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AVMA LIFE Educational Resources

The Ultimate Graduation Checklist for Veterinarians

Posted on 4/29/2019 by AVMA LIFE in Students graduation

Graduation is just around the corner. And chances are, you're feeling stressed. It makes sense. Earning your DVM is a huge milestone. And with it comes great changes—like a new job, a new community, new coworkers, and new responsibilities.

Unfortunately, we can't relieve all your stress, but we can certainly try to relieve some.

Use this handy checklist to help make the days leading up to graduation a little less overwhelming.

If you don't have a job yet, start here. If you've already landed one, skip to the next section.

  • Check in with your school's career center.
    You'll want to obtain a login and password for your school's job database. Plus, they can help perfect your résumé and cover letter.
  • Perfect your résumé.
    Update your résumé with relevant coursework and externships. You may also want to compose a personal bio to help your résumé stand out from the rest.
  • Request letters of recommendation.
    Give your references plenty of time to reflect on and write about your strengths, skills, and personality. Letters of recommendation can be a powerful tool when done well!
  • Purchase an appropriate interview outfit.
    Appropriate clothing for a veterinary interview varies depending on the type of interview. For an on-site large animal interview, you'll want to wear barn clothes. But for a clinic interview, you'll want to wear business casual clothing.

Already have a job? Congratulations! Your checklist starts here.

  • Gather and organize important paper documents.
    Collect things like loan and financial aid paperwork so you can easily reference them in the future. And be sure to store them in a safe place, like a file folder or cabinet.
  • Archive your digital files.
    We all know computers can crash. Make sure your school work (and pictures!) are backed up on an external hard drive or flash drive.
  • Collect contact information from your friends.
    Sure, most of your friends are probably on social media. But a phone number and email are always good to have.
  • Collect contact information from your references.
    Get contact information from your references now, so you have it on hand for your current or future job search. Plus, you may want their information down the road for advice or support.
  • Obtain copies of your transcript.
    Whether you've landed a job or not, it's smart to keep a copy of your official transcript for your files. Obtain copies before graduating to avoid paying a fee.
  • Write thank you notes.
    Surely there are people who have helped you get through veterinary school, whether it's a friend, advisor, or professor. Expressing your appreciation for their support is a kind gesture.
  • Clean up your social media profiles.
    Update your security settings so your private life stays private. But make sure your photos and status updates reflect you in a positive light, just in case. This holds true whether you're on the job hunt or you've already landed your dream position.
  • Get your finances in order.
    We have an entire series on this topic. Learn how to improve your credit score, build wealth, save for retirement, manage debt, and help protect your livelihood.
  • Secure housing.
    Housing can be tricky while you're transitioning post-graduation. Ask your landlord to extend your lease, secure a sublet, or find a family member or friend willing to host you while you get your bearings.
  • Leave a forwarding address with the campus mail center and alumni office.
    Once you secure housing (whether temporary or permanent), leave a forwarding address with your school to ensure you don't miss important mail.
  • Update your address with anyone who sends you bills.
    To ensure you don't miss any important payments, give your bank, credit card company, insurance company, cell phone provider, and others your post-graduation address.
  • Help protect yourself
    Graduating from veterinary school is a huge life event. Help make sure you, your loved ones, and your income are protected during this new phase. Graduating AVMA student chapter (SAVMA) members may be eligible for guaranteed issuance of insurance coverage, including hospital indemnity, life, and disability products.* Learn more about the Graduate Guarantee Program here.**
  • Enjoy!
    While preparing for graduation, don't forget to have a little fun. Spend time with friends, take advantage of campus life, and dine out at your favorite restaurant. After all your hard work, you deserve it!

Would you add anything to our list? Let us know in the comments below!

For a printable copy of this checklist, click here.

*Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, NY, NY 10010 on group policy form GMR.

**For more details on the Graduate Guarantee Program, including features, costs, eligibility, renewability, limitations, and exclusions, click here.


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