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.
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
Zookeeper, Henry Doorly Zoo
Animal-Wellbeing Intern, Henry Doorly Zoo
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:
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.
Tip: Read our advice on How to Explain Employment Gaps on a Resume.
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 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.
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
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.
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:
Be sure to use strong action verbs in each of your bullet points. Here are a few to get you started:
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!
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
Relevant Hard Skills
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.
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:
Still uncertain on what to include in this section? Review our guide on How to List Education on Your Resume in 2021.
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:
For more information on certifications, check out our guide on How to Include Certifications on Your Resume the Right Way.
Now it’s time for the fun part -- picking the aesthetics of your resume!
Here at EasyResume, we offer several different templates.
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.
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:
Start from our resume example to save time.
Enjoy taking care of the animals!