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Tips from CEO of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Chris Butler-Stroud

This week is week 2 of our Ethical Careers Telesummit, which we’re running in conjunction with Devi Clark of My New Leaf. This week looks at what is out there, in terms of ethical careers and aims at lifting the lid on different sectors and industries. We kicked off the week with Chris Butler-Stroud, Chief Executive of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, who had some great tips for anybody considering a career in conservation. You can listen to Chris’ talk via www.whichcareer.net, but here are some of the highlights of Monday’s talk:

1.     The environmental sector is massive…

So massive, in fact, that there’s bound to be a cause you can relate to. From single species conservation charities and causes, such as the Gorilla Fund, through to organisations which champion the overlooked causes, such as Buglife, and all the way through to the international conservation charities such as the WWF or the RSPB. Even charities such as the National Trust can be considered conservation charities, since by protecting the grounds and land of the properties which they hold in trust, they are also providing a safe haven for the creatures which live there.

2.     Identify what matters to you

Remember, the environmental sector is passion-led, and run by people – and people are the same everywhere. You may not escape the politics, just because you want to come and work in an office full of people who care about the same things that you do – but having shared passions and goals might make things easier.

Take time researching the sector, and identifying what matters to you – before deciding which charity to work for. Chris volunteered for about 6 different organisations before coming to the conclusion that he belonged in the conservation sector. Volunteer in a huge environmental charity, and you might find yourself envelope-stuffing or data-crunching, but volunteer in a tiny organisation, and you’ll be exposed to the entire work of the charity and end up with much more valuable experience.

3.     Stand out

Chris also recommended signing up to charity news feeds, following them on Twitter and joining discussions and campaigns where you feel you have something to contribute. If you’re published, then take screen shots, showing your contribution to an argument, and build yourself a mini portfolio which you can show to a potential employer, which proves for how long you have been a supporter, and highlights your interest in campaigning, volunteering, fundraising or anything else which makes you stand out from the crowd.

4.     Network

We’ve said it before, and Chris mentioned it again: up to 50% (at least) of all vacancies are never publicly advertised – and this is also true of the environmental sector, where advertising a popular role might result in hundreds of applications. You can build your networks by tracking people down on LinkedIn, going to talks, such as our upcoming event on Conservation and Animal Welfare as well as our monthly I Am Networking events of course!

Chris Butler-Stroud is one of several speakers who have given their time to the Ethical Careers Telesummit for free. If you have enjoyed his tips on getting a job in an environmental charity, or you might even wish to work for him one day (!), feel free to visit https://uk.whales.org/ to find out more about the excellent work of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and perhaps even demonstrate your appreciation by adopting a dolphin! For more information on what the I Am Group is all about, visit www.iamenterprises.co.uk

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