We’ve scoured our 100+ ‘Interview with WiseOceans’ to bring you the top 15 skills that our interviewees have needed in their marine conservation jobs (but didn’t necessarily know they would need when they started out).

How many have you got? Can you tick them all off?

You’ll often find yourself working in small teams/organisations or perhaps in remote locations, so bringing these extra skills can make you an indispensable member of the team!

In no particular order…

  IT skills You might find yourself needing to edit/build websites or put together spreadsheets, posters, PowerPoint presentations etc…

  Marketing and social media Communicating what you do is an ever-increasingly important part of any job. Understanding and using social media effectively is a valuable skill to bring to any job. By developing your own web presence – blog, tweet, make Instagram stories, podcast etc… you can gain these skills and help promote yourself and network. It is a win-win!

  Maintenance Fieldwork is often remote with challenging time constraints. Being the person that can fix something to help get the project back on track makes you very valuable. So, learning how to fix boats, cars, compressors and bikes or having something like plumbing or electrical skills make you a very useful person!

  SCUBA qualifications Not all jobs in marine conservation take place underwater but having at least the equivalent of PADI Rescue Diver, or preferably Dive Master is often an essential qualification for jobs and opportunities in the field

  Freediving Learning to safely and effectively free dive is an excellent skill to bring to a team. There may be lots of reasons why SCUBA diving may not be practical, so being a good freediver can be very useful.

  First aid Out in the field, having some first aid knowledge is very valuable and very often these types of jobs/opportunities require a first aid qualification.

  Boat handling Qualifications like the RYA Powerboat Level 2 are very often essential or desirable for many jobs. Having plenty of hours at sea is even better!

  Art/drawing/graphic design Designing posters to promote your events, making marine education materials or developing content for social media are all things you are likely to be asked to do at some point. Being able to draw, create videos and animation or use a Photoshop type programme are great skills to bring to a team.

  Languages Some jobs/opportunities will explicitly need you to be fluent or at least be able to communicate a little in a different language. Having an additional language (or two!) can be a vital and valuable skill to bring to a job or team.

  Driving licence As well as just having a driving licence – having experience of driving abroad, in a 4×4 or in challenging conditions can be very handy.

  Photography/videography/drones Photographs are often a key part of a project – whether for ID purposes or for developing social media/website content. Most projects won’t have the budget for a separate photographer, so having good gear and good skills could definitely give you an edge.

  Funding Funding is perhaps the most important thing for any organisation, so an understanding and experience of funding streams is a really valuable skill to show on an application.

  Public speaking For many people, getting up and speaking in public is their worst nightmare, but with practice, you can improve. It is not always about getting up in front of a large audience but also being able to persuade and influence individuals too.

  Seasickness A surprisingly large number of interviewees owned up to have problems with seasickness. If you are going to need to be on a boat and get sea sick then develop strategies to minimise your discomfort. It often does get better with time!

  Patience and diplomacy Firstly, have patience with yourself. Marine biology careers can take a while to happen – don’t give up. Secondly, you might often be in the position of trying to influence or negotiate with someone who is opposed to your views. Patience, empathy and diplomacy can go a long way. This also applies to getting-on with team members when living communally in challenging environments!

Have you seen our ‘Top five pieces of advice for a career in marine conservation‘ post? Essential reading for the aspiring marine biologist or conservationist.

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