The American Pet Products Association estimates $58 billion will be spent in the United States on pets in 2014. We not only spend money on our fascinating and endearing companions, we consider them part of our family. With this upward trending focus on pets, it stands to reason there is also an upward rise in pet specific careers in the US and a parallel pursuit for the opportunity to work in the pet industry. Just like any other industry, an individual can prepare a thoughtful plan to penetrate the pet job market.
The below five tips will help land you a job related to pet products or services and help strengthen your chosen career path.
- Prepare a Pet Specific Resume
If you have not landed your first job in the pet industry, now is the time to edit your resume and make it pet friendly. Add any and all pet related jobs you have had, including pet sitting your neighbor’s kitty cat while they were on vacation. Be sure to include any rescues you have volunteered for, animal shelters and community pet related festivals. Put a personal bio at the bottom of your resume including any pets you have now, and the ones you grew up with. Pet related companies want to know you love animals! List any groups and organizations you are or have been active with in the past. You want your resume to reflect your dedication to animals and the experience you have with them.
- Identify and Contact the Top Five Companies of Your Choice
Make a list of the top companies you would love to work for. Use your list to do some research and ask around about their reputation. Identify the culture, pay, and management style. Check out on line employee reviews such as Glassdoor, for feedback on the companies from an employee’s perspective. Use your research to decide which five companies best match your personality and contact all of them. Use friends, family and business associates to give you an introduction. Linked In is also a great resource to get names of key people in human resources and management. Please note, blindly contacting someone on Linked In is NOT the way to approach a company. Use it as a tool, not as your avenue to get your foot in the door unless you already are connected or know someone very well who is connected. No cold calling is the rule of thumb, using Linked In for a job. Once you identify job opportunities and key contacts, send a nice cover letter letting them know your skill set. If you have a contact helping you network, be sure to utilize that person as your introduction. Have them introduce you if possible. Know what you are looking for in advance so you can help them help you.
- Identify and Contact Several Pet Specific Headhunters
Find recruiters who work at placing individuals in the pet industry like the Vet Recruiter. If you know people who work in the pet industry already, ask them if they can refer you to anyone. Linked In and Google are also good resources for your recruiter search. Speak with the recruiter before sending your resume so you can determine if she is a good match for you. Know what type of job you are looking for before speaking with the recruiter. Your new recruiter will need to know as much as possible to identify ideal opportunities for you!
- Petwork, Petwork, Petwork
Just like any other industry, the pet industry has some great ways to network. Get out there and meet folks who already work with animals, and especially those who have jobs you’d love to have! A great place to start is with your own Veterinarian. He may have ideas and knowledge about career fairs, key contacts and even job openings you can pursue. Do some general interviewing of your Vet by asking how he started in the pet industry and any tips he may have for you. Check out career fairs in your area ahead of time by looking at the list of companies that will be attending. Join groups on Linked In that are specific to pets and animals like Pet Professionals. Check out their job board and start to become active in discussions. Get your name out there and become friendly with other people who could very well be your key connection or future colleague!
- Sign up for Job Boards that Email You Opportunities
Signing up for a job board that emails you opportunities is probably one of the easiest ways to become familiar with what’s out there and who is hiring. You can read your list from the comfort of your own computer at your leisure too. Kritters that Twitter emails job openings in the pet industry a few times a month and also tweets them from @KritterKondo. To receive the emails with job openings, sign up here. Other job boards that will send pet specific openings to your email are Beyond.com and Monster.com.
These tips should get you started in the right direction. Keep your focus on your goals, but remember to keep a good peripheral view for any opportunities that start falling in your lap. The energy you will send out will also work itself! Happy hunting.