Careers Advice: Top 5 Tips To Get The Job

Whether you're trying a career change or just starting out after leaving education, it can feel daunting chasing your dream job. Becky Wilkinson, Learning & Outreach Manager, lays out the best advice for how to prepare and get the role you want.

By Becky Wilkinson · August 9, 2023

You’ve worked out you want to work in forestry!.. Or maybe you’re just exploring the idea, or an opportunity has arisen that made you start to consider it. Wherever you are in your journey we’ve put together our top 5 tips for working out where you are suited and then getting the job you really want.

1. Get Mobile or Rethink

Ideally those wanting to work in the forestry sector need a full driving licence. Typically jobs are in very rural locations that may not be possible to get to on public transport. If a car isn’t possible, think about how you can get where you need to be, maybe an electric bike, moped, or similar would suit your needs and budget? If you are reliant on public transport, aim at jobs which can be done within an urban environment or working from home; they do exist. Trees For Cities, for example, works to boost urban tree planting, and organisations that work to manage woodlands still need knowledgeable people behind the scenes. Like choosing the right tree in the right place, working out your resources and requirements is super important to finding the right position for you!

2. Find the Free Stuff

Find out what is happening in your area: Is your community doing tree planting this winter? Is a local woodland looking for help with a thinning or building dead hedges? Is there a school or college hoping to restore a green space? Or a research study happening about local wildlife? Events and opportunities like these can give you basic training, as well as the opportunity to talk to others about opportunities coming up. Getting to know people, good old fashioned networking in an area you love, is a great way to find out about future opportunities. Plus, giving a little bit of free labour in return for free training will give you the experience to help you choose your career path.

3. Spend Time in a Forest

If you are finding it tricky to get work experience, there are still ways to develop your skills in your own time. Visit a local forest or woodland and challenge yourself to describe what you’re seeing, from the treetops to the soil. Can you ID the trees and plants you are walking past? How would you describe the woodland? What challenges might be affecting this site (i.e. any sign of ash dieback, or other pests)? The more you can learn about the environment, observe, and learn about, the better your chances of being able to talk about those issues within an interview. You’d be surprised how many people wouldn’t know the difference between an Oak and a Willow tree: make sure you are not one of them!

4. Learn and Grow

Many people come to forestry as career changers, bringing a wide range of skills with them from other sectors. To help you stand out from other applicants, consider enrolling on courses that can be done alongside your current commitments to help you get relevant qualifications. Short and distance courses exist in a range of areas that could help you get your dream role, and there are plenty to choose from. If you are already volunteering for an organisation, don’t be afraid to ask if they would consider helping you gain transferrable qualifications such as first aid. They will benefit by having well-trained volunteers and you will have something extra to boost your applications!

5. Do Your Research

Forestry is a very varied sector with jobs including teachers, climbers, craftspeople, management, public relations, digital media, to name just a few. Is the job that you’re applying for in an area of forestry that you’re interested in? Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the job, the organisation, the work culture, and/or expectations, before submitting your application. Then use that knowledge to make sure your application shows why you fit this particular job, so you can stand out from the crowd. Just writing that you like being outdoors or conservation won’t quite cut it.

If you have passion, and do the work, there is nothing stopping you finding a job you love. The great news is that the future will rely on roles like foresters, those with the knowledge to keep our environment healthy, and wildlife along with it. From what we can see, the world is waking up to how much they need people like you, so go out and get that job!

Want more? Why not join RFS as a member and stay up to date with forestry news and opportunities with our fortnightly e-news, as well as getting member discounts for training and events!

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