It’s a problem in the veterinary field as well as many other fields – we need experience to get experience. Whether it is a job or simply time spent shadowing a veterinarian, people are reluctant to take a chance on people who haven’t proven themselves in that specific niche before. It’s understandable, after all, given that personal safety and animal’s lives are at stake in veterinary medicine. However, it’s a Catch-22 in that it leaves both parties missing out. We all have to start somewhere. That means that someone, somewhere has to be willing to give us a shot!
Can you think about a time in your life when you went after a goal or job for the first time without having the requisite skill set, or years of experience under your belt? I know I can. In fact, I can think of many times throughout my life when someone took a chance on me. And you want to know what is so amazing about that — to this day, for some decades later, I still remember what they did for me and am incredibly appreciative and will forever remember their names and faces as people who had a very significant impact on my life. Because of what they have done for me, I know I am much more likely to take a chance on people in the future, but not just anyone.
My background in psychology makes me very aware of the idea that the biggest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So when deciding whether to take a chance on a hopeful pre-vet student with no experience or a recent graduate without years of experience under their belt, I would recommend checking out their resume and/or contacting references to see what their work ethic is like in general. While I know some people took a chance on me without doing either of those two things, my work ethic and determination to do the best job possible were not circumstantial and anyone who gave me a shot would quickly learn that I go above and beyond what is expected of me to get the job done. People who have worked with me in the past would be able to attest to this, so if references were contacted, they would be able to speak highly of me and my work ethic. There is something to be said for that. Though it may not be in the same field or with the same skill set, it may be the best predictor of success!
In the end, everyone has to start somewhere. Those who take a chance are often remembered fondly as mentors and get fresh, young, energetic talent to put to work!