How to land your dream Veterinary Nursing Job

At Mt Eliza Village Vet we receive around two to three enquiries per week from aspiring Veterinary Nurses.  It is wonderful to see this enthusiasm for our industry and we have delighted in taking on a trainee nurse over the past 18 months. 

We can see why so many people from all walks of life want to become Veterinary Nurses. This is a hugely rewarding job and our current Vet Nurses (VNs) wouldn’t have it any other way.  It is a position of huge depth with room for growth and skill development.


So how do you become a Veterinary Nurse?    

The majority of your training is on the job.  You need a trainee position to be able to enroll in most courses to follow up with a formal qualification.  We find that a lot of people can readily find a place in a TAFE or online VN course.  Where they get stuck is then obtaining the required work experience or trainee position that pairs with it and is a requirement of most courses. 

As a provider of some of these positions and work experience to VN students, we thought we would outline what attributes and experience we as employers need to see to consider you for one of these places.

  1. We already know you are a pet person.  We need to know that you are also a wonderful people person!

    The majority of veterinary nurses find that a large proportion of their job is spent at reception and on the phone.  As a small business who values each and every one of our clients, we need to ensure you are comfortable in this area before we can consider you for a VN position.  If you are accomplished in this area, we can then train you to care for our four legged patients (what you came here for in the first place).
    Much to many peoples surprise, when sorting through a pile of resumes for our next position, we are looking for experience like long term café or retail work or anything which shows you have been successful in a position of customer service. 

  2. How seriously have you taken this application with us?
    How well can you write a resume? Did you go back and check your spelling and grammar?  How much consideration have you given to a position at our practice itself or is this one of many generic applications you have made without thinking about what we would specifically require of you?   A rushed, low quality application is not a good reflection of you work ethic or personal standards – VNs need to have exceptional levels of both!

  3. It is not until now that we look at what you have done with animals in the past.  Experience of handling animals is of course helpful. Work such as a long-term position in a dog boarding kennel or cattery is highly regarded.  Having said that, the standard of animal care required in our veterinary hospital really needs to be learnt from scratch as it can only really be taught by Veterinarians and senior VNs.
  4. BONUS TIP – a pre-organized, signed written reference from a previous employer or school teacher included with your application will set you well apart.  We can only remember receiving one of these out of the many applications we have reviewed – and guess what…She got the job!  Ask your referee to address specific skills relating to customer service and work ethic and you are halfway there. 
  5. Give us an easy opportunity to meet you!
    Please come into the clinic you are applying for with your resume in person!  Say hello, let us put a face to a name.  Even if we are very busy and only have time to grab the resume out of your hand, smile and wave, this is still a huge step ahead in your application than for us to receive an email which we may not even check!  You never know your luck; the practice manager or owner may just be in at the desk at the right time and be inspired by your smiling face!  At the very least, the practice manager can check in with whoever received the application and ask what their first impressions were.

  6. Finally, be patient!
    As we have said, we do get several enquiries per week and we are only likely to take on a new veterinary nurse around once per year!  However, following the above points closely and continually approaching several of your local clinics will get you there in the end.  Whilst there are many applicants, those that truly deserve a position really do stand out.


To help summarise again what we are after – let us list what the skills we found in our current trainee that made us choose her (and we are so glad we did!).

  • No previous animal experience but a proven pet lover with several pets herself.
  • Excellent application – well set out, perfect spelling and grammar.
  • Delivered application in person.
  • Had previous café experience.
  • Interviewed very well in a confident but humble manner.
  • High respect for what the industry can teach her.
  • Sense of humour!
  • Very well dressed and presented.


Good luck we hope this blog has been helpful!!