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Stephanie Manka forest Buffalo Rainbow

Best Job Websites for Wildlife Biology and Ecology

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Stephanie Manka

Stephanie Manka, Ph.D. is a wildlife biologist with 20 years of experience in mammal ecology and conservation, education, and outreach. Read her story to find out how she went from the daughter of a jeweler to a Ph.D. in wildlife biology.

I get lots of emails from wildlife biologists and ecologists-to-be asking for advice on what they need to do to get into those careers. If you’ve read “7 Beginner’s Tips for a Wildlife Biology Career,” you’ll know that my first tip is to “Choose the Job You Want Right Now.”

Here, I’ve gathered the best job websites for wildlife biology and ecology to help you choose the job you want and show you a strategy to help you figure out the skills you need to get that job.

Why do I need to search job websites for wildlife biology and ecology now? I'm not looking for a job now!

What I’ve learned after receiving my Ph.D. in 2012 and being on the job market for awhile as a postdoc, is that the market is pretty saturated (there are lots of Ph.D.s in my case), which means that most jobs will be competitive.

I thought getting a Ph.D. automatically qualified me for lots of jobs because I was told my skills of problem-solving (through asking and answering research questions) would transfer, and to apply for jobs where I met 70% of the qualifications because this was just an employer’s “wish list”.

I think this may have been true years ago, but in my experience (and others – I have lots of Ph.D. friends telling me the same thing), employers choose candidates that meet and even exceed all of the qualifications they ask for.

Also, graduate school (in my experience) did not fully prepare me for these other skills I needed. I never once said I wanted to go into academia; I said I always wanted to work in conservation.

This video explains why you need to start searching for jobs before you are ready:

Again, I thought a Ph.D. would qualify me for lots of jobs in conservation, but after getting my Ph.D. and looking for and applying for jobs, I’ve been surprised by how few research-based jobs there are within conservation organizations (especially those located within the United States) and that most jobs within conservation are not science-based (e.g. marketing, communication, fundraising).

If I had known this in graduate school, I would have taken classes that could help me in these areas to make me more competitive (or even able to apply for a job!). For example, I was told I was strong candidate for one position I interviewed for, but I didn’t get it because I didn’t have fundraising experience.

Jobs in the federal government are particularly strict about qualifications and to apply for them you typically have a certain number of credits in certain courses to qualify even if you have a Ph.D. As an example, I do not qualify for some jobs simply because I never took a botany class. Again, if I had known this during graduate school, I would have taken this class even though I missed out on it during undergrad.

Therefore, what I really wished I had done before I went to graduate school, is to have a clear vision on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to be so I could make sure I received the skills I needed to get that job.

That’s why I recommend you search for the job that you want right now. I created a job tracking tool to help you.

Here’s how: First use the list below to find jobs that you want. Note that some of these websites allow you to sign up for job alerts. Do this and tailor it to your desires.

Best Job Websites for Wildlife Biology and Ecology

Hands down, the Texas A&M Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Job Board is the best resource for finding wildlife jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, courses, graduate assistantships, and more! This has been the go-to job board for wildlife careers since I started in 2003. Job postings tend to be focused in the US though, so if you are from another country, this may not be the best option for you. 

The Conservation Job Board is newer, but also a fantastic resource. You’ll find lots of wildlife jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, graduate assistantships, and more. Like the Texas A&M board, it tends to be focused in the US though. 

The Conservation Careers Job Board is an excellent resource for opportunities and trainings of all kinds in Europe and abroad. You’ll find many more opportunities around the world than you will in the Texas A&M and Conservation Job Boards. Note that some jobs do require a membership for you to see them, so this job board is not 100% free. 

Ecolog is a huge listserve that you sign up for to receive emails about jobs and other opportunities. Note you will get A LOT of emails, so you might want to designate a separate folder in your email for this. But there are lots of great opportunities! 

For federal jobs in the government (US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, etc.), use usajobs.gov

For government jobs at the state level (e.g. wildlife biologist at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission), you will have to likely search at that state’s government jobs website. If you visit the state agency you are interested in, it will probably take you to a redirect page. Example here for North Carolina). I was also told you can find state jobs on governmentjobs.com, but I personally have not used this site before. Check out this link for more advice on getting into government job

Indeed has been a great resource in recent years! It’s best to set up alerts for words like “wildlife,” “conservation,” “environment,” and more and you’ll get jobs delivered to your inbox. Note, you will have to sort through at lot of duds, but it’s worth it as there are good opportunities that don’t always show up in the other job boards, especially if you are interested in consulting or working in the private sector. 

Like Indeed, LinkedIn has become a great resource that you can set up alerts for to get jobs in your inbox daily. 

The Society for Conservation Biology used to be my favorite job board, but it doesn’t tend to have as many opportunities as the others recently. Still, it’s a great resource and one to check regularly especially for nonprofit and international positions. 

Like the name suggests, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is for jobs in zoos and aquariums and therefore heavily focused on zookeeper-type positions, but they do often have research and education positions too.

Best Organization Websites to Regularly Check

In my experience, a lot positions seem to be advertised on the organization’s website, although they may be promoted on social media. Here are some organizations that are worth regularly looking into:

Websites Recommended by Others

For jobs in Canada:

Other Resources

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Do your research on jobs now! I’m giving you the strategy I wish that I had followed.

Use these job websites for wildlife biology and ecology now to search for positions you ideally want. In other words, look for your dream jobs. Save those positions by organizing them in the job tracker spreadsheet. This will force you to pay attention to the key skills and experiences you will need…

Your next step is to look at the jobs that you’ve saved and start looking for common skills and/or requirements. This will then be your guide. You won’t be surprised by any qualifications.

While you are going through graduate school, make sure you get these skills. It may be awkward and you may have to take classes outside of your degree, but if you really want these jobs, you will ultimately have to demonstrate that you have these qualifications.

You may even surprise yourself! You may realize that the job you thought you wanted isn’t really what you want to do. Try this out and let me know in the comments below how this worked for you!

Want more advice? I’m wrote a book! Get “Getting a Job in Wildlife Biology: What It’s Like and What You Need to Know.”

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I understand that inbox can be a lot and I respect your decision. If there’s anything you’d like to share or discuss with me in the future, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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I understand that inbox can be a lot and I respect your decision. If there’s anything you’d like to share or discuss with me in the future, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Before we say our goodbye, I want to remind you that you have been an essential part of my journey. If there’s anything you’d like to share or discuss with me in the future, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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