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How do I get hired if I have no job experience? I have animal experience but not at a clinic. How do I put into words that I have the skills needed for the job and I have the experience just not a paid one?

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I want to be a vet tech. I am taking a gap year to work and get money before I head off to college( I was enrolled in a college but due to financial issues I need to stay home and work). I need the animal experience and need/ want to work at a clinic. I have no job professional job experience however I do a lot of volunteering and have worked with animals through FFA and my agriculture classes. I have certificates and all the qualifications. How do I put on the application making it sound professional that while I have not been employed I have worked with teachers and shadowed vets getting me the knowledge and experience to work at a clinic? #job #career #volunteer #college #animals #vettech

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Caine’s Answer

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No matter what "industry" you find yourself in, you will also bring with you something we call "Cross-Transferable Skills".

Let's take your particular question as a prime example...

"I have animal experience but not at a clinic."

That statement doesn't tell the reader much. It's VERY generic. BUT... It's a great springboard for you to expand upon your experience.

Allow me to tell you a bit about myself. I am a Sr. IT Security Engineer. I have been working in the field of IT Engineering since as early as 1990/1991. I have zero formal training in animals. But... What if I put it to you this way...

I grew up living on a working dairy from the age of 5 years old until I turned 18. I can explain many aspects of the dairy business related to animal husbandry, care and feeding of cattle, milking of cows, milk quality control, and of course, the long, long hours of operation for the dairymen.

I also grew up with cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and tropical fish. I can explain the difference in the personality and behaviors of cats and dogs. I can tell you about my experience raising a rabbit as a pet. I can share with you my experience training my cat, dog, peacock, and rabbit how to get along.

I can go into even greater detail regarding the raising and keeping of tropical fish, My personal experience ranges from water sampling and pH balancing, water temperature, fish acclamation to new water, tank cleaning methods and procedures, water-to-fish ratios, fish procurement based on existing population, medical treatment and quarantine of sick fish, water based plants, feeding and schedules, etc.

As you can see, I am drawing upon my personal experience with animals to make my case.

Also - If you are involved in any online communities (such as this one) where you provide advice to others, make sure you mention that in your resume. Show others what you know. Make a YouTube channel. Write a blog. Contribute to online forums. If you are given the opportunity to speak at your school or an event about animals - DO IT! It's all about building your "identity" and becoming a professional in your field.

Thank You so much! Megan M. Translate
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Kim’s Answer

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You ask good questions! Stop, take a deep breath. It's not all that difficult! REALLY! I am assuming you are an adult, so, if you find me elsewhere, I am happy to work with you on your resume. I retired from the Texas Workforce Commission, and now volunteer at my local library.

Let me ask you a question that most of my previous customers didn't seem to be able to answer: What is the purpose of business?

I ask you that question because, believe it or not, your resume is NOT about you! Surprise! It's about what you can DO for the employer. The purpose of business is to make money. You need to show how you can help make or save money for an employer. When applying to jobs that you really want, take the time to tweak your resume - make sure to focus on the things the employer is looking for!

YOU own your resume. It is your marketing tool. You can call the sections whatever you want. I usually recommend calling it "experience" as opposed to "work history." Here you can list FFA, church carwashes, or whatever! But you don't simply LIST things. You have to expound on them. Sometimes, it's not what you say, but rather, how you say it.

Let's look at FFA.

You could say:

FFA : 2014 -2018, East Texas High School

Raised hogs, sheep, and turkeys and competed in ag shows.

or, you could say: (all under one FFA heading)

2018: Raised hogs. Maintained feed to weight ratio records, as well as all expense records. Complied with USDA medicating requirements for food chain livestock. Mentored first year students.

2017: Raised turkeys. Mixed feed according to teacher's instructions. Monitored enclosure for signs of predation.

(yes, I've been around FFA -been a "few" years!)


Get the idea? you want to show how you are going to help make or save money. That usually comes down to these things:

Regulatory Compliance (antibiotics!) Carding people when serving beer, etc.

Documentation (SOAP notes at the vet's office?) weight records on hogs

Safety (see below - restraint holds), predation concerns, etc.

Customer Service: irate customers get on the internet. not good!

Sales: Money handling, accuracy

Personal traits - dependable and trustworthy - you come to work and you don't steal. You don't shy away from challenges. Remember to include something that shows you embrace technology.


Internship 2018, Good Friends Veterinary Clinic

Shadowed vets and vet techs as they met with customers. Observed methods used to elicit information about the pet's behavior, explain findings and treatments, and ensure customers understood the treatment plan.

Assisted techs in calming and restraining dogs and cats, following proper restraint procedures of the clinic.

Sanitized exam rooms between patients.


I highly recommend the website Gotresumebuilder.com for writing your resume. It is free to anyone with a student ID or library card. It lets you add, delete, rearrange, and rename the sections under "manage resume sections" and it's pretty fast to play with the different layouts!

Also, you want to grab their attention on the top 1/3 of your resume. You may want to move school to the bottom, which, honestly is where it normally goes. Delete the "objective." Or rename it to "summary of qualifications." AFTER you have entered all your experience and education, go back and write the summary, which goes at the TOP. It is the best of the best. Whatever they absolutely HAVE to know about you if they don't read anything else. Summarize it in this section. Use bullets here and in Experience section as well.


I once worked with a young lady who wanted a job at a doggy daycare facility but her only experience was fast food. We got her resume looking pretty good, using the Transferable Skills. Sometimes you have to really show how the two relate:

Sanitized grill every evening to prevent food contamination and infectious diseases. (daycare emphasized importance of picking up poop). You want to remember this concept of transferable skills throughout your career!

You've got this! Make sure to talk to people from school, vet clinic, FFA etc to ask if you can use them as references. You will need to have their phone number and email address where they can be reached even over summer vacation. Keep at it! Are you volunteering at a shelter? Have you considered applying for adoption counselor positions (they make sure people and pets are a good match).

Let me know if you have any questions!


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Dayton’s Answer

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One thing I never learned in school (because they don't really teach it) is this: Getting a job is a skill. And it's a skill that doesn't bear a lot of direct relevance to the kinds of work most jobs want you to do.

Specifically, it's a salesmanship skill. You are selling your services to the folks you're asking to hire you. After all, you want them to pay for those services, right? The important question is this: Why would they buy *yours* when they could buy someone else's? They're going to be asking themselves that question. It needs answering, and *you* are the one who has to supply it.

"I have extensive work experience" is a good shortcut for "knows what they're doing", which is why it's important. But you can work around this.

Think about how salesman sell people things. Think about what you would want to know if you were going to hire (say) a construction contractor to build an addition to your house.

I don't know what the qualifications for a vet tech are, but you say you do. So list out the main qualifications, and make the strongest case you can make (in a few sentences each; nobody listens to a 4-hour sales pitch) that you know what you're doing. Include references to the volunteering you've done. Demonstrate that you have experience, and you understand why it is directly applicable.

Also: Use your connections. Talk to the places you volunteer at. If you get lucky, they can hire you as a vet tech. Even if they can't, they might be able to refer you somewhere that does. Then emphasise your volunteer work for the place that referred you, and use people there as references. (The goal, again, is to convince someone your services are worth purchasing; if a prospective employer sees you were referred by someone they know personally / worked with before / worked at a place they know has a good reputation - that helps a lot.)


Caine’s Answer

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I re-read your question/statements...

Here's a sample resume based on what you wrote to get you started. You will need to edit this with your own information.

Sample Resume

Megan M.

Address, City State, Zip


Email Address


I want to be a veterinarian technician.


High School, Start Date - End Date, Graduated (Diploma/GED)

  • Honors
  • Honors
  • FFA Member, Start Date - End Date, Focus (ie Animal Husbandry)


  • Certification, Date Acquired, Expiration Date, Certification Number
  • Certification, Date Acquired, Expiration Date, Certification Number
  • Certification, Date Acquired, Expiration Date, Certification Number


Agency/Clinic, Start Date - End Date, Position

  • Duties In the form of an accomplishment statement (see examples)
  • Assisted lead veterinarian during exams of all dogs and cats
  • Maintained required records of euthanized animals
  • Cleaned cages and holding areas
  • Provided food and water at regular intervals

School/Instructor, Start Date - End Date, Position

  • Animal handler for instructor during class presentations
  • Assisted with transportation of animals to and from exhibit locations


Amy’s Answer

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Have you considered volunteering for an animal rescue? Often, they rescue injured animals. You can learn about medical conditions also associated with neglect (it's sad, I know). You can find projects on www.VolunteerCrowd.com. Just add your city and select the cause 'animals'. This is a website specifically for students who want to find volunteer opportunities.