Tag Archives: green collar jobs

Q &A: Finding a Green Job

29 Sep

There’s not better way to find information than to talk with real people who have been there, done that. We sat down with our friend Emma, who graduated two years ago from UCSB and is currently working as an Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of an envornmental non-profit. She shared some great advice for recent grads looking for an environmental job:


MadGrad:  How did you find your current job?
Emma: On a site called idealist.org. It’s a great way to find volunteer opportunites and jobs with non-profits.
MadGrad: There seems to be quite a lot of recent grads looking for jobs in the environmental sector. Was it hard to find a job after graduation?
Emma:  It was difficult for me to get a job.  I was looking for about 5 months.  I applied to over 30 jobs I think.  The field is very trendy right now, which is great because people are becoming more aware of our impact on the environment and the negative repercussions it could cause.
MadGrad:  What major were you? Do you feel it helped prepare you for your current position?
Emma:  I was a political science and anthropology double major.  Within those majors I took classes specifically relating to environmental issues.  Definitely the political science major has been most helpful because we are involved a lot in lobbying Congress and other levels of government.  It would be a whole other story if I was an Environmental Studies major though, I would probably have a  better grasp of the intricacies of the issues we are involved in.

MadGrad:  Did you do any internships/ side work in college or after?

Emma:  Yes.  I worked in the University’s development department for my last year of college.  This has actually helped a lot in my current position.  I also did two internships after I graduated for the Environmental Departments of the City of San Francisco and the City of Berkeley.
MadGrad: How did you know you wanted to work in the envornment? Was there ever a time you envisioned yourself doing something else?
Emma:  Yes.  For probably 4 years in high school I wanted to be an interior designer.  And what actually changed my mind was going to a designer’s showcase and looking at the gluttonous, unnecessary wealth that made me want to do something with my life that would actually make a difference and change something.  I went into college undeclared, and although I was always interested in environmental issues, it didn’t turn into a career interest until mid-college.
MadGrad:  Are you happy with your current job? What do you like best and least about it?
Emma I love my current job because I work for a great boss and with great people.  I like my position because I know everything that is going on within the organization, from top to bottom.  I guess what I like least about my job is my actual position.  I’m not doing any work towards improving the environment, just assisting those who work to improve the environment.  But this is just the first stepping stone in my career.
MadGrad:  What is the biggest tip you would give to recent grads looking for a job in your field?
Emma:  I guess I would say to be open to possiblities.  I wasn’t sure where in the environmental field I wanted to go, so I applied to lots of different jobs in the field.  Also, be dedicated.  I got my internships last summer by contacting the places I was interested in and and just letting them know I was willing to take an unpaid internship.  It shows that you are committed to the cause and want to learn.