There are a number of job search sites that can help zoo career seekers to find employment opportunities in the industry. While networking and searching local listings can be a big part of finding desirable positions, using online options can help qualified candidates to broaden their search to encompass all possible opportunities.
Job Search Sites
The largest collection of job postings for zoo careers can be found on the website of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The AZA site lists hundreds of active job postings at any given time, with positions ranging from internships to seasonal work to full-time employment. Employers advertising on the site at the time of this article included Walt Disney World, major aquariums, wildlife conservation groups, and independent zoos and animal facilities across the United States. Many positions have salary and position duties outlined in detail on the site, so it is also a great place to do a little research on what a particular job would entail and how much one could expect to earn.
The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) is another organization that posts a variety of job listings on its website. A few dozen listings were offered at the time of this writing, mainly keeper positions but a few management and curatorial positions as well. The site also lists volunteer and internship opportunities.
The Zoological Association of America (ZAA) is a membership organization that also maintains a job board on its website, with a few recent listings. Positions for keepers, curators, and interns were offered at the time of this writing. This site does not appear to have many new listings but is worth a quick check during the search process.
Individual zoo websites such as Zoo Atlanta, the Bronx Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, and other specific zoo sites also tend to post position openings when they become available. While many or most of these positions are also listed on the AZA website, it never hurts to keep a close eye on what the individual zoo organizations are offering on their employment pages. Also, some organizations may not be members or choose not to advertise with the AZA, so the AZA cannot be considered an absolutely comprehensive listing of all available options (though it appears to come very close to that ideal).
Other major sites that are not specifically designed for zoo career searches may also be useful to zoo job seekers. Employment sites such as Monster.com, Indeed.com, and CareerBuilder.com often carry zoo related job listings in their large databases of career opportunities. The most frequently posted jobs on these sites appear to be zookeeper and veterinary positions.
Additional zoo career opportunities may be identified through searches of university career websites, zoo internship sites, marine animal internship sites, and animal science or wildlife-related job search sites.
Other sources for zoo job advertisements may include animal-related magazines, newsletters, and professional journals, both in print and online. If you are still in school, your college may also be able to help with job placement, so be sure to ask your advisor and other professors about any referrals they might be able to offer.
Even if there is not a position advertised at the moment, it is always a good idea to visit the zoo you are interested in working for and submit a resume to the human resources department in person. While there, see if there are any volunteer or internship opportunities that could help you to get a foot in the door with those responsible for making hiring decisions.
Before beginning your online search, be sure to have a well-edited resume on hand that is ready for immediate submission in response to suitable online job postings. Many sites allow candidates to upload resumes to transfer them directly to potential employers or provide email addresses to which applicants are encouraged to transmit their materials.
It is also important to draft a basic cover letter and customize it for each job you apply for. Be sure to always change the letter to reflect the person you are addressing. Also, always structure the content of the letter to highlight the most relevant qualifications and skills that would make you successful in the position for which you are applying.