Job Application Feedback & Tips from Conservation Careers
What’s worse than a rejection when applying for a conservation job?
It’s waiting days (or weeks or months) in limbo without knowing…
- If your application was received?
- If you were competitive?
- If small changes could help your chances?
One of the biggest challenges conservation job seekers report is lack of response and feedback from employers (just check out Conservation Job Applications | Key Stats).
To help, each time we recruit volunteer Social Media Officers at Conservation Careers, we share a behind-the-scenes glimpse into our recruitment process and what made top candidates stand out.
Find out what employers are looking for – and how to increase your chances of landing a conservation job or key stepping stone opportunity.
The stats at a glance
Here’s a snapshot of the applications we received for our Social Media Officer (Volunteer) role at Conservation Careers in February 2022. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full job description.
To make the application process quick and easy, we asked applicants to answer two questions in 150 words or less, state their availability and share four sample social media posts they’d drafted. That’s it. No CVs/resumes or cover letters required.
Total applications: 26
Complete applications: 19 (73%)
Shortlisted candidates: 13
CVs (not required): 4
Expressions of interest (without supporting info): 2
Positions offered: 7
What did successful applications look like?
All of our shortlisted candidates:
Followed application instructions to a tee. They answered our questions and sent sample social media posts as requested.
Grabbed our attention from ‘go’. They showed that their interest, experience and skills were a great match for the role right away – often right at the start of their email.
Tailored their application to the role. They used their answers to our application questions to show us that they’d given careful thought to the role they were applying for, why they were interested in applying, what they could offer, and how they could benefit.
Used relevant, impressive evidence. Successful applicants provided the sample social media posts we asked for, showing that they could craft compelling posts. Many also referenced accomplishments – big or small – in their work, study or hobbies, helping to evidence their interest and experience with social media and conservation.
Clearly articulated their motivation for applying. It might surprise you, but many conservation job applicants don’t make their motivations clear or specific enough! Employers need to know ‘Why us?’ and ‘Why this role?’ (as opposed to many other similar organisations and roles). Shortlisted applicants made it clear that they understood us, understood the role and were choosing us for a reason.
Showed that they understood us. Whether they’d known us for years, or found us last month, these applicants showed us that they’d done their research and understood our mission, audience, needs and goals.
Used specifics. They talked about the role, Conservation Careers, and their interests, experience, skills and passion using specific (rather than vague) language and examples.
Used polished spelling and grammar. In a role that communicates with our audience daily, it’s essential that our Social Media Officers have a sharp eye for detail (see the job criteria below!) How an applicant applies shows us how they might perform, so we only shortlisted candidates whose posts were polished and professional. This meant we couldn’t shortlist a few otherwise promising candidates.
In selecting our top candidates, we especially loved when applicants:
- Made our job as easy (and fun) as possible – for example by including subheadings showing the questions they were answering, or by presenting their sample posts in an easy-to-read PDF.
- Showed attention to detail and creativity/initiative – demonstrating that they understood (and could apply) our current style of social media posts, but also showing a little extra creativity, or suggesting new ideas or opportunities.
- Showed genuine enthusiasm, positivity and a focus on solutions. It was immediately clear that these applicants would be enthusiastic, engaged and supportive in the role and as part of our team.
- Weren’t afraid to be unique. We loved it when applicants showcased unique skills, experiences, passions or characteristics that made them different, and how this made them a great fit for the role. This also helped make their applications memorable!
Examples of strong applications
Here are a few examples from our successful candidates who kindly agreed to share their answers to the application questions.
Why you’d like the role
“I would like this role because I would like the opportunity to be a part of Conservation Careers’ efforts and actions in supporting conservationists’ continued acts in supporting wildlife through their work. I want to use my experience in social media management and digital marketing to support the Conservation Careers community to feel inspired, supported, and encouraged to achieve their professional aspirations in conservation.”
“I am currently an MSc Biodiversity and Conservation student at Oxford University and environmental/wildlife conservation concerns have always been important to me. With social media having such a big presence today, conveying conservation in more creative ways has become increasingly important for engaging with younger people on social media platforms and therefore, I would love to provide input on the running of Conservation Careers social accounts to ensure maximum engagement across a wide range of age demographics.
I currently run Instagram and Facebook accounts for a recently established children’s education charity, I also run Instagram and twitter accounts for my master’s course as well as personal accounts. Therefore, this opportunity would be a fantastic way to combine my academic background in conservation with my artistic passion and assist in promoting conservation careers through platforms that are evermore important for engaging with the wider public.”
“I would like this role because I am driven to protect our planet, and the more people we have in the right roles, the more effective conservation efforts are going to be. I am trying to break into the conservation sector and would like to put my communication skills to good use for you.
I was inspired to pursue a degree in Digital Film Production by the work of David Attenborough and have realised that my mission is in educating and communicating with people about conservation issues and projects. I spend time sharing conservation-related stories with people and so helping others to find their dream role is a great opportunity.
I have strong photo and video editing skills, experience of creating engaging posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter and knowledge of what it takes to grow and maintain online communities.”
“My dream is to get stuck into the conservation sector and I have a passion for scientific communication and sharing amazing opportunities to people. I believe I already have a lot of skills through work and placements that allow me to concisely communicate events and blog posts to the wider public and my friends. I am really aiming to improve my digital marketing and social media experiences and have a big passion to incorporate my photography and creative art through this. I am especially passionate about reaching young people that have lesser opportunities and I wish to try and make conservation careers more accessible to everyone. I believe I have made the most of a lot of varied experiences throughout my degree, meaning I have an understanding of the many different pathways one can take to discover a job that they love in conservation.”
How you’ll benefit
“I think that by undertaking this volunteer position I can develop my creative ability and try new approaches to social media content. I am also excited about the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge through the Communications for Conservation Projects online course. I currently use Canva to create my content but would be interested in developing more graphic design skills and editing that I could utilise in my future career. I would also be interested in being more involved in creating a social media schedule and the management of this.”
“I currently run social media accounts but without a professional audience so this opportunity would allow me to shift the way in which I view social media content into a more professional setting. This would be really beneficial for when I move into a professional career after completing my degree as I am very keen in continuing to engage people in conservation through social media platforms when I start working. I would be keen to expand one of my personal social media accounts into a platform that can really engage people with nature and conservation, and this opportunity with Conservation Careers would give me so many valuable skills to facilitate this.”
“I have a great amount of social media and digital marketing experience and am currently in the process of a career transition from technology to wildlife conservation and marine biology. Working with Conservation Careers on the social media team would allow me to take my previous experience and passions and put them with my current career and passion and flourish in supporting the organization and the audience we cater to.”
Last year I was the Marketing Manager for the FilmBath Festival and now I am working to prove my dedication and further my understanding of social media marketing in a relevant opportunity. I will benefit from this role because I will increase my employability and prove to hiring managers that I am invested in sharing the conservation message.”
“Every job/volunteering opportunity I undertake, I thrive to make the most out of. I would be looking for constructive advice on how I can improve my writing and how to better utilise social media to create more interest and outreach. I believe my confidence is something I am always working towards, and I hope that from your company I will receive mentoring to excel further in this. I would be very excited to have access to the networking opportunities to mainly learn from others and their experience and use this to further my own skillset and come up with new, fresh ideas on how to move forward in the conservation sector. I am currently writing my own little blog about conservation, events and science which all have an underlying theme of reaching minority groups and those without the financial benefits to undertake a lot of these expensive volunteering opportunities.”
Why you’d like the role & How you’ll benefit (combined)
“I have just completed an 8-month volunteering role as a Social Media Manager for a dog shelter in Northern Thailand called Saved Souls Foundation, and I believe this role would be the prefect successor for the career I’d like to build in social media outreach. Having never been good with public speaking, I found the best way to advocate for conservation matters that are important to me was via social media posts, online outreach projects, infographics and blogs. I am proud to have been able to connect volunteers with their perfect roles during my time with Saved Souls Foundation and would love to continue doing so while volunteering with one of the leading conservation career centres online and expanding my personal network as well!”
“While I have experience with Instagram and Facebook, I’d love to branch out to other platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn and get a better, well-rounded understanding of the benefits social media has on environmental and conservation matters worldwide. By connecting young conservationists with amazing opportunities, I will be able to play a key part in growing public interest in conservation issues and expanding your current network of conservation enthusiasts.
The benefits offered with this role, such as your courses and inclusion in your online community, will in turn also kelp me kick-start my own career in conservation, as the pandemic has unfortunately put a slight pause in my efforts. After graduating with a BSc in Zoology, I spent the last year volunteering with Red Cross and Saved Souls Foundation and would love to continue my volunteering journey with Conservation Careers.”
“I would like to learn new skills and exercise my creativity in this role. It would be great to be working as part of a team and learn from each other. I would also enjoy the creative side of things and learning how to use the analytics too.”
“I would gain experience of using social media for an organisation and proof that I have these skills for my CV. I am really interested in making content as accessible as possible, so making sure I have all the skills needed there would make all of my work better.”
For more examples from past recruitment, check out Behind the scenes | Applying for a conservation job at Conservation Careers and Job application feedback from Conservation Careers.
Our recruitment process
Here’s how we selected our top candidates, step by step.
For each application we received, we first checked whether the application was complete.
Any incomplete applications were dismissed (unless there was a clear mistake – e.g. a PDF didn’t attach properly, etc.)
For all complete applications, we gave the candidate a ranking from 0 to 5 for each component of the application, using an Excel spreadsheet. In this case these components were:
- Why you’d like the role (<150 words).
- How you’ll benefit (<150 words).
- Your availability.
- Sample social media posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Because the sample posts were important to the role, we gave each sample post its own ranking out of five. So long as candidates clearly met the availability requirement, they scored a 5.
We then summed up the rankings and used the totals to determine our top candidates.
It’s important to note that each employer and job application is different, but we hope this gives you some insight into the recruitment process from an employer’s point of view.
If you’d like more insights from a conservation employer, we recommend checking out our webinar Conservation Job Applications | Employer Insights and Marine conservation job application tips and tricks from The Reef-World Foundation!
- Many conservation job applications fail not because of a lack of skills, experience or knowledge, but because they don’t follow the application instructions, or a lack knowledge of how to successfully apply. Did you know that about 90% of the job applications Conservation International receives are of poor quality?
- Always tailor your application to each and every role, using specific evidence of your suitability.
- If you clearly articulate your motivation (e.g. you can answer, ‘Why am I applying for this role?’ and ‘Why do I want to work with this organisation?’), the employer is much more likely to understand how you fit, and see you as committed.
- Employers are often very short on time. One of the best things you can do as job applicant is to make the employer’s job easy!
- Don’t be afraid to be unique. Let the employer know what makes you you, and how this matches with the role you’re applying for. It will often help you stand out!
Useful links & Free Stuff
To help you navigate your options, please select which best describes you:
- Are you submitting applications, but failing to get many interviews? Check out our FREE eBook Conservation Jobs: The Step-by-Step System to Get Hired as a Wildlife Conservationist – available on Kindle, EPUB and PDF. You can also read a summary in our Ultimate Guide How to Apply for a Conservation Job: The 10-Step Guide.
- Do you feel alone or burnt out in your job hunt? Learn a simple process to create high-quality job applications that significantly increase your chances of landing interviews, with support from the experts at Conservation Careers and a global community of conservationists! Check out our online course How to Apply for Any Conservation Job.
- Do you want to work in conservation but you’re feeling lost, disillusioned or confused?!? Check out our Kick-Starter training designed to help you understand the job market, to navigate your career options, and to get hired more quickly. It’s designed for students, graduates, job-seekers and career-switchers. We’re proud to say it also has 100% satisfaction and recommendation ratings. We know you’ll love it. Find out more about our Kick-Starter – Online Course.
- Are you applying for your dream job and need extra support to boost your chances? We can review your applications, and provide comprehensive 1:1 advice on how to improve them. Check out our Application Reviews and Career Coaching.
- Do you feel ready to be applying for jobs in conservation? Check out our membership packages for job seekers which provide access to the world’s biggest conservation job board – with over 10,000 conservation jobs shared each year – plus a range of other benefits. Check out our monthly memberships here.
- You’ve got an interview (well done!) and would like our help to prepare for it? We know what employers want, and have helped many people prepare for and deliver successful interviews. Check out our practice interviews here.
The Original Job Advertisement
Social Media Officer (Volunteer) with Conservation Careers X6 | Remote
Are you social savvy and passionate about wildlife conservation? Would you love to help conservationists find meaningful, impactful careers?
Then we want YOU as one of our Social Media Officers (Volunteer) to help grow and engage the Conservation Careers community and share exciting new resources for conservationists!
We have up to six volunteer (unpaid) roles, based anywhere with an internet connection. You’ll need at least 2-4 hours per week for 4 months or more, and in return you’ll receive career support and training.
About Conservation Careers
We are the #1 careers advice centre for conservationists – helping 700,000 conservationists in 178 countries across the globe.
We believe that all wildlife is beautiful and that it deserves great conservationists working to protect it. We have extensive international knowledge, experience and a network of contacts within the conservation career sector. This means that we can help job seekers and conservation organisations to form lasting relationships. We do this by providing careers advice and information to a network of dedicated conservationists across the globe.
Learn more about our mission, vision and values.
About the role
As Social Media Officer (Volunteer), your mission is to ensure that everyone in the Conservation Careers online community feels inspired and supported in order to achieve career success. You’ll help update and grow our social media channels day-to-day (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram), bringing opportunities, resources and activities to life, while supporting our values and wider goals. You’ll post daily content across our channels following a monthly plan and ad-hoc updates.
Our social media following has more than doubled in the past year and we now have more than 139,000 followers on social, on the following channels:
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/conservation-careers – 87,764 followers
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Conservationcareers/ – 25,854 followers
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConservCareers – 21,058 followers
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/conservcareers/ – 4,120 followers
- YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/ConservationCareers – 998 followers
This is an exciting time to join Conservation Careers. You’ll help share brand-new resources we’re developing for conservationists, including our career and professional development courses, ultimate guides, webinars and much more.
Here are just a few of the exciting upcoming projects you could have the opportunity to contribute to:
- Creating social media campaigns to promote Conservation Careers online courses.
- Using creative approaches or campaigns to grow our LinkedIn and Instagram channels.
- Launching new memberships for conservationists.
- Creating social media campaigns to promote our new Conservation Scholarships opportunities.
- Celebrating Diversity in Conservation by sharing careers advice from diverse conservationists.
- Developing an image database to showcase conservation jobs in action.
Examples of past projects our social media volunteers have led include:
- Leading a social media campaign to promote our Conservation Careers Kick-Starter course, How to Apply for Any Conservation Job course, and Conservation Careers Bootcamp.
- Planning, designing and launching our Instagram platform.
- Creating video trailers to promote webinars and podcasts.
- Analysing post performance on LinkedIn.
- Designing Instagram stories and Highlight Stories.
- Developing best practice guidelines.
- Designing infographics.
As a Social Media Officer, you’ll also be welcomed into CC Pro, our new private online community of aspiring and professional conservationists. Here you’ll be able to interact with other Social Media Officers, as well as with other members of the community. You can also enjoy regular live events, get answers to burning questions, participate in growth challenges and more.
We’re seeking people who are passionate about wildlife conservation and helping conservationists enjoy meaningful, impactful careers.
- Excellent attention to detail and a healthy dose of creativity.
- An eye for crafting posts that grab attention.
- Knowledge of social media best practice for at least one of the core platforms we manage (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
- Complete English fluency (writing, reading, speaking and listening). Applicants from any country are encouraged to apply, but you must have English fluency equivalent to native level to be considered.
- Experience successfully building and engaging online communities, especially on LinkedIn.
- Experience delivering effective social media campaigns.
- Knowledge of best practice for additional channels we manage (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube).
- An understanding of the impact social media can create for a business.
- Experience using Hootsuite.
- Experience using Canva.
- Graphic design skills.
- Video editing skills.
Location: Anywhere! (home-based)
Time commitment: Part-time, 2–4 hours per week for 4-6 months. You will usually need to be available for at least 2 hours from Monday to Friday.
Start date: 21 February 2022 or as soon as possible
Trial period: 1 month
What we offer
In return, we offer:
- Valuable professional experience with a global conservation company.
- A chance to make a HUGE difference for conservationists and conservation.
- Full access to our online Conservation Careers Kickstarter course (value £295) for the duration of your role.
- Full access to our next online Communications for Conservation Projects course (value £295).
- Full access to our next online How to Apply for Any Conservation Job course (value £195).
- Access to our new, private online community CC Pro, where you can connect with other Social Media Officers, as well as other members of the community.
- Support, guidance and encouragement from the Conservation Careers team.
- A role with small, young company that values agility, openness, collaboration and optimism.
- Flexible working hours.
- References and recommendations depending on performance.
To apply, please email Kristi Foster, Head of Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining:
- Why you’d like the role (<150 words)
- How you’ll benefit (<150 words)
- Your availability
- Sample posts (see below)
With your application, please choose one opportunity from our Job Board or Careers Advice Blog and write sample Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram posts showing how you would promote them on social. You can visit our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram channels to get a feel for our style. Your posts should include text, image(s)/video, link and hashtags (where appropriate) and be sent as screenshots of draft posts (e.g. either on the social platforms themselves or via a publishing platform like Hootsuite).
Applications are open until 11:59pm (GMT) Sunday 13 February 2022.