Author Archive | NaturalScienceCareers


“It’s only crazy until you do it.”

About working at a conservation NGO

Nirmal Jivan Shah is ‘the face’ and the CEO of the largest and oldest NGO for conservation in a place where other people make holidays; the Seychelles. We have been lucky to interview him about his career and his social media presence.

Dr. Nirmal Jivan Shah

How would you describe your role as the CEO of Nature Seychelles?

I’m not the typical CEO because I’m involved in so many things from the actual science and conservation, to finance, to communication, to development of innovation, to project writing and management, to personnel, and so forth as well as national level policy making. So, one has to have the wisdom of a sage, the understanding of a psychiatrist, the wizardry of a financier, the patience of a saint and the foresight of a prophet…haha.

Why conservation?

My profession is also my vocation. I think I am fortunate that I’ve been able to turn my hobby, which is nature and conservation, into a very successful job. I think the secret of life is to find that sweet spot where personal passion meets with what the world is looking for.

Can you give us an example of a project you are working on and what your role is in the project?

I have had many projects over the last 30 years, but let me describe the latest one.

I am working on the innovative and norm-breaking ‘Reef Rescuers project’. It is a coral reef restoration project in the Cousin Island Marine Protected Area.…

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An asian human resources manager reading application portfolios in the office. Concept of recruitment of staff, job interview. Vector flat design illustration. Square layout.

5 tips for a winning scientific CV

No matter how eager you are to find the perfect scientific job, you won’t get anywhere without a compelling CV.

With every role potentially receiving hundreds of applications, employers and recruiters often have an endless pile of CV’s to sift through. But the key to securing the job is to make sure that yours is the one that stands out.

So, check out these 6 tips to craft a winning scientific CV:

1. Research your target roles

HR manager reading application documents

The key objective of any CV is to show an employer how you meet the job requirements and make a good fit for the company. But how are you meant to achieve that without first undertaking some thorough research?

Before you even think about writing your CV, spend some time analysing the job description. What specific skills is the employer looking for? What qualifications and certifications and how many years of experience does the post require? Jot these down and make sure to refer to them throughout the CV writing process.

Don’t forget to research the organisation, too. By understanding their history, goals and values, you’ll be able demonstrate how tuned in and well-matched you are to the company culture.

2. Tailor to the role you’re applying to

You may be tempted to impress recruiters with every single detail of your BSc, PhD and postdoctoral experience, but remember that they’re only interested in whether you can carry out the specific job they’re recruiting for.

So while it is worth showing off your most impressive achievements, you do need to avoid going into excessive detail about aspects which aren’t directly related to the role you’re applying for.…

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Policy advisor_ Marlies Westerhof_ NaturalScience.Careers

Policy advisor: If you know how the political system works, you can make a difference.

An interview with Marlies Westerhof, Policy Officer Nature and Landscape at a municipality in the Netherlands.

NSC: Marlies, you studied ecology at the University of Groningen and today you are a ‘Policy Officer…’ it sounds very political. Are you a politician?

MW: I am not a politician, but I do advise politicians. I am not attached to any political party, but the outcomes and content of my work are greatly dependent on the current political climate in the EU, the Netherlands and in the municipality. Hence, the election results decide whom I am advising, which political party this person represents, and what the current rules and policies this person needs to bear in mind.

NSC: What kind of policy advice do you give?

MW: I am advising our local councilwomen and councilmen (these people have been running for office and have won the elections) on agriculture, ecology, natural and landscape topics. This board of decision makers is coming with an assignment or a mission and I advise them on the implementations of it. Moreover, in the Netherlands citizens have ‘a voice.’ That means that every citizen has the right to propose and to object to plans. I consider all these assignments, proposals and objections and firstly advice on ‘if’ we should do something with it and if the board decides ‘we should do something with it’ then I advise them on ‘how’ to do it. For example, what to take into consideration, opinions of different people and organisations, and what science says about the topic at hand.…

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Seeing ecology in the legal framework, that is what it is all about.

An interview with Dagmar Heidinga about working in an ecological consulting firm.

What would best describe you as a professional?

I am a ‘Law and Natural Protection Specialist Flora and Fauna.’

Right. Sounds fancy. What does it mean? 

I am an ecologist by training and now work for an ecological consulting firm. We are advising companies, governments, managers of protected areas, and private persons about the legal frameworks of interventions and write action plans for natural protection.

As soon as anyone in the Netherlands wants to do any kind of activity that could potentially damage protected species, they need to get advice from an independent agency in order to get permission to pursue the activity. 

Can you give an example?

In the Netherlands bats, sparrows and swifts are protected species in residential areas by the Nature Protection Act. If anyone wants to get permission to renovate a house or demolish an old barn, they need to get permission from the government to do so. My field ecologist colleagues are coming to the area for a ‘quick scan’ to investigate if any of the protected species is nesting in the area. If the ‘quick scan’ is positive, meaning we suspect one of the protected species is in the area, we advise our client to do further research before the renovation or demolition takes place, because otherwise he or she could breach the law. The next step will be to conduct in-depth research during the time of the year that specific species is active; the breeding season.…

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