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The animal care field is becoming increasingly popular and competitive making  it difficult to secure a career in this profession. With employers reviewing dozens of resumes for a single job opening, it’s important to fill your resume with as much experience and skills as possible to set you apart from others. In this article, I provide you with some inspiration on how to gain this experience and enter into the animal care field. With or without an educational background in the field – these options can undoubtedly work to impress potential employers!

Animal Care Career Options

First, let’s discuss various careers available in the animal care field which reveals the diversity of potential opportunities available. On the medical side, there are opportunities within veterinary medicine such as veterinarians, veterinary technicians, or veterinary assistants. If you’re interested in the socialization and handling aspect of animal care, there are careers at dog daycares/kennels, grooming facilities, and animal shelters to name a few. Those looking to enter the animal care field share a passion and love for pets, however, the focus of their passion varies. It’s important to consider which specific career you’re looking to secure for yourself so that you can use the following tips to build and tailor your resume to achieve that goal!

Volunteering

Various organizations accept and appreciate volunteers making this be one of the easiest and most valuable methods to enter the animal care field. Not only does a volunteer position grant you hands-on experience but it can also be the source of letters of recommendation and references for your resume. This will help establish yourself as a skilled and experienced individual which can work to impress potential employers. Volunteer positions are usually quite flexible as well, making it easier to fit this commitment in your schedule. Animal shelters, animal rescues (cat, dog, wildlife rescues and more), and even vet clinics offer volunteer positions! Finding these opportunities may take some research, peeking on their websites or sending them an email inquiring about potential volunteer positions available, but it’s definitely worth your time and effort.

Side Jobs

Side jobs are a great way to make some extra money and gain some relevant experience at the same time! Side jobs like dog/cat sitting and dog walking, are great ideas on how to get your foot in the door of the animal care field. Some responsibilities  involve the basics of animal care such as basic dog handling and/or feeding and socializing with them. Considering the current pandemic and the pet boom that’s resulted from it, there are a lot more pet owners that may be eager to have someone walk their pet or look after them for a while. If you have a pet of your own, these side jobs will be even easier for you as you won’t be doing anything that you’re not already familiar with! Although this may seem like a small side job with minimal financial profit, you’d be surprised with how fast your reputation may spread! Happy clients means raving reviews and more clients!

Professional Training

As discussed prior, hands-on experience- whether that’s through volunteer or paid work- is crucial to  building your portfolio. However, education and training yourself further also gives you a leg up on others. For example, Canine Foundations is a highly reputable organization that offers certification courses on various aspects of the animal care field, such as dog walking, daycare training, basic dog handling, and canine first aid. Although these courses do cost money, it’s an option to consider towards building your experience and knowledge in the field.

Diverse Wants and Requirements

Remember, every employer is different! Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t meet the requirements of applying for a job. All employers have different wants and needs when looking to hire a new employee. But with the right amount of persistence and optimism, you’ll find the  right job for you! 

As the animal care field continues to grow in popularity, it’s important to build upon your experience and knowledge while simultaneously building your resume. Through the ideas discussed in this article, you’ll be well on your way to  transforming yourself into an impressive candidate for an animal care position! That being said, one of the most important aspects of entering into the field is having a love for animals. With this in mind, be confident in the fact that you belong on this career path!  

Megan Weise

York U '23

Through its many forms, writing has always been my outlet for expressing myself and my thoughts. Through my contributions to Her Campus at York U, I'm excited to share my passions and ideas with others!
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