How to Start your Environmental Job Search — the Right Way. Part 1/3.

Just getting started with the environmental job search? Here’s how to kick things off on the right foot

When we speak to environmental job searchers, they usually are in one of three stages of the job search — either they’re just starting out, applying but not getting interviews, or interviewing but not receiving offers. All three positions are rather frustrating and pose their own set of problems. 

But, not all hope is lost! If you find yourself in one of these three positions, there are tangible steps you can take to overcome this phase and eventually land a great role. We’ll discuss them in this series of articles on how to overcome your job search struggles. 

In this article, we’ll cover what to do at the start of your job search — before you even start applying. Getting started with the environmental job search can be really confusing —whether you’re a student looking for internships for the first time, a job searcher switching into the environmental field, or just ready for a new role. However, there are some steps you can take to make the job search less daunting from the get-go. 

Explore a path

One of the most significant setbacks that a job seeker can face is a lack of direction. The environmental field is vast (and growing) — which is exciting but can be overwhelming if you haven’t had the opportunity to explore the different opportunities within it. Direction is something environmental professionals often struggle with for years (even decades) throughout their careers, so don’t feel like you need to have it all paved out right now. But going into the job search completely blind can cause you a lot of unnecessary stress. 

Before going into the job search, you should definitely have a clear idea of: 

  • The job title(s) you are searching for. Not everything with “environmental” in the title will necessarily be a match to your interests or skills. 
  • Locations you’d be open to/if you’re looking for remote-only. 
  • Sectors that interest you (private, government, or nonprofit). 
  • Types of work that appeal to you (lab work, field work, or office work). 
  • Your desired benefits and boundaries, such as starting salary, hours, and PTO 

For a more in-depth look at finding your direction, read our “How to Set the Direction for your Job Search” blog and check out the ENVIROlocity™ Career Explorer to explore the sectors within the environmental field. 

Update your Job Search Essentials (resume, LinkedIn profile, and networking plan) 

When most professionals start or restart their job search, their first step is generally updating their resume. It’s a dreaded task, but an enormous weight off your shoulders once it’s done. Landing your dream role, however, takes more than a great resume.  


In theory, you should always have an updated resume on-hand in case an unexpected opportunity arises and you are asked to send your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager. But in practice, we know that updating your resume is one of those tasks that always falls to the bottom of your to-do list until you start actively searching. 

As you add a new role to your resume, sit down and list all of your responsibilities and accomplishments in a document. Then, start polishing it into bullet points.

A general format for each bullet point is to explain your responsibility, how you did it, and for what purpose. Plus, start each bullet point with a relevant action verb. 

For example: “Collected water monitoring data once a month using Hydrolab equipment for the statewide ambient water monitoring program”

If you can describe not just your responsibility, but its larger impact and the skills you attained while doing it, you’ll have a larger opportunity to demonstrate your aptitude and how your past experiences can translate to a new role.  


Much like a resume, a LinkedIn profile should always be up-to-date; you never know when a recruiter from your dream company might stumble across your page! But… we get it. Luckily, it’s not really that difficult to have a stand-out profile.

Here’s what you need: 

  • A professional profile picture from the last 1-2 years. 
  • A banner photo. For the most part, it can really be anything semi-professional, but it doesn’t hurt to have something nature-y. 
  • An about section that demonstrates your skills but doesn't necessarily read like a resume. It could be about what you learned across your career, why you’re passionate about the environmental field, the type of leader you are, etc. Make sure you include your contact information! 
  • An updated experience section with descriptions for each role. 
  • Recommendations from former co-workers, managers, or even classmates. 

Then, start connecting

Networking plan

Networking, as scary as it is for many job searchers, is undeniably a necessary part of the job hunt. Being good at networking is a major asset as you start searching for a job, especially if you are particularly early in your career and might not have the same kind of experience as other professionals applying for the same roles. 

Having a networking plan differs from your general networking in that you should have a goal in mind, whether that is to get yourself in front of a recruiter at your dream company, learn more about the career paths of other environmental professionals who hold a certain role, or even just establishing yourself within a local community of environmental professionals. 

Once you figure out why you’re networking, your next step is to decipher who to network with. This will be dependent on your goals, but it’s generally important to have an “in” with the people you reach out to, whether it’s that you’re in the same LinkedIn group, have a mutual connection, or are alumni of the same school. That way, you don’t seem like a complete stranger.

Then, reach out to them and start making those connections! Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lot of responses at first — some professionals might not regularly check their LinkedIn or may simply not be interested in mentoring others. However, it never hurts to send out that first message and follow up! 

For a more detailed look at creating a networking plan, check out our “5 Proven Steps to Effective Job Networking” blog article. 

Start applying! 

You’ve laid the groundwork — now, it’s time to apply. Go forth! 

If you’ve already heeded our advice and still aren’t receiving interviews, stay tuned for our next article in this series. We’ll cover why you might not be securing interviews despite following all the advice above and the steps you can take to actually get in front of a hiring manager.


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