I often receive emails (and later phone calls) from students, hoping to work in wildlife conservation. I am never asked why I chose this career path, the students that call are only interested in how they can become a wildlife researcher. I am still a young scientist (early career researcher, if you want to get technical) and have many years ahead of me before I can fully understand the academic process (if ever) – but I have some thoughts on academia and what it takes to be a good researcher. More on those thoughts in later posts. For now, I want to offer you my top list of resources for finding a wildlife job – academic or otherwise. Most of these sites also include information on funded Master’s and PhDs, as well as undergraduate internships and training courses. This list is not exhaustive, but some of these websites are. If you are serious about finding a temporary field assistant position or even a tenure-track contract, check these sites weekly and you will have an in-depth overview of the worldwide job market. Working with wildlife can be competitive, so I have found it helpful to keep abreast of the job market, even if I’m not looking for a job, and I can attest that most wildlife researchers are also bonafide headhunters (sadly, for a reason). I wish you best of luck in your search!
This site has the largest job scope and is conveniently organized by type (in the right hand column, e.g- internships, post doctoral appointments, etc.). Most positions are located in the USA, but positions do pop up globally- particularly in Europe. About 150 postings weekly.
This Facebook page is absolutely worth a like, whether or not you are looking for a job ATM. The page is run by Marci Johnson, whose linked website is an encyclopedia of wildlife job resources, organized by species and location. The Facebook page is updated almost daily and includes all job types (US Fish and Wildlife to academic) and locations. The page also includes weekly roundups, detailing promising job prospects across a range of topics.
The ECOLOG-L LISTSERV is a subscription mailing list run by researchers at the University of Maryland in conjunction with the Ecological Society of America. The service is an institution now, providing discourse for ecologists for the past 30 years. I distinctly remember an email coming in last year, noting that the list has grown to over 19,000 subscribers worldwide (and therefore should be used sparingly by ranting academics). Not all of the emails are job-related (most aren’t), but any of the major jobs (particularly academic) are posted here. You can either subscribe to the LISTSERV and get updated with each new email (see how-to here) or get the emails in daily or weekly batches. My preference is to check the archives weekly at the provided link and skip the subscription all together. The mass of emails is slightly overwhelming (ranging from 20 to 100+ each week), but you do feel like you are included in the ecology community when you properly subscribe.
This one is tricky. I both love and hate Twitter as a job resource. It is by no means exhaustive and can be time-consuming to navigate during a job search, but I have seen many jobs advertised here that have no home anywhere else (by that I mean even on the advertising University’s job opportunities page). It can also serve as a needed break when checking the weekly postings, as the format is understandably different from the other job boards. I tend to search for ‘postdoc ecology’, ‘postdoc conservation’ or similar and then click on the ‘Latest’ tab to see what has recently been posted. Like the ECOLOG-L LISTSERV, it’s also an enjoyable way to see what your scientist community has been chatting about recently and which jobs appear to be particularly popular, inspiring the most retweets.
The Ornithology Exchange job board may not be relevant to all, since – as the name suggests – this resource is aimed at those in the bird research community. However, it is an excellent job board: updated daily, well-organized by job type, and nearly-exhaustive for those looking to work with birds. Even if you typically work on another study species or particular ecosystem, it is worth a browse since many of these jobs cross over between disciplines. Also, why wouldn’t you want to work with birds?
Although most jobs posted here are located in the UK, this job site makes the list because of its range of job types, intuitive search features, handsome web design, and international market focus. If you are looking for a gig abroad – particularly an internship, temporary field position, or full time non-profit work- this job board is for you. Some job posts randomly enter a ‘member only’ zone, which you need a subscription to view (£2.99 – £4.99/month); but, because the job titles and locations are still visible, jobs can easily be found on other sites if they pique your interest.
Posting roughly 20 jobs each week, this resource is particularly ideal for US citizens. Most of the jobs are government positions, including technicians, temporary assistants, and resource managers. You will likely find jobs here that are hard to dig up otherwise, unless you enjoy mining US government sites (no judgment if you do).
Similar in scope to the Warnell School job postings, Conservation Job Board features mostly technician-type jobs located in the US. They post around 10 jobs daily – a high volume if you are looking for these types of positions. The website also features non-profit roles and internships, so it is worth a weekly glance even if you aren’t directly working for a government-funded role.
Run by the European Commission, EURAXESS is a European Union funded initiative to support researchers in their career development. The job search website is a somewhat exhaustive list of all academic research positions (including graduate roles) in Europe. It is well organized, allowing you to choose your research field (e.g. biological sciences, environmental science), profile (e.g. first stage researcher vs. leading researcher), sector, and country. If you are open to a job in Europe and academia, this resource is essential.
The Wildlife Society job search is another US-based job site, which features a broad range of job types: from wildlife vets to ranch hands to NGO executive directors. Because of its variety and daily updates (roughly 3 positions each day), it made this top ten list. I have also seen jobs here that are not available in other job boards, which is always a good sign during a search.