Top five pieces of advice for a career in marine conservation

Our top 5 pieces of advice for a career in marine conservation

You have always wanted to be a marine biologist…you are on the right degree or perhaps have already graduated. What now? How do you get that dream job? We’ve asked over 100 marine conservation professionals and scientists what their advice to you would be. Here are their top five pieces of advice.

  Volunteer to build up your experience This was by FAR the most popular piece of advice! Think local – beach cleans, local charities and NGOs, aquaria, your local Wildlife Trusts. Take part in every opportunity at university – go on field trips, assist PhD students and fill your vacations with something that will enhance your CV. Consider an overseas expedition to combine skills building, networking and adventure. There are volunteering opportunities to suit every type of need – free/paid for or even paid, local/exotic, short term/long term etc… It can be competitive but don’t give up – this is where you will develop the skills and contacts to begin your career in marine conservation.

  Work hard and persevere Many of our interviewees didn’t realise quite how hard it was to get their foot on the ladder – although none of them regretted this as the experience was not wasted once they landed their dream job. Also, don’t give up and follow your heart. Nothing worthwhile comes easy!

  Statistics Yes really! SO many interviews mentioned they wished they had worked harder in statistics modules or had taken more options. This also applied to coding and relevant software packages. Whether you are in the laboratory or out in the field, you will be dealing with data and that means statistics. Give yourself an edge and make you can demonstrate good skills in this area.

  Networking It is not what you know it is who you know. We’ve all heard this phrase but is it true? YES! Say our interviewees. Marine conservation is a small world and it is important to know the key players in the field – internationally, nationally and in your local area. Attend conferences (and interact), be visible online and on social media and support others there, be an active part of relevant communities both online and in person.

  Stand out Just about everybody will leave your course with the same or similar qualification. How can you stand out? After following the four pieces of advice above, think about developing a range of skills that will make you an indispensable member of a team. But which skills? Fortunately, we’ve made a list to help you…

A bonus piece of advice from WiseOceans… sign up to our Weekly Job Alert email to make sure you never miss out on your dream job or opportunity!