Navigate the Job Search and Application Process
Explore the Options
You may also find it helpful to take a personal inventory of what is most important and interesting to you in a job and that matches your knowledge and skill set. While you may not find a job that matches this list completely, this list will help narrow your search. Finding a job that matches your interests and abilities will also help both you and your employer down the line - you will likely be more prepared for and engaged in your work and your employer will benefit from this engagement.
Career profiles, job descriptions (both general and in actual job postings), and talking with others, including your advisor, peers, alumni, and potential employers, are all excellent resources for finding out more about the opportunities available as you begin looking for a job. Exploring the national employment growth in sustainability/green careers may also be a great beginning step in finding a career.
General Job Search Resources
- The On the Cutting Edge Beginning your Job Search page provides a section devoted to resources that can help you find what type of career matches your interests.
- From the American Geophysical Union, I'm about to Graduate - What on Earth do I do now?, by Alaina G. Levine, offers general advice for the job search, with a focus on the informational interview.
- Learn about the wide range of geoscience careers that are available via different degree pathways. You can also read first-hand career profiles from a variety of geoscience majors who chose a career beyond academia.
- Paths Through Science, from AGU, offers a wide range of career profiles from the Earth sciences and related fields.
- Career Exploration for Ph.D.s in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Disciplines - information and links to a variety of institutions/organizations with classifieds.
- Explore AGU's Workforce Research, which links to informational resources on the current and projected workforce.
- Learn more about salaries from Median Salaries for Geoscience-related Careers (2013) (from the American Geosciences Institute) or for a wide range of other careers using the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Resources from the American Geosciences Institute offer more information about careers available within the geosciences as well as advice from geoscience professionals related to topics such as finding and applying for a job and networking.
- Non-academic Career Prep for STEM Graduate Students from the Chronicle of Higher Education
- The Non-academic Careers of STEM PhD Holders from the American Institutes of Research
- Interested in teaching? Explore more at the Teaching pages within the InTeGrate Student Portal. You can also find links to general information about the job search process at the On the Cutting Edge Preparing for an Academic Career Beginning your Job Search web page.
Find a Career in Sustainability/Green JobsGeneral Information
- Green Careers, from CareerOneStop.org (sponsored by the US Department of Labor), outlines the basics of green careers: what opportunities are available, what types of skills and education are needed, what are the salaries for various green careers, what sectors are growing the fastest?
- Student Resources from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
- Getting to Green - a blog devoted to the green job market and trends from InsideHigherEd
- How to land a green job in 2014, a blog entry by Kevin Doyle, provides tips on getting a 'green' job and employment trends in this sector of the workforce.
- Read about green jobs available in California, from the Environmental Defense Fund, to get an idea for the opportunities that exist.
- O*NET Resource Center: Green Economy offers descriptions and occupational requirements for Green jobs.
- Portland State Careers in Sustainability website offers a variety of resources about green jobs, including interviews with local sustainability professionals, information about what green careers are and how to find one, and more.
- Green Careers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics offers green job articles, data about green jobs, and related links to more green job information.
- Environmental Career Profiles from EnvironmentalCareer.com
Explore Career Opportunities by Discipline
- Green Engineering for a Sustainable Environment from US EPA
- Green Business Network
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Institute for Sustainability
- Learn about Clean Energy Jobs from the US EPA
- US Army Corps of Engineers Sustainability Initiative
- US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
- World Federation of Engineering Organizations
- World Green Building Council
Resources, Including Job Postings
- Green and Sustainability Jobs and Career Resources by Debra Rowe, from the National Career Development Association provides a general overview of the green job market as well as a link to a spreadsheet of career resources and job listing sites.
- Environmental Career Opportunities - search job postings
- USA Jobs - search for jobs with the US Government
- GreenJob Engine - search for jobs across the country
- Green Dream Jobs - search for jobs across the US and international opportunities. You can define the skill level (from volunteer to entry-, mid-, and senior-level) and category.
- Community Advertisements from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers
- Explore professional societies' websites for postings. For example:
Careers in Academia
Looking for a job in academia? Explore more at the Teaching pages within the InTeGrate Student Portal. You can also find links to general information about the job search process at the On the Cutting Edge Preparing for an Academic Career Beginning your Job Search web page. While it is written for the geosciences, much of the information is applicable to other disciplines as well.
Interested in taking research and design in a new direction or starting a business enterprise of your own? Entrepreneurship may be an option for you! Learn more from the entrepreneurship page.
Apply for a JobAfter you've made your list of jobs you're interested in pursuing and found classifieds that match your interests, you will need to apply for the jobs. This requires you to have an up-to-date and well-organized and well-written resume, to read all requirements and directions for applying for the job, and to practice your interviewing skills. Some institutions have a career center where you can get feedback and advice on your resume, application, and interview skills. Your advisor or department may be able to engage the career center or even other professors to help tailor resumes, hold mock interviews, or letter writing workshops for you and fellow students. You can also ask if they are able to coordinate campus visits from potential employers - alumni might be beneficial in this endeavor.
Prepare for the Interview
Interviewing can be intimidating, but with practice, you can take some of the stress out of the process. For instance:
- Many institutions offer interview advice, resources, and even practice through the campus career center. You can also practice with family and friends with these common interview questions from Forbes magazine.
- You should also inform yourself about potential illegal questions and how to kindly decline to answer them if you think they are inappropriate.
- A similar page, by the Pomona College Career Development Office, entitled Recognizing Inappropriate Interview Questions lists several illegal interview questions and legal versions of the same questions that address the legitimate, job-related concerns that may be behind them. Recognizing the legitimate concerns behind illegal questions may help you to prepare for and decide how you want to respond to such questions.
Remember that the interview is also a time for you to evaluate if the job is right for you. As such, it is useful to come prepared with questions that you may have for the interviewer about the organization/company/institution and where your job fits in the context of the organization as a whole. You can also prepare yourself for post-interview expectations with questions such as:
- When do they hope to fill the position?
- Will the top applicants be invited back to meet other people in the company?
- Lizandra Vega, author of "The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want," suggests, you can ask interviewer about following-up with them after the interview - would it be okay to touch base with them, and if so, what is the preferred method to communicate?
After the Interview
Very few people are hired immediately following the interview and the wait to hear back from the employer can range from days to weeks. Unless you are specifically asked not to do so, career experts recommend sending a thank you note within 24 hours following the interview and following up with the employer about the status of the job search. Keep communications succinct and to the point, but personalized and customized for the job. It may also be helpful to call your references to let them know they may receive a call. This article from CNN 10 Things to Do After your Interview elaborates on some of the suggestions mentioned here and provides additional recommendations.
If you find yourself waiting a long time to hear back following the interview, don't panic! There can be a number of reasons for a delay in the decision-making process, some of which are elaborated on in the article 10 Reasons They Haven't Contacted You After a Job Interview by Susan P. Joyce. In addition to identifying causal factors for delays, she also recommends not stopping your job search while you wait: "Do NOT put your job search on hold while you wait to hear the news on any job! Keep your job search momentum rolling. Until you hold a job offer (with the right job title, salary, and start date) in your hand, you don't have a new job."
Once you are offered a job, you may be a position where you find yourself negotiating before making your final acceptance. If you're applying for a job that involves negotiating start date, salary, and benefits (e.g. a faculty position), take some of the mystery out of the process by reviewing this series of web pages about negotiating from On the Cutting Edge's Preparing for an Academic Career. While focused on negotiations in academia, many tips such as researching the salary range for your job (keeping in mind this varies regionally) and talking with peers in similar professions, apply across a range of career types.