How to get a conservation job

How to get a conservation job? Version 2:0

When we first set up Conservation Careers, we wrote a post outlining ‘How to get a job in conservation’. Five years on, thousands of conservation jobs, and hundreds of interviews later, it’s time we updated it… So here’s the all-new ‘How to get a conservation job | Version 2:0’.

Why getting a conservation job is like securing an Olympic Gold

Firstly, it’s important to see the conservation job hunt as like aiming to get a gold medal at the Olympics.  If that was your goal, what would be the best strategy?

One approach would be to enter every event – to generalise – and hope that you’ll succeed in one of them. In Toyko 2020, there will be 33 competitive sports. That’s 33 chances of success right?!

The problem with this ‘go-for-everything’ approach is that in each event you’ll be up against people who have trained specifically to be super competitive for that event. They’ll have all the right natural attributes for their chosen event – like body shape, height, and strength – and will have trained hard to be the best for just one sport. You simply can’t train for 33 events to the same standard as they did for one.

Put simply, your chances of success will be slim at best…

This is why it pains me each time I hear someone say “I’ve put in 100 conservation job applications in the past 6 months, and I haven’t had an interview yet!” A classic generalist, who’s likely spreading themselves way too thin – going for every job that looks interesting in a bid that one of them might come off. Given the large volume of applications, they are probably not taking the time needed to really tailor each and every CV/resume and cover letter to the standard required by employers.

Conservation jobs and Ikigai

So what is a better strategy for gold? It’s to specialise. Find a niche which fits you like a glove, makes you super happy and therefore highly motivated and competitive.

We’ve all heard about Ikigai in recent years, and it’s a really useful concept in the conservation job hunt.

What we’re all looking for is a job (and life) which provides for:

  • What we love
  • What we’re good at
  • What the world needs
  • What you can be paid for

Get all these stars to align and you’ll be flying in your conservation job hunt, and happy in your conservation career.

Finding your target conservation job

But how do you find your target conservation job? A role which will enable to you be super competitive, motivated and happy in your career?

We start with ourselves. We go through a process of self-reflection to identify what makes us happy, what we’re great at doing, what our day-to-day needs are, and much more. To create a ‘career compass’ which provides direction and clarity.

We then need a really clear view of all the employment options; to explore and identify which conservation job(s) could provide your Ikigai. This step is so important and needs to be done well.

The conservation sector is vast, dynamic and growing all the time. On our site to date, we’ve published 19,015 conservation jobs covering 9,648 DIFFERENT JOB TITLES, from over 2,800 conservation employers. It’s easy to become totally bewildered and lost!

In our Kick-starter online course, we break down the sector into five conservation employer types and 15 conservation job types. We outline their pros and cons, the duties, entry-level requirements and much more. We also go through a series of practical tasks, all with the goal of helping you to clarify your target conservation job.

Once you’ve identified your niche job, all the other pieces can start falling into place and you can form a really clear, practical and achievable conservation career plan.

Together we can start to identify and address any employability gaps; answering questions like:

  • How do I switch from my current role into my target conservation job?
  • Do I need a Degree / Masters?
  • Should I take this volunteer / Internship position?
  • What should I be doing at University to get ready for my conservation job hunt when I graduate?
  • Am I ready to start applying now?

And many more key questions…

How to apply for a Conservation Job?

Once you’re employment ready (and many of you are right now!) you’re ready to start crafting and submitting killer applications. Each and every application needs to be carefully tailored to the employer and job in question. We go into detail for how to do this in our Free eBook: How to apply for a conservation job? A complete guide to producing successful CVs, Resumes and Application Forms by Conservation Careers. In it you’ll learn:

  • The 10 key steps to the application process? From deciding to apply through to submitting your application.
  • How to create stand-out applications? With real-life examples of before and after applications.
  • Which CV or resume style is right for you? Using a series of templates and examples to help you choose.

Throughout the eBook, you’ll find exercises, tips and links to extra resources. You can work through the guide from beginning to end, or jump to the sections you need most. Download your copy here.

Need more support? If you’d like us to check your applications, then check out our CV, Cover Letter and Application Form Support.

Conservation job interviews – the gold medal

The final medal-winning event is the interview. This takes time to fully prepare for, to ensure you’re ready to answer the likely questions that might come your way, and so you can stay calm and really shine on the big day. Dare I say it – perhaps you can even enjoy it!

This specialist approach to conservation jobs really works. If you get clear, understand yourself, the job market and identify your target conservation job(s), you can then identify and fill your gaps and submit quality applications and deliver great interviews.

Get an important interview soon? If you want our help to prepare, check out our interview practice.

15 Key Conservation Jobs

The conservation industry is much bigger than you’d imagine. Want to see all the different types of conservation jobs available? Check out 15 Key Conservation Jobs | Ultimate Guide for Conservation Job Seekers? This ultimate guide to conservation jobs covers the 15 key conservation job types to kick-start your career journey. In this uber-guide we’ll walk you through the key roles in order to help you to understand where you might fit in.

Need a helping hand to secure your first conservation job?

If you need a helping hand in your conservation job hunt, check out our online course the kick-starter for conservationists. Here we walk you through our proven step-by-step system to get clear, get ready, and get hired in the conservation sector. No confusion. No ambiguity. Complete hand holding. Telling you EXACTLY what to do.

We also run 4-day workshops in the UK where we teach you our kick-starter process, and you also get training in Project Management for Wildlife Conservationists. Find out about the next upcoming UK workshop here.

Not sure about something, have a question or a comment? Feel free to drop us a line at

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