When you are seeking veterinary locum jobs it is important that you look in the right places and also make sure that the position you apply for suits you. You can do little worse than be offered a job that you applied for and then refuse it because of travel problems or some other reason. Here are 5 tips on finding veterinary locum jobs that will make sure that you get the right job that you are qualified for.
1. Be a Member of the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons)
Paperwork is very important to a veterinary locum job, and under the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1966, you cannot be employed in the UK as a locum, or any type of veterinary surgeon, unless you are a member of the RCVS – if you need that abbreviation explained then you aren’t qualified. The RCVS will offer you automatic registration if you qualified in veterinary surgery in the EU or in any of a number of other recognized countries such as the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand and a number of others. Do not apply for any veterinary locum jobs in the UK until you have the paperwork showing you are a RCVS member. The same applies to veterinary nurses seeking locum vet nursing work.
2. Have a Good CV
Your CV will likely make all the difference between success and failure. A good CV will include a photograph of you – not a dour passport photo but one that shows that you are a friendly, likeable person without being too frivolous. It should include your veterinary qualifications – nobody cares about your junior school exam passes – and any merits you have received, specialization you have been involved in or specialist course you have taken. If you want to clinch veterinary locum jobs your CV should also include references from any practice you have worked for previously and other information that is relevant to the job you are applying for. That is very important. Nobody is interested in your small animal experience if the locum vet job is for a country practice dealing mainly in farm animals. Also refer to both items above.
3. Get a Car!
Your CV will let a recruitment agency know if you are qualified or not (see below) – they won’t ask you to take a locum job in a predominantly equine practice close to Newmarket or Epsom, for example, unless you have an equine qualification. They may also check where you are based and whether or not you have a car or some other personal transport. Having a car opens up a much wider range of locum jobs for you, and quite frankly, anybody seeking veterinary locum jobs is advised to buy a car, or at least a motorbike. A bicycle is less attractive, but if you are based 20-30 miles from the practice, you are unlikely to be offered the locum position unless you have transport or if the practice will provide it for you. Accommodation is OK because that will generally be provided, even if at a fee.
4. Register with an Online Veterinary Locum Recruitment Agency
Registering with an online veterinary recruitment agency is essential if you are seeking veterinary locum jobs. Practices looking for a locum vet will call or occasionally email a veterinary locum recruitment agency and will want an immediate answer. When you are offered the job you have to make a decision there and then, so ask: what does the work involve, where is it, and how long is it for? In fact, the agency will likely not call you unless they believe you to be qualified and able to take the job. The BVA provides details of veterinary magazines that offer locum vacancies, but your best source of a veterinary locum job is to use an online veterinary employment agency. As stated above, most vets need locums immediately, not in a few days time. However, if you are hopeful of longer term work, then registering with the BVA would help.
5. Keep in Touch With the Agency
Let your veterinary recruitment agency know if you have specific needs when doing locum work: do you have a car or not (see above), what is your range from home base without needing accommodation, are you qualified for any specific veterinary specialty, do you want only short-term work, or can you take any locum work, even if it could lead to a permanent position? All of this can help the agency when seeking veterinary locum jobs for you. If they don’t know you have no car they might offer you a job involving outlying farms, and if you refuse such a job you are likely to go to the bottom of the list. It’s your fault for not telling them. If you can’t work weekends let them know – or even specific days on religious grounds. That’s OK with them – what’s not OK is if you don’t tell them and then refuse. Finally, let them know of any problems you experience in any placement: racial comments, being asked to do work you are not qualified for, or not being paid for overtime working. Your veterinary employment agency is your friend and is on your side, and they like practices that break the rules even less than you do. Follow each of these 5 tips on seeking veterinary locum jobs then there is no reason why you should not be successful and enjoy the jobs that you are offered. Many ultimately lead to permanent positions and the start of a great career in veterinary medicine or nursing.
SRR Johnson is a recruitment expert with more than 20 years of experience in the veterinary industry. He is currently working as an It and recruitment consultant for Alpha Impact Ltd in the UK.
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