Inaturalist and Resumes

I’ve gotten advice to put personal projects on my resume, and I would consider Inat a personal project of mine, one that I have put many hours into the last few years. I’ve been considering updating my resume to include it for some time.

What have others done out there? Any specific phrasings to show off certain skills?

I’m thinking about linking my profile and mentioning my skill sets relating to observing and identifying and maybe include some stats though those are always increasing.


depends - what kinds of jobs are you applying for?


I think it depends. If this is part of a list demonstrating that you’re an biologist in some sense, keep it simple. “iNaturalist – Over the past 3 years I have become increasingly involved with this world-wide project, posting 8,439 observations and identifying 3,000 observations for other observers.” If something about your iNaturalist work fits in with the job, mention it, e.g. “. . . including 2,700 insects” if you’re applying for an entemologist job or “. . . concentrating on Nevada plants” if it’s a job doing field work on Nevada.

Probably best not to include your iNaturalist name unless this is very relevant to the job – they can always ask if they want to know. And certainly do not including your iNaturalist name if it will make potential employers cringe. Some of these names . . . well.


Passionate about photography, I actively contribute to iNaturalist, documenting local flora and
fauna, showcasing my deep appreciation for the environment.

As others have said here, it depends what you’re applying for and who you’re applying to etc.


If citizen science, or engaging with the public - will be part of your job description - then iNat fits. In an ideal world, the ivory towers would see engaging with the public-out-there as a useful skill for employment (and part of the job description)


PS this is the invoiced cost of NOT engaging with the public-out-there.
Choose audio or transcript links in the comments there.


As a person who is applying for grad school, if you have been spending a lot of time on iNat (more so for IDs, curating, or projects as opposed to observing, unless posting very high quality museum-grade photos), then I would definitely put it on your CV. I, for example, mentioned 100,000+ IDs, curatorship, and macrophotography of various institution collections (udel-hoppers), etc.


If you have used iNaturalist data in a publication, that can also be worth mentioning.


I have an “outreach and communication” section on my resume. Bullet points are things like giving talks to the public, writing for newsletters, etc. One of the bullet points is
“Identified 150,000+ bees on iNaturalist platform (top 5 identifier)”


That’s exactly what was on my resume when I sent it to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for an internship… and got accepted!


My youngest son is going through a job search right now in engineering. He’s a recent college grad and we encouraged him to put his high school/college extracurricular and work experiences on his resume.
He has made connections with interviewers who had also rowed or were a lifeguard. One was interested in his demonstrated leadership skills being on the board of his college crew team.

You’ve developed a lot of skills being so involved in iNat beyond biological ones, e.g., photography, research skills, organizational, and dedication. If an interviewer also does iNat you have an instant connection, because who doesn’t like to chat with a fellow iNatter? The soft skills could also be important for a potential job or grad school.

You would probably want to tweak the description of that (unpaid) work to fit the job being applied for.


in my mind, as long as you can tie whatever your put on your resume to whatever you’re applying for or whomever you’re trying to impress, that’s the most important thing. if you’re just putting something on your resume because it’s important to you but is not relevant otherwise, there’s a poem by Shel Silverstein titled Memorizin’ Mo that seems relevant.

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This is how I have it on mine
Community Engagement & Service
iNaturalist, Community Science Initiative Web Project Summer 2020 – Current
• Adds observations (5000+) and identifies the observations of others (32000+) with an error rate of 0.17% across 5400+ species.

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Out of curiosity, how did you get that number for your error rate?
I put what my maverick rate is out of my total IDs. I try to fix them when I can but I held off for about 6 months of 2023 to get a better sense of how often I was messing up.

I’m so thankful that’s all over now that I’m retired. But if I did have to include my iNat experience, perhaps I might say:

“Two years experience in generating thousands of problems for highly-skilled identifiers to solve.”

Hmm… maybe I should run for public office.