Do you put iNaturalist on your resume/curriculum vitae?

Do you put your iNaturalist contributions on your resume or curriculum vitae (CV)*? Why or why not? If you do, what section do you put it in, and what details do you provide? I know some users use iNaturalist for their jobs and/or work in ecology-related fields, while for many users, iNatting is primarily a hobby. I’m interested in hearing a variety of perspectives.

For context: I’m considering adding my iNaturalist contributions (~3000 observations & ~7000 identifications) to my CV. I’m a graduate student in the field of toxicology, and iNat is mainly a hobby for me. However, I still see my iNat use as a modest contribution to science, as well as a potential avenue for science communication/outreach, which is why I’m thinking about including it in some way on my resume/CV.

*For those unfamiliar, a curriculum vitae or CV (at least in the US) is sort of a long-form resume for academic jobs that lists out all publications, scientific presentations, service work, etc. I think in some places, “CV” is used interchangeably with resume and indicates a shorter 1-2 page summary of professional experience, but that’s not how I’m using it here.


The typical distinction between a CV and a resumé is that the former is comprehensive, while the latter is tailored to the specific application, like a summary of the CV picking out the most relevant points for the job in question.

In either case, I am sure iNat could be a very relevant experience to mention if you make ecology-related applications. For those who use iNat in their actual job, I would mention it there under that employment heading. If not, then I would put it with other hobbies and personal interests.


I would agree with @DanielAustin. iNat is a useful addendum to your work experience. I would only reverse the position - it’s not really employment, but it is an important hobby/personal interest. That’s just my take on that stuff!! But yes, I think it is important to include.
Sorry @DanielAustin I didn’t mean to reply directly to you, but I don’t know how to undo it!


Yes, I put it on my CV in with “Community Involvement” along with being a board member of my mushroom club, founder/lead of a FunDiS project, and involvement with a science booster club. 2700+ observations and over 10,000 identifications just sounds impressive. For context I also put “Uses iNaturalist to record nature observations of living things and helps identify observations by others (username: sarahduhon)” since most people don’t know what it is.


Even though I am in my 70s, and not likely to be applying for a job any time soon, I would definitely include my iNat achievements on my CV/Resume. I have put so much work into iiNat and I am # 1 on many fairly important leaderboards. I believe my iNat abilities and some other of my volunteer nature experiences are relevant to several aspects of my employability.


I haven’t because I worry about potential employers knowing my location since I go between the US and Canada somewhat regularly (when not trapped on one side of the border due to COVID, that is) and don’t necessarily want that known to potential employers when I’m applying for jobs in Canada - my lack of knowing French already puts me at a disadvantage. I have classes I’ve taken that relate to biology listed on my resume and feel like that’s enough - connecting my real life activities to my online accomplishments on iNaturalist and Wikipedia feels like it would be giving away too much privacy to people who in all likelihood probably wouldn’t base their hiring decisions on how I spend my free time anyway.


If I were still applying for jobs, I’d find a way. iNaturalist work can be useful in other professional ways. For example, a professor friend has to complete a yearly statement of his accomplishments. He includes iNaturalist under “public outreach.”


I have recently done my first hiring for a job in academia, so I can provide some perspective from the other side of the table. Honestly, nobody really looks at hobbies and such - when looking for a candidate for a research position, we look, unsurprisingly, at their research. The hard stuff matters: what have you done, what papers you published or, if you are at the beginning of your careers, then what your theses were on and how well you can sell that. I am pretty sure most of my colleagues don’t even read the “extra” parts of the CVs.


I have put my hobbies-become-avocations in this “extra” part of the CV, one line simply as, e.g.,
volunteer curator,

No need to get fancier than that, if interested parties might be interested. I wouldn’t ever put my username, that might be creepy.

“Volunteer curator” tag seems like it would fit a few serious folks at iNat though!


Is community outreach part of the future job description? Then iNat is relevant.


I include my ids as part of my CV. In academia, where you’re expected to do just about everything, you’re also expected to have broader impacts/outreach/service. I think these ids fit perfectly, though I think some more traditional folks don’t see it that way. I think this has broader and more long-lasting impacts that a lot of things other folks do.

It certainly amplifies it when the data are small parts of publications, or even a single observation resulting in a publication itself.


The thing to do is to work out in what ways your iNat experience is relevant to what you are applying for, and then integrate it into the more essential sections of the CV/resume. Don’t tack it on at the end as a hobby.


Thank you all for sharing your thoughts! I’m finding this really helpful, and I hope others in a similar position do, too.

I appreciate this reality check. I am indeed at the very beginning of my career (I’m starting year 2 of my PhD), though rest assured I’m working on the “hard stuff.”

I’ll likely put my iNat contributions in a similar section (currently called “service” on mine, but I might revamp that one of these days).

Perfect! I’m applying to a fellowship that prioritizes broader impacts this fall. IDs have been my main form of service in the last year and a half (for both personal and pandemic reasons), though I’m working on getting back into volunteering again.

That’s the plan, though the bulk of my day-to-day will likely be lab-based research (I study how pollution affects the immune system).


Semi-related, I occasionally put it in my speaker bio in the same way that people provide their IG or twitter handle.


Yes, I have it on my CV under a section of ‘Volunteer Service and Citizen Science’ because I do quite a lot of that. It’s on there with BugGuide, Bumblebee Watch, eBird, Christmas Bird Count, formal BioBlitzes, etc. But I am a conservation biologist so I consider those things relevant, especially since I am a young professional who has not yet had many positions in my field and most of my application of my knowledge has been unpaid, so that section is the largest on my CV!


I woundn’t under-rate it, @opisska I think it depends on the job. iNat might not count for much for a high powered university job, but for the biology summer students and terms we used to hire in my lab, something like that would definitely play a role in hiring decisions. I always look at hobbies on a resume, to get a sense of whether biology is a passion, or just a job to someone. iNatters obviously are interested in observing nature, driven by curiosity, probably have some ID skills, and potentially know a thing or 2 about handling and visualizing data.


i do mention it but i also use it in a work context in some specific ways.


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