary academia a very small field, so there is discomfort with the idea of putting some information out there. I want people to be successful and I want programs to get the best fit. If I can help that in some small way, I think the world will be a better place.