How to Write an Animal Shelter Resume That Gets You Noticed

Updated 12 September 2023

A high-quality resume can show a recruiter or employer that you're the best person for a job at an animal shelter. A well-written resume shows how your skills and experience can help you care for animals and keep the shelter running smoothly. Your resume can help you secure an interview for any paid or volunteer animal shelter role, including animal attendant, veterinary nurse, volunteer coordinator or shelter manager.

In this article, we explain how to write a resume for an animal shelter job, provide an example of a good animal shelter resume and share resume writing tips.

How to write an animal shelter resume

Here are the common steps for writing an animal shelter resume:

1. Provide your contact details

Writing your full name and contact details at the top of your resume helps the employer contact you for an interview. Most people include a phone number and email address. Listing your city and state or territory shows the employer you live close to the animal shelter. Employers may prefer local employees as they know they can easily get to the shelter and arrive punctually for shifts.

2. Write a professional summary

Write two or three sentences explaining who you are and why you're applying for the position. A good professional summary introduces your and your career goals. It also tells the employer why you'd be a valuable employee. Try to write a professional summary that convinces your recipient to keep reading your resume.

Related: 10 Careers in Animal Welfare With Duties and Salary

3. Add relevant sections

Add sections relevant to your experience and the animal shelter job you're applying for. As shelter jobs are diverse, some sections are more relevant for some roles than others. Including the most relevant sections makes it easy for employers to find the information they need to judge your suitability for the job. Here are some common sections for a resume:

  • Work experience: List relevant paid and volunteer jobs in reverse chronological order, with a list of your key tasks and achievements underneath each job title. While experience in animal shelters is the most relevant, you could include any jobs showing you're responsible or good with animals if you have limited work experience.

  • Education: Include a list of your qualifications and periods of study. Work backward, listing your current or most recent study period first.

  • Key skills: List five to 10 skills relevant to the animal shelter job you're applying for. Including hard and soft skills can show you're a well-rounded employee.

  • Awards and achievements: If you have received awards or achieved notable feats outside your career, you can include them in a separate section. This section can tell employers more about your personality and dedication.

  • Hobbies and interests: A list of hobbies and interests can reveal more about your personality. Remember to include any interests related to animals.

4. End with a references section

A references section tells an employer what to do next if they want to speak to your references. You could include a statement that references are available on request. You could also list your references, their relationship to you and their contact details.

Example of a resume for an animal shelter job

Here's an example of a resume that you might submit when applying for a job at an animal shelter:

Jennifer Smith
Wollongong, NSW | 0402 945 597 |

Professional Summary
5+ years of experience as a dog walker and junior animal shelter attendant hoping to transition to a senior animal attendant role. Hard-working, organised and caring person who loves animals and giving back to my community.

Work Experience
Junior animal attendant
Wollongong Care Shelter, NSW, 2020-current

  • Prepare and serve food and water for shelter animals, including several with special dietary needs

  • Clean and disinfect animal enclosures

  • Bathe and groom small to large dogs

  • Give animals medication under vet's supervision

  • Walk and play with dogs

Dog walker
Freelance, Wollongong and surrounding suburbs, NSW, 2016-2021

  • Walked 20 local dogs of various breeds, including up to four well-socialised dogs at once

  • Monitored dogs and notified owners of any signs of illness or injury

  • Scheduled dog walking appointments

Volunteer dog walker
Wollongong Care Shelter, NSW, 2019-2020

  • Walked shelter dogs of various breeds for mental stimulation and physical exercise

  • Monitored dogs and reported any signs of illness or injury to shelter employees

  • Picked up waste and disposed of it

Certificate III in Animal Studies
Wollongong TAFE, completed 2019

Higher School Certificate
Wollongong High School, 2017

Key Skills
Animal handling, customer service, written and verbal communication, organisation, time management, physical fitness, self-management, teamwork, flexibility

Awards and Achievements
NSW driver's licence

  • Achieved provisional in 2021 driving a manual vehicle and have full points

Hobbies and Interests
Bushwalking with my cavoodle Rusty, volunteering at my niece's school canteen, pet-sitting my friend's cat, meeting new people, camping

Tips for writing a resume for an animal shelter role

Here are some tips that can help you write a resume that gets noticed by recruiters and animal shelter hiring managers:

Customise your resume for each role

Adjusting your resume every time you apply for a role can show an employer you're well suited to that specific animal shelter position. Jobs in animal shelters are diverse. You might emphasise your leadership and organisation skills when applying for supervisor roles. Animal handling and diagnostic skills are more important for vet roles. Even if you're applying for similar roles, individual job descriptions vary slightly. Matching your resume's language to the job posting can show you meet each position's specific requirements. Using the same terms as the job posting can also help your resume pass through applicant tracking software (ATS).

Related: How to Become an Animal Attendant (with Steps and FAQs)

Research the animal shelter

Job postings typically tell you about the animal shelter and its vacant position. You can learn more about the shelter by viewing its website and social media pages. Becoming familiar with the shelter and its corporate culture can help you write a resume that appeals to the hiring manager. For example, if the shelter has a fun culture, you might show your personality by adding a hobbies and interests section. If it seems more conservative, you might leave this optional section off your resume.

Ensure your resume is easily scanned

Employers and recruiters are busy, so they tend to scan resumes, rather than reading every word. Making sure your resume is easily scanned helps them digest as much information from your resume as possible. Writing concise bullet points, ideally less than two lines, is a good way to achieve this. Emphasising your resume sections with bold type also helps. Standard fonts, such as Times New Roman and Calibri, are more easily scanned than more decorate fonts.

Related: How to Write a Dog Walker Resume (with Tips and Example)

Be concise

As you become more experienced, it can be tempting to lengthen your resume. Resisting this urge and keeping your resume brief ensures the most important information on your resume is easy to identify. It's good practice to include five bullet points for any current jobs and cut back to three bullet points for past jobs. If you change jobs regularly, you might restrict your work history to the last 10 years.

Include volunteer experience

Any volunteer experience is valuable for an animal shelter role as it shows you care about giving back to your community, as animal shelters do. Including all your volunteer experience can help a hiring manager or recruiter learn more about your character. You could include regular volunteer work in your work experience section and less regular or relevant volunteer experience in your hobbies and interests section.

Related: Everything You Need to Know about Volunteer Experience

Consider gaining extra qualifications to boost your resume

Education is optional for many animal shelter roles. Animal-related qualifications can give you an advantage over other candidates, even if these qualifications are optional. Courses such as a Certificate II or Certificate III in Animal Studies can improve your animal handling skills and understanding of animal care. They can also prove to a shelter that you have strong skills and knowledge. Adding these qualifications to your resume can be especially helpful if you have limited experience working with animals or in shelters.

Proofread your resume carefully

Proofreading your resume can help you spot spelling and grammatical errors before you submit it. This process can also help you identify gaps on your resume and points that you could make stronger. If possible, it's a good idea to proofread your resume a day or two after writing it. Time away from your resume helps you see it more objectively and spot more areas for improvement. After careful proofreading, you can submit a resume that's more polished and professional.

Related: How to Write an Animal Care Cover Letter (with Example)

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