How to Get a Job in Sustainability
This is an industry that draws in people who care about preserving the environment for future generations, and the number of sustainability-related careers has been growing. This is great news for recent grads who are passionate about the planet and want to contribute to protecting its resources. Here are the steps you need to take if you want to land a job in sustainability studies.
- Develop your knowledge of sustainability topics
When you’re planning for your career, you want to have as broad an understanding of sustainability-related fields as possible. Think through the classes you’ve taken in areas like landscape architecture, economics, urban planning and anthropology. Make a point to stay on top of sustainability-related news and consider subscribing to newsletters that cover sustainability like the NASA Global Climate Change newsletter or the Climate Action newsletter. Beyond this, do some research to find out about specific companies doing work in sustainability. Forbes’ annual list of “The World’s Most Sustainable Companies” is a great place to start.
- Determine what aspects of sustainability you’re interested in
After you’ve gotten a good grasp on what’s happening in the sustainability space, the next step is narrowing your focus so you can pick a career path that matches your interests and skills. For example, if you enjoy tracking metrics and have knack for making everything you do more efficient, you might consider a career as an analytic methods analyst. Or, if you’ve always been passionate about government’s role in sustainability issues, you might consider a career in environmental policy and planning. Other potential career paths include business, landscape and architectural design and marine science.
- Intern with a company that focuses on sustainability
Once you’ve done your industry research and you have a strong focus in mind, the next step is getting hands-on experience by interning at a company that focuses on sustainability. Internships are a great way to gain deeper knowledge of a field while also getting a sense of the role or roles that are best for you. Keep in mind that while smaller companies are great for a more cross-functional internship experience, bigger companies might give you a chance to specialize in a very specific field and gain the type of industry experience most people only get once they’re working a full-time job.
- Know what your top-choice sustainability companies look for
While companies focusing on sustainability have plenty of differences, they all share a passion for environmental preservation. They also share a desire to hire smart, motivated recent grads to join their teams. Once you have an internship or two on your resume and start applying to full-time jobs, pay close attention to the mission and work of each company and think about how everything you’ve learned so far can help your potential new employer. Whether you’re applying online or heading to an in-person interview, be sure to highlight everything you’ve learned about the industry so far, and emphasize your passion for the company and the field of sustainability.
By following these tips and honing your skills and knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to finding a sustainability job that’s right for you.