10 Sites for Biology Graduates
So you’ve graduated with a degree in biology, zoology, or environmental studies (or alike). Some of your friends are off to start phDs, whilst others have graduate placements at ecological consultancy firms. Everyone else has decided that taking a first (or second) gap year was the right decision, and are currently living at home with their parents and working in a pub.But before you settle down to volunteering or applying for further study, consider that there are opportunities out there. Whether your interests lie in lab work, field work, office work, or no work, there is something for everyone.
You’ve been to your University careers fair – but they were advertising for marketing, buisness, and accountancy graduates. Though we are a sector that seems to be overlooked when it comes to graduate opportunities, there are in fact some hidden ones. A couple (well, 10) good sites to look at:
1. My personal favourite, Environmentjob.co.uk
Register with them and get weekly newsletters with dozens of jobs covering paid, internships, work experience, and even courses. Shows opportunities for everything from genetics and biochemistry, to biodiversity conservation, marine science, and even sustainable transport. Top Tip: Most people know about this website, so appreciate that most of the advertised jobs will probably be heavily oversubscribed.
2. To be checked regularly, Zsl.org
The Zoological Society of London posts a huge range of opportunities on their site, regularly updated. Though competitive, most are rather interesting. There is also something for everyone: catering assistants, ‘Zoo Live’ presenters, and roles in retail are advertised at both London and Whipsnade Zoo. Opportunities are often advertised on the previous link, too.
3. With the most enormous database, jobs.ac.uk
Run by the University of Warwick, the site lists hundreds of opportunities. I receive daily emails, with opportunities tailored to my needs. However, ‘Biological Science’ opportunities include everything from neuroscience lab assistants to environmental engineering research fellows. Useful, though.
4. Biodiversity and conservation specific, Conservation-jobs.co.uk
Showcasing a multitude of opportunities, this site’s downfall is perhaps that it lists opportunities in ‘gap year companies’. Though a great experience and something to boost your CV, these are expensive fall-backs and not something many graduates are looking for.
5. Guardian Jobs, Environment branch
The Guardian site hosts a range of jobs, with the chance to move down into smaller branches including ecology, policy, and education.
6. His personal website, JamesBorrell.com
Blogger to blogger, James Borrell’s site is a fantastic timeless resource for pioneering conservation biologists. With links to a huge variety of resources, Borrell also advises on expedition organising and speaking in public.
7. Conservation Careers for international opportunities
This site lists opportunities from volunteer and courses, to senior level positions in conservation. With a regularly updated map, showing locations of placements abroad, this site lists opportunities also found on many of the other sides I have listed on this page 🙂 …
8. Not just for geographers, the Royal Geographical Society
Despite the name, the RGS is a central organisation dedicated to the geographical exploration and understanding of the global community, anthropological and biological. As a member (read number 9) you will have the opportunity to discover free lectures, reduced course prices, and a network of fantastic and inspirational people. The website is also a useful resource bank in itself.
9. The Society of Biology; general existence of
No doubt that memberships are advantageous in CVs, job, and University applications, but societies also pose a huge range of opportunities for networking, courses and training, and even grant applications. Most memberships also include job opportunities, tips and careers advise, and newsletters detailing advances in the biological world. Other key organisations to explore include the popular British Ecological Society, and the more professional body, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management CIEEM.
10. Site-specific jobs
If there is a certain organisation you are interested in, such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Field Studies Council (FSC), or Friends of the Earth, it is important to not only register with the site in case an opportunity may arise, but to check the sites regularly for advertisements too. You can even contact individuals within the organisation directly, and request for work experience or a speculative position, if they are an organisation you are truly passionate about.
Since graduating last year, I’ve so far managed to get a few volunteering positions, as well as taking part in an independent research expedition. Sadly, the market is tough and competition is high; after telephone calls, interviews, and recruitment days, you may still find yourself fighting for a conservation job.
The British Ecological Society has hosted a couple of careers conferences in the past year; a great way to network and learn about employment in the sector. Coming up in April is the ‘Green Careers: Conservation, Sustainability, and Animal Welfare’ conference. At a hefty £25 for a 3 hour event, the conference does allow us to meet with members of WWF, RSPB, and WSPA. Click here for tickets.
Good luck on your hunt!