Zookeeper Resume Example

Zookeeper jobs are expected to grow at 22% over the next decade -- that’s WAY faster than average! To capitalize on this, let’s make you a stellar resume.

Katerina Frye
Written by Katerina Frye • Last updated on Jul 06, 2021
Zookeeper Resume Example
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Zookeepers attend to and train a variety of animals at wildlife refuges and zoos. Not only do they feed the animals, but they also enrich their lives by providing playthings and training. 

In this article, we’ll discuss

  1. Which format is right for your resume
  2. How to write a resume summary 
  3. Describing your work experience
  4. Listing your skills
  5. Including your education 
  6. Naming your certifications
  7. Choosing the right template

Zookeeper Sample Resume 

Zookeeper, Henry Doorly Zoo

  • Cleaned out cages bi-weekly and changed the animals’ bedding
  • Recorded lions and tigers’ health in daily reports, monitoring their energy levels, eating and sleeping habits
  • Administered medications to sick animals under veterinary supervision 
  • Ensured cages were secure to prevent mishaps and accidents
  • Maintained habitat conditions in accordance with animals’ natural preferences for temperature and humidity
  • Gave information and educational talks to Zoo visitors for “Feline Fridays,” incurring audiences of 50+ individuals  
  • Prepared food such as pellets, fresh produce, meat or hay in accordance with animal’s needs, and followed safety procedures to prevent mishandling 
  • Observed animals and checked for any signs of distress or ill health
  • Designed, built, and repaired the lion habitat to encompass a larger area and include a greater variety of flora; earned the The AAZK Excellence in Exhibit Renovation Award
  • Implemented creative ideas for animal enrichment, including blood popsicles for the big cats and pumpkins around autumn holidays 
  • Collaborated with other keepers and vets to create specialized plans and diets 
  • Assisted with lion breeding procedures, specifically slowly introducing the new animals to each other in accordance with AZA standards
  • Monitored lion cubs to ensure they were properly cared for by the mother; in several instances had to relocate them to the animal hospital for better nutrition, saving the lives of 3 cubs
  • Trained 4 lions using reward-based systems to make feeding, medicating and monitoring easier and safer

Animal-Wellbeing Intern, Henry Doorly Zoo

  • Completed 135+ hours of volunteer time
  • Created colorful and interesting presentations using PowerPoint software for Head Zookeepers to present to the public
  • Developed an independent research project on lions’ diet and the prevalence of bone gnawing for nutrition versus pleasure or boredom 
  • Presented research findings to a committee of 10 Zoo Board Members
  • Wrote a grant proposal for funding of $10,000 for the research project 
  • Entered Zookeeper’s daily data on animal behavior into Excel and Zoo software   
  • Assisted Zookeeper’s with the animals’ daily feedings, properly following all safety protocol
  • Cleaned out lions’ habitats and sleeping cages
  • Observed lions’ behaviors and created a brochure for the public describing each lions’ unique personalities
  • Awarded the AAZK Research Award 

1. Choose the Right Format for a Zookeeper Resume

The first step to drafting your resume is deciding which resume format to use. This depends on your career experience and skillset. 

You have 3 main options for your resume:

  1. Reverse-Chronological -- this is the most commonly used resume format. With this structure, place your most recent jobs first, followed by the next most recent job, and ending with your oldest position. 
Tip: only include jobs relevant to the position to which you’re applying, so leave out any former jobs that don’t fit. For example, you would include previous positions like Dog Trainer or Veterinarian Assistant since there is considerable overlap with a Zookeeper.  
  1. Functional -- this format is best for people who have been out of the workforce for a while, perhaps because they had to care for children or an elderly parent. This format will have headers like “Animal Care” and “Administrative Support” with their respective skills listed in bullet points below. At the very end of the resume, include a brief snapshot of your work experience.  
Tip: Read our advice on How to Explain Employment Gaps on a Resume
  1. Hybrid / Combination -- this format is a mix of both Functional and Reverse-Chronological. It provides more detailed work experience descriptions that would typically be seen in the latter, while still offering a bulleted list of skills.  
Tip: When in doubt, choose the Reverse-Chronological resume format. For more details, check out our guide on How to Write Your Resume in Reverse-Chronological Order

For a Zookeeper, hiring managers want to glance at your resume and get a sense of the following:

  • The length of time you’ve worked in the animal care industry 
  • Any awards you’ve received
  • Your passion and compassion for animals
  • Animals you’re knowledgeable about and familiar with 

The best format for a Zookeeper is the Reverse-Chronological resume format. This is because it shows the trajectory of your career -- how you’ve grown professionally and expanded your work experience and knowledge base. Check out our advice on How to Show Your Job Promotions on a Resume for more details. 

 2. Write a Strong Zookeeper Resume Summary

Did you know that hiring managers only look at resumes for 6 seconds on average?

While this is certainly an optional section, your resume summary is one of the best ways to succeed in that short glance.

But first --- what is a resume summary?

A resume summary is one or two sentences at the top of your paper that summarizes your entire resume. It’s the punch line that gets the resume reviewer wanting to know more.

For a Zookeeper career, include the following points in your summary

  • The amount of time you’ve worked as a Zookeeper or in the animal care industry 
  • Any accomplishments or outstanding work you’ve done 
  • An adjective or two conveying your personality, such as “patient,” “dependable,” “compassionate” or “dedicated” 

Here is an example of a bad resume summary: 

Experienced Zookeeper with a passion for animals.

This is a bad resume summary because it is vague -- what does “experienced” mean -- and it doesn’t give any sense of your skills, accomplishments, or specialties. Furthermore, there is nothing that sets you apart from the rest of the Zookeepers clamoring to get a job. 

Here is an example of a good resume summary: 

Passionate Zookeeper dedicated to providing quality care and enrichment to a variety of exotic animals, specializing in lions. 4+ years of experience training animals in a calm and patient manner while ensuring their health and safety. Recipient of the 2019 The AAZK Excellence in Exhibit Renovation Award.  Eager to improve the livelihoods of other lions or large felines as a Head Zookeeper. 

This is a good resume summary because it gives a sense of you -- passionate, dedicated, calm and patient. It also tells the employer that you’re experienced in caring for and training animals. And adding a major accomplishment like the The AAZK Excellence in Exhibit Renovation Award will definitely help you to stand out! Lastly, the resume summary has an objective -- that you want a position as Head Zookeeper for lions or other big cats.

A Resume Objective tells the employer what kind of position you are seeking. 

While this is certainly optional, it can help employers understand what you want from them and what you can offer. Put another way, a resume objective clarifies your intentions to employers. Plus, it can help to show why you are a good fit for the job.

For more information, checkout our guide on How to Write a Killer Resume Summary. Or, browse our Resume Summary Examples

3. Describe Your Work Experience as a Zookeeper

The next step to drafting your resume is to list your work experience. This includes the name of your position (See: The Right Way to List Job Titles on a Resume), the name of the location at which you worked, and the length of time in which you worked. 

Your work experience should include the following:

  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Years worked
  • Location
  • Job description

Be sure to use strong action verbs in each of your bullet points. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Administered
  • Analyzed
  • Assisted
  • Cleaned
  • Documented 
  • Fed
  • Monitored 
  • Observed
  • Provided
  • Recorded
  • Reported
  • Researched
  • Trained

Furthermore, write your resume experience in a way that anyone in your industry will understand. Don't use company-specific language.

For example, let’s say you worked at a place that called “hay” “crunchy grass.” Not everyone is going to know what this means, so it’s best to stick with the common name, otherwise a hiring manager may not know what you’re talking about, and if the manager is confused, they’re more likely to throw out your resume and move onto the next.  

You should also quantify your resume whenever possible. This means adding a number -- such as a dollar amount or percentage -- to your accomplishments. Quantifying your resume gives the hiring manager a more concrete idea of your workplace performance. For example, say that you “trained 2 employees,” “improved Polar Bear’s blood sugar levels by 20%,” or “brought the zoo $20,000 in research grants.”   

Tip: One way to quantify your resume is by listing your accomplishments and awards. These can be awards from your workplace, like Employee of the Month, or awards from your industry

For more information on how to format your work experience, check out our guide on How to Describe Work Experience

Don’t have any work experience? We have a guide for Writing a Resume with No Work Experience!

4. List Your Skills

Skills show the hiring manager what you can do for the company -- without taking up too much space in the “work experience” part of your resume.

There are two types of skills -- soft and hard. “Soft” skills are those that are not quantifiable and are more indicative of your personality. Examples include leadership, problem-solving, and communication. In contrast, “hard” skills are those that are learned through formal education. Examples include computer technology, programming and foreign languages, and certifications.  

Zookeepers need to have both hard and soft skills. Patience, a soft skill, is vital to working with animals, since they can be stubborn or scared. You must also have “hard skills” like math and writing, since you’ll be weighing animals, administering food or medicine, adn writing daily reports.  

Relevant Soft Skills

  • Patience
  • Physical Stamina
  • Communication
  • Love for Animals
  • Problem-Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Compassion 
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Reliable

Relevant Hard Skills

  • Driver’s License
  • Scientific Observation & Analysis Skills
  • Math Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • Physical Fitness
  • Public Speaking Skills
  • Computer Skills
  • Knowledge of Animal Behaviors
  • Knowledge of Animal Physiology
  • Behavior Management Skills
  • Animal Diet and Nutrition
Tip: When completing this section on your resume, review the employers’ job requirements. Try to incorporate some of the language they use. For example, if the job description states they need someone who has “exceptional communication skills, good organizational skills, and the ability to work independently and within a team,” then be sure to include some of these keywords. List “Communication” and “Organization” under the skills section. 

If you want a more complete list of skills, read our guide on 100+ Key Skills for a Resume in 2021 with Examples for any Job.

5. Include an Education Section 

Zookeepers usually need a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Biology, Marine Biology Zoology, or Animal Science. Since this is a very competitive field, most employers want to see that you have some experience. Most Zookeepers begin acquiring their experience by volunteering. You can volunteer at a zoo, animal hospital, or wildlife refuge to get your foot in the door! 

When writing your education section, be sure to include:

  • The name of the school — e.g. “Aurora High School” or “The University of Nebraska”
  • The location of the school
  • Your degree (high-school diploma, GED, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, etc.)
  • Graduation year (if applicable)
  • Major field or department of study (if applicable)
  • Minor field or department of study (if applicable and relevant)
  • GPA (If you're a student or graduates who held lower GPAs, this bit of information may be good to omit unless specifically requested by the employer)

Still uncertain on what to include in this section? Review our guide on How to List Education on Your Resume in 2021

6. Mention Certifications Relevant to Being a Zookeeper

Certifications show employers that you’re expanding on your skills and diversifying your experiences. Not only are you more knowledgeable, but you’re also more employable. 

While Zookeepers do not need any specific certifications, having a few under your belt never hurts! 

If you’re working with marine animals, or planning on doing research out in the wild, consider a Scuba Diving Certification or Boat License. As for First Aid and CPR, you’ll never know when you’ll need it! 

Certification programs include:

  • Scuba Diving Certification 
  • First Aid Certification 
  • Boat License
  • Animal Training Certifications

For more information on certifications, check out our guide on How to Include Certifications on Your Resume the Right Way.

7. Pick the Right Template

Now it’s time for the fun part -- picking the aesthetics of your resume! 

Here at EasyResume, we offer several different templates. 

  • Academic: these resumes are professionally structured with minimal aesthetics in order to provide a clear and concise glimpse of your experiences. This is best for current students or those looking to pursue a career in an academic field as a researcher or teacher. 
  • Creative: these resumes are bold and colorful with eye-catching fonts to help you stand out from the crowd. This is best for those in creative fields like marketing and art. 
  • Elegant: these resumes are contemporary and stylish in a way that highlights you and your experiences. This is best for those in fields that prefer austerity, such as the healthcare and finance industries. 
  • Modern: these resumes have sleek designs that are fresh and bold with tasteful fonts and clean lines. This is best for individuals applying to startups or to companies with a young audience or product.
  • Professional: these resumes have a clean, crisp look that incorporates only one or two accent colors. The focus is solely on the text, pulling the recruiter into your experiences and accomplishments. This is best for individuals applying to straight-laced companies that mandate a suit-and-tie dress code.  

Your resume template should reflect the job to which you’re applying. For a Zookeeper career, try a Professional or Traditional format. These will showcase your abilities while maintaining a sharp and polished look. 

If you want to create your own template, read how with our Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create a Resume Template in Microsoft Word

8. Takeaways

We’ve done it! Almost. 

Now it’s time to get down to business -- actually creating the resume. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  • Research the job description to locate keywords
  • Use a Reverse-Chronological resume layout
  • Write your resume summary, including the length of time you’ve worked in the industry and any special skills or accomplishments you have
  • Include your education and relevant certifications
  • Write your experience section in a way that any outsider could understand. Talk more about the how and why of your responsibilities. Quantify your results.
  • Pick a resume template that fits the position to which you’re applying, such as Professional or Traditional .

Start from our resume example to save time.

Enjoy taking care of the animals!

Katerina Frye
With a background in Psychology and Marketing, Katerina devotes her time to understand people, their careers, and their goals to help them succeed. She also has experience in social media, science writing, and fiction. When she isn't writing, she's hitting the gym, playing with her cats, or eating chocolate.
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