Finding a job in natural resources can be an adventure. Setting yourself apart from the competition means more than jsut having a snazzy resume and some experience.
Here are some ways to improve your chances of getting hired for a natural resources job:
- Know your sh*t. If you are applying to a forestry position, know everything you can about that position, the management team, what they have accomplished in the past, what the organization’s strategic plan is, what that organization has achieved in the past, and how all the pieces fit together in larger management plans.
- Volunteer for the people who you want to eventually hire you. Keep in mind, you are being evaluated the moment you pop-up on their radar.
- Volunteer at events the hiring people will be at as well. Even if you can’t volunteer for their agency, volunteer for a like agency, non-profit, or business and make sure you happen to “drop by” their booth to say hello.
- Send a follow-up note on real stationery thanking them for their time. I recommend the following nature-themed notes. For hunters, forestry also
checkhere for a coupon for some original pieces. If it is a miniature piece of artwork, it is more likely to stay on or in someone’s desk.
- Join societies and associations that support the natural resource field you want to work. For example, if you want to be a wetlands biologist then join:
- Become an active member (take on leadership positions) of conservation and natural resources clubs in your area as well as regional and national clubs to increase your leadership skills and visibility.
- Job applications are typically graded by someone who doesn’t have a clue about the requirements for the job. They have a checkoff list to go over when they review your application. Therefore if you and I compete for a job, you can easily beat me at the application level by being thorough in your answers. For example, let’s say one of the requirements is to be able to operate a tractor. If you answer with all the tractors you have operated as well as all of the equipment you have used with those tractors such as a rock bucket, disk, and a hydraulic saw but I just answer that I can operate a tractor, well you are going to have scored well above me. The result will be you earning a spot for the interview cycle.
- Join a local Toastmaster’s International group and start practicing your speaking skills as well as taking on a leadership role with your club. Speaking and listening skills are a must to set yourself apart from the competition.
- Job interviews are also graded. This is to try to eliminate bias which is impossible but at least there is still some opportunity to crush the favored. Usually, natural resources job interviews for career positions will be 3-5 interviewers. They will take turns asking a few different types of questions such as: defining a management system, word, or acronym; explaining how you would handle an escalating problem; or the favs such as what is your biggest weakness, are you intimidated, and what are your strengths.
- The weird thing that you need to know is
this…themoment that you start to answer their question — all of them will start writing. If you aren’t expecting it, iItis super unsettling and can throw you off your game.
My first natural resources job was an interview with one person but several people stopped by during the interview and chatted. I didn’t realize then that these people were getting a read off of me and would have a say in if I was hired. The interview also consisted of several tests including an identification test to see if I had the knowledge needed for the job.
At another position, not natural resources related, I was the assistant manager but didn’t introduce myself with my title. Had they actually done any research, any at all, they would have known that I would be their supervisor.
They assumed I was front office staff and wasn’t relevant to them getting the job or not. I would casually chat up the interviewee pre-interview. Their actual interview was with me not the upper management who was “making them wait.”
What the interviewee didn’t know was that from the time they parked in the lot they were being evaluated. I watched to see if they were courteous to the maintenance guys carrying boxes – did they hold the door, did they offer to help? Then, how did they treat what they assumed was just the “front office” staff person? Did they get agitated that they were left waiting?
I’d ask them questions about if they were nervous, what kinds of jobs did they have before, why did they want this job, etc. Their nerves and assumption I wasn’t the person making the decision, provided our organization with straight forward no bullshit answers. And, lead us to hire great staff.
Check out this post for various places you can search for jobs in natural resource fields.