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Final-year diary
  1. Jen Hall


Four months before final exams, getting a job is one of the main topics of conversation for final-year students at Nottingham vet school, as Jennifer Hall records in her diary for Vet Record Careers

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After a month apart over Christmas, it was great to be back working with my rotation group, and to catch up on everyone's news. Not surprisingly, job applications and CVs are the main topics of conversation. It feels like everyone has gone crazy about careers.

When should I apply for a job? How do I write a CV? What should I include in my covering letter? What area of the country do I want to work in? Should I aim for a mixed practice or specialise straight away? I have to admit that the subject makes me feel a bit panicky.

My first step will be to put my CV together. One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I stepped onto the first rung of the veterinary ladder was to keep a record throughout vet school of my achievements, experiences, EMS, etc. How I wish I'd actually taken it!

Sitting down to write my CV is not something that can be done straight off. I am surprised by the size of the task, and how much thought needs to be put into it. My first port of call was the BVA's website because it has a useful section on CV writing. I have combined this with looking at examples of CVs – by asking recent graduates and longer-qualified vets to see theirs.

The next step was to decide on what sections to include. I resorted to asking family and friends to help on certain aspects of mine – it's amazing what other people remember about you; for example, my mum reminded me to include my summer jobs. Once my CV is written, I am going to ask my tutor for an honest opinion, and, of course, get an experienced employer to give it the once over, via the SPVS CV reading service.

It's so difficult to know when to begin applying for jobs. I find myself swept along in the excitement and frenzy that happens when you get together with your peers. Some people in our year have been offered jobs already; others say they will not even think about applying until we have finished final exams in June, while a few are hunting now.

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For me, the most important thing will be to acquaint myself with job adverts – they come in all shapes and sizes, and can be difficult to decipher. Vet Record Careers online,, is a fantastic resource, and worth experimenting with, so that when the time comes I will be efficient at finding the categories of job I am interested in.

But perhaps I should just concentrate on what I am doing now – getting to grips with nutrition of dairy cows – a subject that gets minimal coverage at vet schools, yet is the basis for success in dairying. And, when you get to grips with the subject, it's fascinating!

e-mail: jennifer.diary2011{at}

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