How to Get an Animal Sales Job
Animal sales careers are often difficult to secure, as there is always a great deal of competition for these potentially high paying opportunities. A skilled sales associate can earn a great deal if they are able to secure contracts with customers (especially if the compensation package includes commission-based pay).
It is certainly possible to increase your chances of being hired in the animal sales industry if you gain the right types of experience and education. Here are some ways to make yourself a more attractive candidate for animal sales positions:
Choose a Career Path
A candidate who is interested in the field of animal sales should begin by determining what specific type of sales they are interested in pursuing professionally. Popular animal-related sales career paths include veterinary pharmaceutical sales rep, pet product sales rep, livestock feed sales rep, pet food sales rep, equine product sales rep, pet insurance sales rep, or equine insurance sales rep. Defining a specific area of interest early on allows a student to tailor their college courses and internships to build a strong resume that will draw interest from employers.
It is very important to fully research the specific career path before committing to it. This background research might involve arranging a meeting with a professional in the field, researching careers online, and reading career guides or professional publications. Meeting with someone who works in your field of interest can be an invaluable resource and is highly recommended.
Most animal sales representatives have at least a four year Bachelor of Science degree in a field related to marketing, animal science, biology, zoology, veterinary technology, or business. Those with higher level graduate degrees or extensive practical experience will have the best opportunities in the field.
Sales representatives should have a solid knowledge of their industry, strong communication skills, and the ability to persuade prospective clients to try the product that they represent. Most new recruits must complete a training course with their employer before having the chance to interact with clients. There are also several certification courses available to sales professionals that can boost a candidate’s sales credentials.
Gain Practical Experience
Completing an internship is one of the best ways to gain hands on experience in the animal sales field. Many companies have programs designed to expose students to opportunities in the industry. Internship programs are available in veterinary pharmaceutical sales, animal nutrition, and more.
Many of these internships are offered in 8 to 12 week summer sessions. Some internships also run for semester-long sessions, and college credit may also be available for students who complete these experiences if it is arranged in advance with their institution.
If it is not possible to find an opportunity with a sales company, you might benefit from working with animals directly at zoos, aquariums, humane societies, stables, or veterinary clinics. Sales experience gained through other non-animal related sales agencies will also be valued, as sales skills are readily transferable from one industry to another.
Find an Opportunity
Animal sales jobs may be advertised in trade publications (both in print and online). Colleges and universities often get advance notice of jobs that might be of interest to their students, so be sure to subscribe to any job related email lists your educational institution may offer.
Opportunities may also be found through a search of job sites such as AnimalHealthJobs.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and a variety of recruiter sites. You can also search through company websites to see if an employer has a job posted that might be of interest (major employers like Bayer, Merck, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Alltech, Purina, and Zoetis often post vacancies on their websites).
Even if there are no jobs listed, be sure to send a resume and cover letter to organizations that you are interested in working for. You never know when an unadvertised position might suddenly pop up. Be sure to also inquire about any possible internship opportunities, which are a great way to get your foot in the door for future positions. Your college or university may also be able to help with job placement, so ask your advisor and professors about any connections they might be able to help you make with industry professionals.