[Coral-List] Online Coral Job Sources (Kristof Ketch)

Kris synapsis at charter.net
Sun Oct 3 01:08:08 EDT 2010

Sherry, other recent or soon to be graduates, and current undergraduates,

Yes it is fairly difficult to find employment in the marine sciences field these days but from what I've heard from everybody throughout all of college is that it can be a difficult area to get into no matter what year it is or how the economy is doing. However, if you are determined enough, you will be able to pull it off. It's pretty rare that people are able to find and get into their dream job right away, but if you know what you're goal is, you'll find a way to work your way up to it. I just graduated last December and after 9 grueling months of searching for and applying for jobs everyday after finishing work at a pet store where I hardly made enough money to pay my student loan bills (even while living with my parents where I had no living expenses), I finally got into the type of job I first set out to get when leaving college. While I was successful, as a disclaimer, I make no promises that the advice and resources I am about to share is the best that there is or will guarantee anybody else their own success, but hopefully, it will help out many of you. If you're just looking for the resources, I'm listing them at the bottom of the message.

My advice:

*Don't put all your eggs in one basket. You may think it's the perfect job for you and that you'll probably get it, but there's still a good chance you won't get it. So don't stop searching and applying for jobs just because of one potential job since sometimes job availability is seasonal. Keep at it until you've actually been offered a position; otherwise, you could miss out.

*Don't just assume that your resume and cover letter format and wording is perfect. Your application is their first impression of you, so if it isn't best you can do, then you may not get a chance at an interview. The people reviewing applicants want a lot of detail but keep it concise, but they all seem to differ in what is enough detail and whether or not it's concise enough. It is difficult to please them all with one general resume, so you should try to edit your resume to tailor it specifically to the job you are currently applying to. I also recommend to get advice from others about your resume such as your college's career center, professional career centers, former professors, and you can even ask places that don't hire you if they have any suggestions for improving your application. The worst they could do is say no.

*When preparing for an interview. Know the company or agency hiring you. If you're not interested enough to do some research on them, then you probably shouldn't have applied to them to begin with. Also know yourself really well because sometimes they will really gut you during the interview. Be prepared to tell them all the reasons why you would be a valuable employee for them ranging from task skills from previous experiences to interpersonal skills. When they're interviewing you, they're not just looking for answers, they're looking at how you react to questions and how you respond to their questions, so be quick, confident, and choose your words wisely. I'm sure there are websites that give some generic interview Q's, it'd be wise to seriously practice interviews. Many people can't do that with somebody they know, so going to career centers for mock interviews would be a smart thing to do, especially if you're preparing for an interview for a job you really want because you probably only have one shot at it. Also, second interviews often don't have new questions, but they may re-ask a few questions. They're often for getting a feel for you. They've already asked most of the questions they wanted answers for. Now they'll show you around the place and watch how you respond to things like if you recognize the equipment, and for the most part they're trying to figure out what it'd be like working with you. It's often very relaxed, but don't relax too much because they are still critiquing every word you say.

If you're still in college:

*It seems to me that most jobs are less interested in what your GPA was and are more interested in the experiences and especially the skills you have. Thus get all the experience you can while in college through working in labs, doing research, study abroad, internships, volunteer, etc., but I don't recommend blowing off your classes. Experience helps you decide whether or not you like doing something and will help you narrow your focus, and for employer's it shows your commitment to the field. It's better to try getting experience while in college, because out of college, you will probably have a really hard time getting a paying position without previous experience and non-paying positions are hard to do when you've got living expenses and student loan payments to make. I fully recommend to any undergrad to apply for Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs <http://www.nsf..gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.cfm>. It is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is a great way to earn some good money over the summer while gaining excellent research experience; however, NSF will only allow you to participate in an REU program once so that they are able to assist a broader range of students.

*Networking. My friend in college once told me, "It's not the grades you make but the people you know that will get you somewhere in life." I refused to admit it to him, but he is right. Make plenty of friends everywhere you go, because someday they could be the difference in finding or getting into a good job. I don't just mean students, make friends with your professors and TAs as well because they are great resources for information and networking. They may help you find a lab you may want to work in during college and they may help you find a job after college, but if nothing else, they can be an excellent reference. However, they can only be a good reference if they know and remember you, so visit them outside of class and keep in touch.

Before I start listing off websites, I guess I should say that during my job hunt, I was mostly looking for marine or freshwater fisheries lab/field tech types of positions. The job I originally set out to get and recently got (I start training Oct 12th so technically I don't really have it until after I pass training) is that of a marine fisheries observer. Thus the websites I'm listing ranges from positions in the marine field in general to positions in the fisheries field in general. Most of the websites I am listing have their own listings of links to information and job postings, so you're still going to have to do a lot of browsing on you're own because I'm not listing every single link to a job posting list.

Careers  in  Oceanography, Marine  Science &  Marine  Biology

Marine Conservation Biology Institute
Although I really don't recommend applying for jobs through USAJobs.gov because I wasted 5 months only applying through them (another interpretation of don't put all your eggs in one basket), the link in this website called "NOAA Job Opportunities" has a really good link to NOAA vacancies. For the life of me, I still can't figure out why I hardly ever found any of NOAA's vacancies while I was originally searching USAJobs.gov for 5 months, but oh well. From my experience, if you don't already work for the government or you haven't had the specific job you are applying for before, then you've got a snowball's chance in hell at getting considered for the job because of the initial questionnaire screening. If you are going to try applying for government positions, you might want to try applying within individual states before applying to federal positions. I never searched state government positions, but that was because I gave up on searching government positions after my fruitless efforts in using USAJobs.

American Fisheries Society: job board

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

Sea Grant in the Mid-Atlantic Region: employment opportunities

Conservation job announcements Hawaii / Pacific Region

Coral Cay Conservation
I don't think postings are made all too frequently on this site.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership
I think this website mostly had job postings for more senior positions but they may have some entry level listings too.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

NOAA Fisheries: National Observer Program
List of observer providers.

The WorldFish Center
An international, non-profit, non-governmental organization.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Internships and Fellowships

Volunteer abroad opportunities. Seems awesome if you can afford it.

Best of luck to everybody,
Kristof Ketch

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