Tips on Applying for a Conservation Job
By Aryuna Radnaeva
Whether you’re just starting out your career or looking to transition to a new position, it’s likely you have had your eye on various job postings and descriptions. In Hawaiʻi, you can find conservation jobs through a range of listings, such as:
- The Research Corporation for the University of Hawaii Website
- Conservation Compass Job Board
- USAJOBS.gov for Federal positions
- The University of Hawaii job positions site
Once you spot a position that excites you, take a look at the below tips to prepare for your application!
Read the position description carefully! Make sure you fit the criteria
If you do not have the “essential” or “required” experience/skills, hiring managers may not consider you for this opportunity. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply, but consider how you can demonstrate your ability to fill the required skills in your resume and cover letter.
Consider how the opportunity fits into your career plan
Though valuable for training, you may not always want to use internships as “fillers” until you find paid employment. When looking at internships or other positions, consider how the position would fill the gaps in your career, skills, and knowledge, and not just fill a gap in your time.
Creating a first impression
Consider reaching out to someone who works in the organization that you are applying to for an informational interview. This is a good way to learn more about the organization and an opportunity to get advice from working professionals already in the field. This first point of contact could potentially pass along their reference to the hiring manager!
Tailor your cover letter and resume to the opportunity posting
When reviewing the job posting, highlight important information, such as repeat words or phrases, desired skills, and the organization’s interests. Think about how your experiences and personality match up with what they are looking for. Be sure to look at the organization’s website to learn more about their mission, vision, priorities, and projects that they are involved with and pertain to the position you are applying for. Although tempting, it’s best to not submit a generic resume and cover letter.
Put the time and effort into crafting your application materials
If it’s not worth it to you to do it properly, don’t even bother applying to the position! Your application is the first test to prove to your potential employer that you can follow directions and complete a given task. If your application is sloppy or if you ignored the guidelines, don’t expect to be contacted for an interview.
Look Over Your Application Package
Read the directions in the posting on how to submit your application and what materials are needed for your application! If you are missing documents that the hiring manager is looking for, more than likely your application will not be considered. Most hiring managers will ask for the following:
- Cover Letter (no more than 1 page)
- Resume/CV (no more than 2 pages)
- List of References
Proofread! Not once, not twice, but three times! Spellchecker is not your friend. Ask a friend or mentor to read through your materials for grammatical errors and typos. You won’t be the only applicant, so make the hiring manager’s job of reviewing 20 to 40 or even more applications much easier by making sure your documents are in a clean layout and easy to read. When sending your application via email, it’s a good idea to attach your documents as PDFs. Keep your email short, polite, and to the point, especially since you have your cover letter is attached. For example:
Aloha e Ms./Mrs./Mr. (hiring manager’s name),
My name is (your name) and I would like to apply for the (position title) position with (organization’s name) as posted on (website/where you found it). Please find attached my cover letter and resume (and any other documents you have attached). Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Mahalo nui loa,
* If necessary choose a more professional email address, for example “your first name”.“your last name”@gmail.com. Pinkypants@fmail.com will not impress hiring managers or future employers.
Sit Tight & Good Luck…
It’s completely normal for hiring managers to take a few weeks to let you know whether or not they want to interview you. In most postings, hiring managers will specify that they will only contact applicants who they have selected to interview because of the amount of applications received. But if you’re getting worried, wait at least a week after the application deadline before you reach out to learn the status of your application.
The first step is done! You’ve done everything you can to best represent yourself in your application package. Hopefully in a few weeks or sooner, you will receive a call/email to come in for an interview =)