How To Write (and read between the lines of) The Perfect Veterinary Job Ad
Given the generally recognised shortage of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technician and Vet Nurses, particularly in regional areas, attracting, retaining and developing your team has never been more important. Whilst focusing on retention and development is essential, when it comes time to recruit your next team member, as an Owner, Partner or Practice Manager, today you have to pitch yourself and your practice to potential candidates.
An effective job ad, or Job Campaign as we prefer to describe it, is not just a job description and a list of equipment. Today it must be a carefully crafted message aimed at reaching, attracting and engaging the best qualified candidates for your job.
We developed our Job Campaign structure based on a deep analysis of what makes potential candidates click on an Apply Now button and what doesn’t, not purely in relation to what content, but also the flow or the order of how that content, your job ad copy, should be structured.
First, lets start with some Do’s and Don’ts…
- Use language that is informal, warm and friendly
- Tell a story, not just about the job, or the practice but about why your role is the ideal next career step for the candidate you are seeking
- Talk about your team and how everyone works well together
- Put yourself in the mind of your target applicant
- Be short on itemised tasks – the right candidate knows what is needed – 4 or 5 is enough
- Be long on what makes your practice unique and about what softer attributes you are seeking
- Go on to the major job boards, search for a similar role and read the top 3 ads – then write something much, much better
- Use Job Ad parlance or clichés such as “We are seeking…” (of course you are) or “The incumbent will…” (yes, we still see these from time to time)
- Get too creative or quirky – it may stand out, and people will say “great ad” but responses from quality candidates are 25-50% less
- Oversell the role – be transparent about your expectations
- Publish a Job Description – a JD is not a Job Ad; an ad is there to sell, not be a list of tasks
- Exaggerate – when a job sounds too good to be true, it generally is and will only attract applicants who are gullible, unrealistic and non-performers
- Tell everyone about all your equipment, no matter how proud you are, it’s not important and candidates assume that you will provide the tools to do the job; if you do have an intergalactic traveling scanner by all means share that, but talk about what it will do for patients, not how many giga-things it has
Like all good consumer product ads, a Job Campaign is there to entice people to action, not do the entire pitch job. And a job ad is not some sort of Harry Potter sorting hat either, so cast your net as wide as is sensible. What you really want to happen is for you to receive plenty of resumes to consider; having too many to choose from is a much better problem than having one…or in this candidate shortage, even none…start telling a great story.
Here is our outline of what the ideal Veterinary Job Ad, or Job Campaign as we call it, should look like…
A short sharp six word max headline that should include a well-recognised job title – don’t get too clever as applicants, and Search Engines, are quick to discount odd terminology
3 Key Bullet Points
These are the highlights aimed at engaging the “suspect” and turning them into a “prospect” and reading further…
- One about the practice
- One about the role
- One about the salary and benefits
In two or three sentences summarise the role and why they should apply – often it is best to write this last once you have the body of your ad written – this is your punchy sales intro so make it really appealing. You’ve got 3 seconds – these first couple of sentences are like the opening paragraph in a novel or the first scene in a new Netflix drama except WAY more important; you’ve got just 3 seconds to engage with each candidate, gain their trust and encourage them to read on.
Tell your story. A little bit of history and an overview of your practice philosophy in relation to quality veterinary medicine. And as much as you can about your team, how great they are and how well they work together. A candidate is potentially looking at who they are going to be working with for the next few years and so this is a crucial element. If you do have a brand spanking new piece of equipment by all means mention but don’t spout a list including the kitchen sink, after all if you were employing a painter, how much time would you spend telling them about the brushes and paint?
Team Member Quote
Nothing says “join us” more than a compelling quote from a current team member about how much they enjoy working in the practice. Apart from the actual nice things they say, including a quote says to potential candidates that there is someone prepared to go on the record to reinforce what the rest of the ad is saying.
About This Role
Everybody knows what a Vet or Vet Tech does, right? Wrong. You need to specify four or five key skills that are particularly important to you and your hospital. This helps candidates understand your priorities within the wide range of abilities that are available and allows them to mentally tick off that their skills and strengths are a match which creates engagement.
About You (we mean the candidate)
Building your culture is an essential foundation for your business and it’s important to achieve balance and diversity as well as focus on particular personal traits and attributes. Here you want to list four or five of the “softer skills” you are seeking such as empathy, compassion, leadership or the ability to deal with adversity with grace and professionalism.
Nowadays, “where” is sometimes as important as “salary and benefits”, and people often can have preconceptions that you need to unwind. Two or three sentences about the locale or the region helps applicants connect with your practice as well as with the destination. Help them understand the advantages of working in your community and potentially moving there from a distance away – help them remove some of their own subconscious misconceptions and see your location in the very best light.
Yes, here comes the hard bit. For a wide range of reasons, some competitive, some relating to existing team members and some to do with history, practice owners, partners and managers are very reluctant to openly publish job ads with indicative offers stating dollar amounts. We get that, but our test research has proven that Job Campaigns without at least a broad salary range eg $80-120k get half the number of clicks.
You also need to state the rest of the benefits that you offer, even if you think it is obvious, because to many it is not obvious. Salary, production bonus, sign on bonus, medical/dental/vision, insurances, paid vacation, paid sick leave, maternity leave, continuing education, licensure, memberships, 401k co-contributions – you don’t have to offer all of these, but state openly what you are offering.
It’s Time To Apply
A short, sharp paragraph rephrasing and restating your opening pitch and with a solid call to action including the contact name of the person to apply to and encourage a preliminary phone call to chat about the role.
Ideally you should include your practice name (so-called confidential or blind ads get very low response rates, if any at all), your address, licensing requirements, email address for applications and so on. And to top things off, make sure you have a sharp logo plus you also need to tidy up your web site and social media accounts, as these are the first places candidates will look when considering whether they should follow through and apply.
And then, have at least 3 people read it, preferably at least one not from the industry. Apart from grammar and spell checking, you will get valuable feedback on the overall appeal of your value proposition.
A Job Ad is like an artificial fly to a trout fisherman – it is both pretty and functional – and like the fly is there to attract and the hook is there to capture, so it is with Vet, Vet Nurse and Vet Technician candidates; your Job Ad is there to attract, it is then up to you to reel them in so make sure that you respond same day to every enquiry and acknowledge every application on the day you receive it.
“Can I be bothered going to such trouble, it’s just a Job Ad?” No, it isn’t.
You know that your team is the foundation of your business and more important than any other thing or task in your practice, from being a primary revenue driver to delivering best practices in Veterinary Medicine. Put in the effort to secure the very best candidates and the time and effort will provide the best Return On Investment you will ever make.
Sample Veterinary Job Ad
You can find an example of the perfect Veterinary Job Ad here.
Written by Matt Lee, a long term veterinary industry marketing expert and CEO of Vet & Pet Jobs, the Veterinary Jobs Marketplace that is focused on matching the best veterinary professional candidates and the best vet practices.
Here at Vet & Pet Jobs our vet jobs Campaigns reach across the complete range of veterinary jobs – Veterinarian jobs, Emergency Veterinarian jobs, Veterinary Nurse jobs, Locum Veterinarian jobs and many more. Browse by job type, state or city and click through to each Job Campaign for all the details plus each one has a quick video to help you drill down to the key elements in each veterinary job to help you decide on which ones to apply for.
Job Seekers can register and create daily or weekly Job Alerts to notify you when new career opportunities are posted. So, whether you are looking for veterinary jobs in Brisbane, Queensland or Sydney, NSW or Canberra, ACT or Melbourne, Victoria or Hobart, Tasmania or Adelaide, South Australia or Perth West Australia or Darwin, Northern Territory and all points in between, as well as across all of New Zealand, you can find the best veterinary jobs for your next career step.
And for Veterinary Hospitals and Vet Clinics, you can find the best veterinary professionals – GP Veterinarians, Emergency Vets, Associate Vets, Vet Nurses and Relief Vets and Nurses – across Australia and New Zealand and build your team – register and post your Job Campaign today.