Jul 15, 2016
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0
Hey guys,
I'm having a really difficult time trying to get vet experience hours. Most vet offices around where I go to school won't let me shadow and won't hire because I don't have any experience, but I need experience to get into vet school so I'm confused as to what I need to do Did anyone have this problem? Any suggestions? I'm already working with the humane society and a horse rescue but neither are medical at all.
 

cdoconn

I hover quickly
2+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2016
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Veterinary Student
Hey guys,
I'm having a really difficult time trying to get vet experience hours. Most vet offices around where I go to school won't let me shadow and won't hire because I don't have any experience, but I need experience to get into vet school so I'm confused as to what I need to do Did anyone have this problem? Any suggestions? I'm already working with the humane society and a horse rescue but neither are medical at all.
Hey Kiennetto!

I would check out this thread first! There are a LOT of threads that talk about experience/ how to get them/ problems, etc... and that thread will teach you how to search for them to get your answers! :)
 

that redhead

7+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2010
10,580
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Hey guys,
I'm having a really difficult time trying to get vet experience hours. Most vet offices around where I go to school won't let me shadow and won't hire because I don't have any experience, but I need experience to get into vet school so I'm confused as to what I need to do Did anyone have this problem? Any suggestions? I'm already working with the humane society and a horse rescue but neither are medical at all.
Both a humane society and a horse rescue will have a veterinarian either on staff or that they call in the event of a medical problem with their animals. I would ask your supervisor if you could contact their veterinarian and ask to shadow for a day.
 
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agility_tyme21

Cornell c/o 2021
2+ Year Member
Oct 25, 2016
62
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Veterinary Student
I remember having similar problems but getting to the point where 3 separate admissions counselors told me I had zero chance of getting in if I didn't get experience. I felt like I had nothing to lose so...I emailed my resume to veterinary hospitals/vets in my area once a month, every month, even to the exact same places. You really lose nothing by being annoying. Keep showing up, keep emailing doctors, someone somewhere WILL give you a chance. persistence can be key! Just be polite and respectful, but there's nothing wrong with being persistent.
 

Doctor-S

Grand Rounds
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Jun 9, 2016
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Hey guys,
I'm having a really difficult time trying to get vet experience hours. Most vet offices around where I go to school won't let me shadow and won't hire because I don't have any experience, but I need experience to get into vet school so I'm confused as to what I need to do Did anyone have this problem? Any suggestions? I'm already working with the humane society and a horse rescue but neither are medical at all.
Another friendly suggestion:

You can contact your local veterinary medicine association and ask them if they are aware of veterinarians who are "known" to provide shadowing opportunities or veterinary experience opportunities to pre-vet med students. Be (respectfully) proactive and enthusiastic ... and you'll find something.
 

dyachei

vet robot pirate zombie
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Mar 9, 2007
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also, if a vet clinic calls you and leaves a message, call them back. I have 1 person that needed experience but won't answer her phone or return calls
 
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that redhead

7+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2010
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Think of it this way: a lot of hopeful pre-vet students want (and need!) hours at clinic. In any given pool of people wanting to shadow, some email, some call and some show up in person. Of all of these people, I will remember the in-person people first and foremost- I'll be able to meet you, shake your hand and maybe even have a brief conversation. That will stick in my mind a lot more than someone's generic email.

Of the people that show up, some come in wearing sweatpants or with their midriff showing or with their 2" fake nails...YES, we have seen all of these at my clinic! Despite the fact that I am no old-timer, this is not appropriate for a professional setting. (Personally, I don't care about your hair color or tattoos but some people will.) I feel as though if you can't even take the time to make yourself look somewhat decent to just introduce yourself, how are you going to be shadowing or working with us? So you can set yourself even more apart from the rest by wearing a pair of khaki pants or dark dress slacks and a modest top/sweater/blouse.

The long term goal may be to shadow multiple days or even get a job there eventually, but start small - ask for just one day of shadowing. If you come to your shadow day on time, dressed appropriately, are polite and friendly to everyone and don't just float around silently, you will very likely be able to come back again and again until one day, you may be offered a longer term position. But play the short game first and work your way up!
 
A

AngelofHysteria

I got experience from emailing veterinary clinics. I went to college 2hrs away from my home town which is pretty small. They originally refuse to let students shadow/intern without applying for job first which took much longer than the summer I had off to get an answer. I ended up traveling hour away to basically work for free at a cat clinic for 2 years during my breaks from school (I wasn't close to my family so I basically came home during breaks for my dog and the clinic). I would work from opening to close and even come in early before the actual employees showed up. I used my pre-vet club activities such as clean ups at a zoo close to my college to gain experience from there and show I'm a good worker to point I gained volunteer experience outside of the club activities and a special internship with no paper work (normally its 4 students picked and its pretty selective for the summer). Also, I ran into a veterinary student who father actually runs a clinic I took my dog to as a kid (I got super super lucky). Currently, I found large animal veterinary experience through emailing 10 different places around me and got responses from 3. Only 1 actually said yes to coming and what dates did I want to ride along, the others only said fill out x form or I'll let so and so know about your resume. I'm currently paying $300 something for 2 weeks to stay 1hr and half away for the opportunity given to me. It just takes time and willingness to travel if its something you need and willing to work for.

You can also be super buddy buddy to whomever in charge of your pre-vet clubs in college. My club was super clicky to point their friends got the jobs at veterinary schools or surrounding vets because they CHOOSE who resumes were sent and not. You can try to go around them but it much more difficult. I was a loner so I never did that and wouldn't give up who I was just to get "connections" when I could do it on my own and feel better about it.
 

pinkpuppy9

Illinois c/o 2019
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Oct 20, 2013
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also, if a vet clinic calls you and leaves a message, call them back. I have 1 person that needed experience but won't answer her phone or return calls
Off the main topic of this thread, but I've found that a lot of people my age and younger just will not let an employer know they accepted a job elsewhere, are going a different route, no longer want to interview for a position, etc. They just ignore your calls and you never hear from them again.

I got my first vet assistant job because I was the only student who applied and returned the interview call.
 
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LetItSnow

Skipping the light fandango
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Jan 13, 2011
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Plymouth, MN, USA
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Off the main topic of this thread, but I've found that a lot of people my age and younger just will not let an employer know they accepted a job elsewhere, are going a different route, no longer want to interview for a position, etc. They just ignore your calls and you never hear from them again.

I got my first vet assistant job because I was the only student who applied and returned the interview call.
I'm actually pretty ok with someone not returning a phone call. It tells me they are self-absorbed and have no sense of professionalism and, if I ever encounter them again down the road, I know to avoid them in a professional setting. :)

I've had a few people ask for shadowing experience with me ... and then I reply to them ... and then I don't hear anything. No worries. Mental note made that this person is a poor communicator and unprofessional. Next time I see them in the industry, I've got that knowledge already stored away.
 
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LetItSnow

Skipping the light fandango
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Jan 13, 2011
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Plymouth, MN, USA
animaltracks.wordpress.com
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The long term goal may be to shadow multiple days or even get a job there eventually, but start small - ask for just one day of shadowing. If you come to your shadow day on time, dressed appropriately, are polite and friendly to everyone and don't just float around silently, you will very likely be able to come back again and again until one day, you may be offered a longer term position. But play the short game first and work your way up!
This is pretty huge. If you approach me asking for some long commitment, like shadowing every week for months .... screw that. I'm not entering into any sort of agreement without the chance to assess whether you're going to be ok to have around or whether you'll make my life hell. So I'll just say no because, frankly, my priority is to my patients, my staff, my clients, and myself - you are last on the list. (Always good for a shadower to remember that, too - shadowing is the most important thing to them, but the least important thing to me.)

So asking for one day is better. I can do that. And if you're not a problem, I'll say yes if you want to come back. Even better if you're interesting and ask questions that are timed well.
 
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