How to Embark on an Environmental Career

With countless companies across the globe increasing their sustainability efforts and paying more attention to their impact, many have realized that an environmental career in industrial sustainability is a viable career option.

There are many different opportunities in sustainability industries; recently National Geographicnamed 11 of the fastest growing environmental jobs as:

  • Urban growers
  • Water quality technicians
  • Clean car engineers
  • Recyclers
  • Natural scientists
  • Green builders
  • Solar cell technicians
  • Green design professionals
  • Wave energy producers
  • Wind energy specialists
  • Biofuel-related roles

Embarking on a career in industrial sustainability is becoming increasingly accessible; many schools offer degrees and courses in environmental sustainability studies. But there are many other things that can be done to create an environmental resume that will both impress potential employers and enrich your knowledge and skill set.

Starting a Sustainability Career

The first step is to find the area you’re passionate about and channel that into the job functions that interest you. This might mean that applying for a position or internship at various companies until you find the right fit, before deciding on which area to study.

Internships are a great opportunity to gain experience and establish connections at the start of any career. The chances of receiving a job offer before graduation are substantially higher with the completion of an internship in your preferred profession. Make a list of all the companies with potential opportunities and check out their job boards. If there aren’t any open internships, write the company an email expressing your admiration and asking if they have anything available, even if it’s just a two-week placement. These shorter slots are a great opportunity to get exposure to different departments and later make decisions about your future career.

Another method of gaining experience is through volunteering. If internships or work experience placements aren’t possible or available, offer to volunteer. The experience and knowledge that you’ll gain could prove invaluable. If you’re already employed, draft a fully comprehensive green project plan and present it to the board at your current workplace, impressing your employers with your resourcefulness and initiative.

Once you’ve decided which sustainability area to study, choose the school that best suits it. If staying in your current position is preferable, online sustainability programs are readily available.

To further show commitment to the cause and initiate important connections, join a sustainability association such as the Sustainability Consortium, the American Sustainable Business Council, or the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

Finding a Sustainable Job for You

Upon completion of your studies, the final step is to land the sustainability job of your dreams (if you haven’t found it already). Fortunately, there are many dedicated environmental recruitment websites that list open jobs across the sustainability industries sect. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Conservation Job Board
  • Environmental Career Opportunities
  • Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies jobs sites page
  • Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies job boards page
  • Environmental Defense Fund job openings