Six mistakes to avoid in your conservation job hunt

Six mistakes to avoid in your conservation job hunt

We’ve helped hundreds of people from across the globe to find their dream conservation job, and wanted to share with you the six biggest rookie mistakes people make in their conservation job hunt.

Thinking conservation is all about being outside studying things like sharks, turtles and lions.

WRONG! The conservation sector is a growing professional industry and has an overwhelming number of different roles available, with something to suit everyone. The vast majority of conservationists work inside, behind desks, and are not scientists. They are programme managers, fundraisers, communicators, website designers, ecotourism operators and much more…

Spending hundreds of hours (and thousands of ££$$) to get experience.

WRONG! Getting the right experience is really important, so you can provide evidence of your skills and showcase that you’re ready to do a job. However, quality beats quantity every time when it comes to experience. You need to focus on getting the right experiences and training for your chosen roles. 

Worrying that there are not many conservation jobs available.

WRONG! The conservation industry is a booming sector, with more jobs available than ever before. We’ve listed over 15,000 conservation jobs in the past few years alone from across the globe on Conservation Careers, and this is still the tip of the iceberg. Why do people think there aren’t many jobs out there? Because many employers (often small charities) don’t have big budgets for advertising, and their opportunities therefore don’t get promoted widely online. We don’t wait for employers to pay on our site, we find and share as many as we can with our members and have turned the industry upside down (in a good way).

Thinking if you put in enough applications, you’ll get an interview.

WRONG! Playing the numbers game doesn’t guarantee success, and the likelihood is if you’re firing out applications quicker than bullets from Arnie’s Uzi 9mm then chances are you’re (i) not spending much time on each application to ensure it’s perfectly suited to the job in hand, and (ii) you’re not very focused and applying for lots of different types of roles. Either way, there’s nearly always going to be someone putting in a better application and who has a more focused background to each role in hand.

Re-using your CV many times.

WRONG! Every application needs to be carefully crafted to fit the role in question. This means totally reshaping your CV (and cover letter) each time to ensure the best possible fit against their criteria. Using the same CV each time means asking the employer to work too hard to find the evidence of your skills, and a higher likelihood they’ll miss how good you are…

Thinking you need to have a PhD (or Masters) to get a conservation job.

WRONG! Yes conservationists are very clever bunch – they are saving the planet after all – however, the truth is the education you need depends on the role(s) you’re targeting. Some have a higher entry requirement than others. The key is finding the right job for you, being clear what they need, and ensuring you have what they need.

Want to avoid all these mistakes are more? Sign up for our Kick-starter for Early Career Conservationists and let us walk you through our step-by-step process for how to get a conservation job. Together we’ll help you avoid all these mistakes and more.

Useful links and free stuff

To help you navigate your options, please select which best describes you:

  • 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 and Kick-Starter – UK Workshop.
  • 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 6,000 conservation jobs shared each year – plus a range of other benefits. Check out our monthly memberships here.
  • You’re submitting applications, but failing to get many interviews? Check out our FREE eBook – How to Apply for a Conservation Job? This is a complete guide to producing successful CVs, Resumes and Application Forms by Conservation Careers. Download your copy for free here. We can also review your applications, and provide 1:1 advice on how to improve them (and we don’t cost the earth). Check out our application support 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.
  • You’ve got a question and want to contact a human being! Send us an email to and one of our team will be back in touch soon.
  • Check out 15 Key Conservation Jobs | Ultimate Guide for Conservation Job Seekers here.

Careers Advice, Top Tips