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Outdoor industry flush with employment opportunities

by By Brandon Butler For the Fulton Sun | March 18, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Jason Jensen (left) and Greg Collier with the Missouri Department of Conservation are examples of professionals with jobs they are passionate about. (Driftwood Outdoors/Brandon Butler)

Too many adults go to work every day wishing they had a different job. Sportsmen, who spend their days dreaming about being on the water or in the woods, toil in hospitals, factories, sales jobs and on construction sites wishing they could make a living in the outdoor industry. Most write off the idea as too farfetched, but it's really not.

I used to be one of those people who watched hunting and fishing television and read outdoor magazines, wishing I could be one of those people. Like many others though, I spent the earliest years of my career believing those jobs were reserved for the lucky few who somehow were bestowed those roles by destiny. In reality, outdoor industry jobs are like all other jobs; you just have to be qualified for the role you're pursuing.

Now that I've spent close to 20 years working in the outdoor industry, I know how broad it is. I've worked for a state government agency, a hunting and fishing manufacturer, ran a non-profit and now work for a company rooted in conservation practices. From firearms to fishing poles and conservation habitat to corporate compliance, outdoor industry jobs are available across most business disciplines. Chances are, you won't become the star of an outdoor television show. But selling outdoor gear, working in HR, marketing, accounting or whatever you're good at is an option in the outdoor industry.

I am asked all the time; how did you get started in the outdoor industry? Well, it really started with simply expressing my desire to be in the industry to someone who already was. He inspired me to start pursing a different course in life. Now I am saying the same to you. If you have dreamed of working in the outdoor industry, you should do it. Life is too short to spend your working years in a role you don't love.

There is plenty of online job-hunting websites you can use to look for outdoor industry jobs. You can set keyword searches and have potential jobs delivered to your email inbox every day. LinkedIn is an important social media site for job seekers. If you don't already have LinkedIn, and you want to land a new job in any industry, you should have LinkedIn. Another option is to work with a recruiting firm.

HeadHunters NW is an example of a recruiting firm focused exclusively on the shooting, hunting, and outdoor industry. With a firm such as this, you work with them to identify and apply for jobs. The beauty is, it shouldn't cost you anything. They are paid by the company that hires them.

"Preparing people for success is an integral part of executive recruiting," said HeadHunters NW President Shaylene Keiner.

To assist outdoor industry job seekers, HeadHunters NW is hosting weekly live meetings to provide resources for those who hope to work in the outdoors industry. Weekly HeadHunters NW career planning sessions are scheduled for Wednesdays and will host each interactive 30-minute Zoom session.

"Indicators point toward an economic slowdown, contributing to people experiencing uncertainty about their employment. We want folks to feel empowered and give them a comfortable place to ask questions and learn how to take positive career steps," said Keiner. "It's okay to feel tentative about your future when your job outlook is in question."

A professional like Keiner and her team in your corner gives you an incredible leg up in your pursuit of a job in the outdoor industry.

"I am eager to share my decades of experience recruiting with people. Now is the time to prepare for career changes, and we have insight into what employers in the shooting, hunting, and outdoor industry are looking for. We want to see you succeed and will share our knowledge," Keiner said.

Some of the topics the HeadHunters web series will cover include; steps to take if you lose your job, how to build your credentials and resume, what are employers looking for, how to differentiate yourself from your competitors, how to prepare for video interviews, exploring your career options, effective networking, developing a career action plan, negotiating offers, and searching for jobs. For more information, visit HeadHuntersNW.com.

Trying to decide what to do for a living is a challenge at any age. With two high schoolers of my own at home, I know how hard it is to help young people wrap their minds around the reality that they'll likely spend the next 50 years working. I over-emphasize to them the importance of developing a career you enjoy so your work is actually enjoyable. Regardless of your age, I believe it's never too late to change.

If you love the outdoors, there is a job for you in the industry. All the companies, agencies and organizations serving hunters, anglers and conservation need people in all the same disciplines as businesses serving other industries. There is no time like the present to make a change. Especially if doing so will lead to a happier existence.

See you down the trail...

Print Headline: Outdoor industry flush with employment opportunities

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