1509029_778775265532295_4038191074802430978_nLast week, hundreds of students packed into Mary Gates Hall Commons for the University of Washington’s annual Environmental Career Fair. Hosted by the College of the Environment, the event included more than 30 of the region’s most noteworthy organizations working in the environmental and natural resource fields. The goal was for students to see what the job market might look like, and to make meaningful connections with industry professionals.

Students cam prepared, engaging in conversations and handing out copies of their resumes. But strategizing for success as you head into the job market can be stressful. To make it less so, here is some additional insight from the organizations represented at this year’s UW Environmental Career Fair:

  • “We get a lot of applications, I mean really, a lot. Make yours stand out by following up. Not just with, “Did you receive my application?” but something tailored and specific. Say you have some questions about the position itself and ask to be connected to the person who can answer those questions.” –Carl Grodnik, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks
  • “If there’s an organization you really want to work for, form a relationship with them as a volunteer or intern. You’ll build skills and make contacts. When a position does open up, you’ll be one of the first to know about it and, hopefully, one of the first people they think of hiring.” –Ben Conway, Peace Corps
  • “As you’re filling out an application, creating a resume or cover letter, or before you interview, make sure to do your research. Many students [here today] already know what Nature Consortium is and have specific questions when they get to the table. That’s great! It means we don’t have to start at square one – that we can instead have a really in-depth and beneficial conversation.” –Monica Thomas, Nature Consortium
  • “Don’t let your academic training restrain you. Know that you will learn so much on the job. Good job candidates are those willing to take on tasks they’re unfamiliar with.” –Maggie Bell-McKinnon, Washington State Department of Ecology
  • “Show initiative and do your background research. That’ll make you stand out right off the bat. Instead of, “Do you have any openings?,” or “What do you do?” aim for more of a dialogue.” – Preston Martin, NewFields
  • “Patience and persistence is key when looking for a job. Just know that it pays off in the end. Also, if you want to work for the Federal Government, really learn your way around USAjobs.gov.” –David C. Gross, United States Forest Service, Mt. Hood National Forest

11021086_778775608865594_8778853536129343466_nWhether you’re gearing up to apply for your first full-time job or you have a few years of undergrad left, keep in mind these bits of advice. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the College of the Environment Careers and Funding Blog, the most frequently updated environmental careers blog on campus, and check out UW’s Career Center for help developing your resume, preparing for interviews, and other early career workshops.