Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Career Panel Spring 2010; Opportunities, Challenges, Trends Presented by Six Environmental and Energy Leaders

Pursuing a graduate degree is in effect building a foundation for the future. But what kind of future? And what does it take to effectively make the transition from student to worker?

The Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program sponsored a career panel recently at which these and other similar issues were discussed and analyzed. The panel, organized and brought together by Assistant Director Lucy Daberkow, reflected stories of success and determination related to many of the different aspects that a student must consider when preparing to move into the job market. Taken together the panelists provided insightful guidance about the job market and the future.

The panelists (in alphabetical order) were:
Among the key pieces of advice for those attending the session:
  • Look for ways to network with key actors in the field; volunteer to do research projects; take on writing assignments as a means of "proving your worth" to potential employers.
  • Be persistent and don't rely on a resume or CV to "open the door" for you.
  • Work on improving your writing; being a good writer is a benefit no matter what type of position you are seeking.
  • Talk to your friends about the type of work you are looking for; see if they have contacts with whom you should follow up.
  • Be committed to constantly learning about your field; learning can take many forms including reading about new developments and trends, attending conferences, meeting speakers.
  • Look for publications to contribute to; leaders tend to be interested in who is writing about the newest developments.
  • Be willing to look outside of the "normal" places for work; this includes outside of Colorado and outside the U.S.
  • Look for contract/temporary work for federal agencies that can lead to permanent employment in the future.
  • Accept that in your career you are likely to have many different positions, many of which will be dictated by the trends in your field at a particular time.
Finding a new position or "inventing" a position for yourself are not always easy and things do not always happen when we would like them to. On the other hand, there are things that a student can control such as being as prepared as possible when an opportunity does come along.

Many thanks to each of our panelists who offered much advice and context for finding a job in tomorrow's job market. And thanks again to Lucy Daberkow for bringing together such a talented, energetic, and thoughtful panel.

To watch a video of the career panel, please click here.

--Don Smith

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