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10 Animal Career Job Search Tips

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You can maximize your chances of finding a position by following a few simple guidelines:

1. Research potential employers:

Women working in veterinary hospital
John Wood Photography/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Often it is best to identify a few businesses that you would like to work for and then learn all you can about them before you apply.  Follow them on Twitter, try to find connections on LinkedIn, and subscribe to their online newsletter or blog.  Read everything that is available on their website.  When you apply for a position there you will have a leg up on the competition if you can demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about their business.

2. Customize each cover letter:

Do your best to find out to whom you should address your letter.  This can be as simple as calling the company or searching their website.  Try not to use the generic “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” unless you absolutely cannot find specific contact information.  Also, try to include something in the cover letter that shows you have done research on the specific company you are applying to.  This can make a big difference.

3. Be creative:

Many animal careers are not formally offered through print or online classifieds.  These jobs are often advertised through word of mouth, referrals, and local trade association newsletters and websites.   Some employers may not be actively hiring, but they may decide to hire you anyway if you are well qualified and present yourself well.  You have to be proactive to find jobs in the current market.

4. Craft multiple resumes:

Make sure the resume you submit to an employer emphasizes your skill set for that job.  If a job listing seeks specific abilities, make sure you have highlighted those relevant qualifications.  Don’t assume that one resume will fit all potential job listings.

5. Point out transferrable skills:

For example, if you are trying to transition from a position as a horse groom to one as a vet tech, highlight the medical skills you learned from working in the barns, such as administering medications, bandaging legs, treating wounds, and giving shots.  If a vet tech is trying to find a pharmaceutical sales rep job, they should point out their knowledge of medicine, client relations, etc.  For those coming from a non-animal related career, be sure to mention any volunteer work you may have done with animals plus skills which will relate to the position you are seeking.

6. Consider temp or part time jobs:

Sometimes you can’t find a full time job right away.  Try applying to a temp placement agency or look for a part time position.  Once you have the temporary position you can showcase your abilities and potentially turn it into a full time opportunity.  Even if the job doesn’t end up being a long-term fit, you will be getting a paycheck and gaining valuable experience that you can use on your resume.

7. Network via social media:

It is very important to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make connections that can help you with your job search.  Use the various social media outlets to make contact with old business associates, classmates, and professors.  Also, make sure the photos displayed on your sites are appropriate.  Many employers look at social media as a part of their selection process and you want to put your best foot forward.

8. Study your industry:

Read trade publications, visit relevant websites, and stay informed about current events that could impact your field of interest.  It is also wise to join professional associations, as these groups may alert members to opportunities that have not been widely publicized.

9. Consider relocation:

You may have to move to a different location to find the right opportunity, especially if you are working in a highly specialized field.

10. Prepare for your interview:

Your resume gets you in the door, but it is up to you to sell your abilities once you get there.  Practice your answers to standard interview questions, and come up with a few questions to ask your interviewer.

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