Tips to Become the Perfect Locum and Increase Your Value!

How to Become the Most Sought After Locum In The Area

Being a popular locum is both fun and rewarding!  More importantly, having a reputation as a high-quality locum opens the door to the best offers and increasingly, higher hourly rates. Here are a few tips that will help you in your locum journey:

Organize Your Schedule

The secret to being a successful locum is preparation and organization. Make sure that you plan your schedule well in advance and think about offering potential employers “blocks of hours” that fit their needs. If you already have a full-time position and are interested in supplementing your income, try to organize your work schedule so you have 1-2 full days to offer per week.

Making money while you vacation is an option as well. When planning your annual leave with your full-time employer, consider using this time as a “paid vacation”. This is great option for those who are interested in visiting other areas but might be on a tight budget, or for those that are trying to maximize their earning potential.

Create an Information-Rich Profile

Employers that are looking for temporary help want to hire the most qualified candidates with varied experience and diverse skill-sets. Always include your education, work experience, and specific skills that set you apart from other locums. Certain skills are highly sought after – and if you specialize in tooth-extraction or orthopedic surgery, make sure they are listed in detail. If you are willing to travel, remote veterinary clinics will be more than happy to help you with the travel arrangement. Remember, this profile is your resume; it’s your way of letting potential employers know why you are different from the other candidates and why they should contract with you![1]

Respond Quickly

Whenever you receive an offer from an employer, timeliness is essential. If you are actively looking for assignments, be sure to review new job postings and offers daily.  Veterinary clinic owners appreciate it when you respond rapidly to their inquiries; this also shows that you are attentive and serious about helping them fill their needs.

Prepare a List of Questions

Make sure to prepare a list of questions about the vet practices standard et protocoles. These should be organized and ready before your first day. It will speed up your productivity. Some examples of effective questions might include:

– The fee for a medical exam (and the common procedures provided by the practice)

– The clinic’s vaccine protocols that are in place

– Clinic policies regarding heartworm or Lyme testing schedule

– Which patient management software do they use?

Showing your interest in their practice leaves the clinic with a good impression of you, giving them the impression you will be productive in a short while.

Be Proactive

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! When you are selected for an assignment, be prepared for your first day by being proactive. The day prior to your shift, call and confirm that you will be there and the time that you are supposed to arrive. This is a professional courtesy and it will be noticed by the clinic owner and staff. Always check your itinerary well before your first day. You will need to know the time that is required for travel. The day before arriving, be sure to check the weather forecast and travel conditions to anticipate any travel delays or if it will be necessary to take an alternate route. Ask where you can park your car, don’t tke the best spots: they should be left for the clients.

The Perfect Kit for a Perfect Locum

Gather all of the equipment and materials that you will need prior to your first day of work. By preparing a “locum kit” you will always be prepared for any assignment that comes your way. This is especially important if you already hold a full-time position and are supplementing your income through locum assignments. Not everyone brings all of their personal items home every day from their permanent clinic. By having a separate kit, you will not risk forgetting something at a different location. This kit should include items such as:

– Scrubs and uniform

– Proper footwear

– A stethoscope

– A drug dose handbook

– A name tag

– Gloves (If you are allergic to latex)

– A notebook and pen

– Dosimeter

Plan to pack a lunch and snacks (especially on your first day) because there may not be a place or enough time for you to buy food.

Be Professional

Always dress, look, and act professionally. The first impressionthat you make on the clinic owner, the team and the pet owners will be long-lasting[2]. You never want to risk your chances of a continuation of your contact, rehire, and your reputation by being or look unprofessional.

Always make a point of arriving a little early (prior to normal business hours) so that you can familiarize yourself with the layout of the clinic. Find the exam rooms, the treatment and possible boarding areas, and laboratory area . This shows everyone that you are ready to “hit the ground running”.

Bonus Items

If you want to know more about a practice, review their website. Review the information about the veterinarian(s) and the staff (including names if possible), services that they offer, hours of operation, and any affiliations. Chances are that you will fall in love with them. The time that you invest in preparation will go a long way.

Remember the veterinary world is small, and you always want to be known as the best!

[1]“Reachout Yourself: Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviewing.”| Epstein, H.A.B. 28 Feb 2018,


[2]”Clothing and People-A Social Signal Processing Perspective.”| Aghaei, M. et al, May 2017. 12th IEEE International Conference (pp. 532-537),