Where to Start…
There have been occasions where young people preparing to leave
school and enter the work force have been asked what type of work
they are seeking and the answer has generally been something like,
“ I would like to work with animals, so that I can care for
If you or someone you know is seeking to enter this line of work
then there are a number of steps to take to prepare you for your
• List in order of preference the animal you would most prefer
to work with.
e.g. 1st preference - Birds, specifically “companion birds”
2nd preference - Birds…………….Raptors
3rd preference - Aquarium fish.
You may prefer larger animals such as you would find on a farm;
for instance horses or sheep, or you may prefer reptiles.
• Make a list of places that deal with your preferred animals
.e.g. Pet shops, veterinary clinics, zoos and tourism wildlife parks,
animal refuge centres etc. List these places in order of close proximity
to your home. It will be easier for parents to drive you if it’s
• Prepare a brief resume which provides;
• your name and contact details,
• any studies ( formal or informal ) that you have undertaken,
• work experience gained; this may include assisting friends
and or neighbors in the care
• aviaries, kennels or aquariums.
Ask these people if they would be a referee for you.
• Write a short covering letter and attach it to your resume.
The covering letter should be addressed to the business owner or
the person responsible for the employment of staff or volunteers.
If you don’t know the name of the person, phone call the company
and ask them who you should address your application to.
At the time of your application the company may have sufficient
staff, however, they may consider you suitable, and offer you the
opportunity to volunteer for work experience. This is a great way
to gain valuable exposure and additional experience in your chosen
field and can be included onto your resume as additional experience.
Include in your covering letter a brief overview of some or all
of the following.
• Your current situation
• The tasks you could perform
• Other actions that could enhance the business, ie your friendly
approach and customer service capabilities.
• Include a sentence that may refer to the results that you
would expect, ie you may have the capacity to increase customer
awareness to a new product. This may lead to increased sales and
the customers pet would benefit.
• ASK if you could attend an interview at a time convenient
to them and sign off.
NOTE: It is important to communicate to the pet
industry employers your capacity to deliver a courteous and professional
service to their customers.
The Pet industry is undergoing changes with the introduction of
accredited training through the “Animal Care Training Management
Package”. Under the guidance of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory
Committee (PIJAC) people who are seeking to gain pet industry specific
training will be able to gain nationally recognized qualifications.
This type of initiative instigated by PIJAC will assist in the provision
of career pathways. This will enhance the skill levels of people
within the industry and improve the overall quality in service delivery.
There are a variety of courses available at TAFE and private colleges
that provide training in areas that relate to working with animals.
If you are successful in obtaining an interview as a result of
submitting your resume to an employer, the opportunity may arise
where the employer may invite questions from you about the position.
You may state that you are aware that the potential for training
is being developed and would it be possible that the employer could
offer advise and or support for you to undertake such training.
The employer should be impressed by your enthusiasm and initiative.
• Maintain a diary of the application letters that you have
sent to employers…
It may be that you have sent applications to many employers and
some may contact you even after a couple of months. If this should
happen, then your diary will help you to recall the details of your
• Follow up the applications you have sent…
Whether or not your resume generated a response, it is a good idea
after about 3 weeks to send a short letter to the employer (check
their details in your diary). Explain to them that you understand
that they may not have had a vacancy at the time of receiving your
original application, but that you are still available to have an
in interview with them at their convenience in hope that another
vacancy may be coming up, perhaps due to a busy period.
Your search for work with animals will be made more successful
by applying these strategies. By taking a systematic approach you
could go a long way towards eliminating the competition while presenting
yourself in the best possible way.
Information by Jim Cooney
The Pet Directory Careers & Employment Services