Seek Work Worth Living
Co-authored by Neha Bhalla
Looking to apply for environmental jobs in the federal sector?
As the environmental job outlook grows, it’s important to remember that a significant number of those jobs are in government. If you’re coming from the private sector or straight out of university, you will quickly realize that the process for applying to a federal job and a corporate/non-profit one is extremely different.
I recently sat down with Nancy Segal, Professional Federal Resume Writer & Consultant, to discuss those differences and gain insight into some common questions I receive about applying in the federal sector. Nancy has over 30 years working in federal HR and has incredible resources for federal applicants on her website and YouTube channel. This blog article would not be possible without her help, so please check her out!
Without further ado, here is what every federal applicant needs to know:
The Application Process:
I occasionally receive messages like this: “I am currently studying environmental policy. I've done research with elephants, noise pollution, and ocean studies. I want to make a positive impact for global climate change. There's so many paths I could take, how do I know what to do?”
Career seekers struggle with a few areas more than others. One of those struggle areas is coming up with an answer to the seemingly simple question, “What do you want to do?” Some struggle with the fear of making a choice. Once the choice is made the pressure of making it happen causes a high amount of anxiety from fear of failure. Others struggle with being interested in too many things. No one environmental-related degree equates to a single career path so even if your degree is in policy, you might find your interest crosses over into conservation or ocean science.
Your career search will go much smoother if you have an idea of the direction you want to go in....
The best way to get an advantage in the job search, after networking, is to bring something special to the table. Of course, every job and industry are different but there are a few skills that are important to all industries that can serve you well no matter where you work.
The key is to choose one, or one at a time, and focus on building that skill. Often for entry-level positions, the applicants all have just a basic knowledge of any one of these. Being able to show that you have a passion for one of them, are really great at it, and have something to show for it can pay off big time.
So, how do you choose? For that, we turn to Key #2 of the Environmental Career Coach’s 3 Keys to landing your dream job. Key #2 is Knowledge, Experience, and Interest. Combining the three of these over time should develop into a passion. Start with interest. Which of the 4 cross-cutting skills is interesting to you? If they all are, or none are, then you can look at the job...
No one wants to hire someone who isn’t capable of getting the job done or who needs their hand held all day. Although this is generally true in any market, it is particularly evident in the environmental industry. Environmental jobs come with hefty responsibility. It isn’t ok to drop the ball or wait for someone else to pick up after you because the environmental - habitat, conservation, or other - mission is at stake. Field days are hard to reschedule, scientific data can’t be recouped if it was missed or messed up, and sometimes things just don’t go as planned. Environmental jobs require people who can improvise and think on their feet.
There are three key characteristics wrapped up in self-reliance including:
Are you the type of person who is constantly going back and forth when trying to make a decision? Especially when it comes to spending money or making long term choices? Do you second guess decisions or purchases after you’ve made them? I am here to tell you the flip-flopper affliction is not going to get better on its own and it can be very self-defeating in your job search.
The job search is all about making decisions. Big decisions that will affect every aspect of your future. How much money you’ll make, who you’ll spend most of your time with, and how satisfied you’ll be in life in general. The key is that its the little choices you make now that will ultimately affect those larger decisions. Which companies should you apply to? What training should you take? Where should you spend your time networking?
If you can’t seem to nail any of these down, take a look in the mirror and a look down the road. Who are you? What is important to...
This week, I am responding to a question I received through LinkedIn: “What differentiates a great CEO from ordinary people? Why only a few people get promoted and become a senior executive?”
First of all, these are great questions and a good observation to make as you enter the workforce. It is true, not many people rise to the levels of senior management and even less to the top positions like CEO or Executive Director. I think it is important for people in environmental careers to have an idea where they see themselves in the future and even toward the end of their careers. When we do the visioning exercise in coaching, people are often leery of writing anything specific for an end career goal which is understandable. However, you can easily set yourself up to be labeled a field person when you'd rather be progressing and gaining leadership experience, just as it is easy to be pulled in to management when you'd rather be working closely with your...