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The Pet Directory Careers Article - Finding a Job

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Finding a Job - Working With Animals
by Jim Cooney
As published in The Pet Directory QLD, NT & WA Edition


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 them”.

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 application.
• 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 close.

• 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
of their
• 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 Directory Careers Article - Finding a Job


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.

The Pet Directory Careers Article - Finding a Job

Follow up…

• 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 application.

• 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



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