Preparing for a Career in Industry

By Debra Nickelson, D.V.M.

If you are working in clinical practice and looking for a job in industry, you may be thinking you do not have the experience companies seek for technical service, marketing, or other business positions. You would be surprised to know that the clinical and people skills that practicing veterinarians exhibit every day are exactly the skills that companies need.

For instance, if you are exceptional at managing patients with a specific disease condition, say diabetes, what can you do to add business skills on top of your excellent clinical skills? You know diabetes involves people management about as much as animal management, so here are some ideas:

  •  Create easy to follow handouts for clients about diabetes, what it means for their pet, what to expect, what problems to look for and how to respond. Sure, you can use the available published handouts, but make it personal for that particular pet and client. And make it comply with your and your hospital’s procedures.
  •  Host a Facebook Live or a Zoom support group meeting for owners of pets with diabetes. You may have to separate the dog and cat owners as each has their own issues. Invite the pets too. People like nothing more than showing off and talking about their pets. And they may have useful hints for other members of the group. Just send out an invite to your selected client list with caveat that they are willing to share as much information about their pet as they are comfortable.
  • With clients’ permission, post a success story about well managed pet with diabetes on your clinic web page, Facebook page, or whatever social media you choose. And when someone does achieve success in giving injections or monitoring their pet or even figuring out how to fill the syringe, celebrate in the support group and online. 
  • Teach an on-line class about diabetes in pets via Zoom or whatever media you have. It can be a simple presentation with lots of photos and you can show how to measure out doses and how to give injections. This can be open to non-clients so just advertise when and the link. Or make it on-demand. Or teach it via local community education.

Then you can add to your resume about how you did all this to increase client compliance by a certain percent, increased client satisfaction as measured by surveys, increased the number of new clients by how many in a time frame, and increased clinic revenue by how much over previous year.

And you will have fun doing it!

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