Finding jobs in Marine Biology or Marine Science within the Conservation field is HARD! I can’t tell you how much time I put in to finding a job in marine and/or freshwater science, especially in the conservation field.
My dream to work to protect the Ocean and all things Aquatic was realized when I was in grade 9 living in Toronto, Ontario and not living close to an Ocean. I was fascinated with a Jacques-Yves Cousteau documentary on TV. I quickly became an Ocean addict and started dreaming of working with the dolphins and whales of the world as many of us have. However, dreaming is one thing, making your dream come true is another.
It takes a lot of time, dedication, and hard work to get a job in the Ocean Conservation field. First of all you need to pick a University or College with a good Marine Science program (I will address this step in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!).
Once you’ve graduated from your undergraduate or graduate program, you will need to get into the real world and find a job that will build your career in Ocean Conservation. You need to take a multi-step approach to your career. This multi-step approach is not taught in any university, but it is taught in Speak Up For Blue’s course and ongoing membership training program called Ocean Conservation Careers! This online course and membership program will provide you with the information you need to know to get you on your way to building a long and successful career in Ocean Conservation.
In the meantime there are 3 tips that will help you get one up on the competition.
Tip #1: Find A Career Focus - Ocean Conservation have many different fields to which you can follow. You can work with whales, dolphins, and seals or you can work to protect ocean habitats, or even work in the politic lobby arena by bringing science to the mix. Your job search will be much easier if you focus on 1 or 2 career fields no matter which ones you choose. A lack of focus will cause you to apply to too many jobs, most of which you don’t have the required skills so you own’t get the job. Having 1 or 2 fields on which to focus will allow you to spend more time filling out applications and restructure your resume while applying to less jobs.
Tip #2: Have a Reminder System - When I first graduated from my undergraduate years, I applied to over 400 marine biology jobs before I got an interview. Submitting 400 job applications requires a bit of a system to follow up on applications that I already submitted. I would make it a point to follow up on every job application that didn’t have a please no phone calls or email inquiries tag on the job advertisement. I would wait 2 weeks before I contacted the contact person, a system to which I still follow. Applying to 400 jobs can really add some confusion in determining when to follow up with managers if you don’t have a system. So add a reminder to follow up in your calendar for 2 weeks after you submit your job application. This tip will really help you save time and perhaps get you an interview sooner than you think.
Tips #3: Invest in Your Career - I learned the hard way that getting a job in marine biology and conservation can take some time. It often takes more time than you first think. Find out how you can improve your skill set by taking a course while you are applying for jobs to approve your value as an employee in the field of your choice. What skill or course should you take? Well, that will depend on the marine conservation field you would like to pursue. Read the skills required section of the job advertisements that interest you and then find out if there is a course to acquire the skill. This tip can do 2 things for you: 1) You will gain a valuable skill; and, 2) You will show your potential employer that you are motivated to pursue the career path you chose, which wil help in the long run!
Finding jobs in Marine Biology can prove difficult as there is increased competition due to the internet and the increased access to job boards. You need to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack so you will get noticed by the managers. Each of the tips above will help get noticed and put you one step closer to following your dream.