Application advice: Top tips for a career in Sustainability

This post is written by Lindsay Parker, an Application Adviser and PhD candidate in the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries. Here she outlines some tips and advice for students looking for a career in Sustainability.

Routes into careers in sustainability are many and varied. A growing area, sustainability is increasingly vital across all sectors. A job in sustainability does not necessarily mean working in an environmentally focused role, all sectors need sustainability expertise and sustainability led businesses and organisations look for employees with a range of different skills (for example in marketing, technology or finance) So, if your current degree is not sustainability focused, this need not be a barrier to pursuing a sustainability focused career.  

During the 2023 ‘Discover careers in sustainability’ panel event, we heard from experts from a range of job roles and sectors who shared their experience and career journey. Speakers included; Peter May, Net Zero Policy & Delivery Manager at NHS England, Jone de Roode Juaregi, Climate Action Assistant at King’s Sustainability Team, Stacey Cougill, Director at Eight Versa and Sophie Badoche (She/Her): Marketing Manager at Treeap.  

Here is a roundup of their top tips for anyone looking to explore sustainability as a career option…… 

Show your passion

All of the panellists agreed, people working in sustainability have passion. To stand out in interviews and applications, you should demonstrate your interest, knowledge and enthusiasm. Be proactive and look for opportunities to volunteer, make connections or gain practical experience within the sector. This need not be formal internships or placements but could be through joining a society at King’s for example. This is a chance to not only show your commitment but also to meet other likeminded people and learn from those with more experience.

Build your network

This doesn’t need to be through formal networking events. Volunteering, joining societies or attending sustainability related events can be a great way to meet other people working in the sector. LinkedIn can also be a useful resource for connecting with professionals in the field. Networking doesn’t need to mean pitching yourself, don’t be afraid to ask questions and show an interest in what others are doing.

Keep learning

Sustainability is a complex and ever-changing field. Keep up to date with developments, particularly within your specialist sector. Look for free courses and events, be inquisitive and take opportunities to learn from others. You will not be expected to have all the answers, but having a well thought out opinion on key topics is beneficial both for formal interviews and informal networking.

Tailor your degree

Consider how your studies might be directed towards the sustainability issues that you care about and take advantage of elective modules and projects that could be sustainability focused. For example, perhaps you are able to choose your own research question or case study for a piece of work which could be related to sustainability. This can be a means to both demonstrate your passion and to explore how your transferrable skills might be applied to a future job role.

‘Join the dots’

Think about how to ‘join the dots’ between your own skills and specialism and a career in sustainability, what are the transferable skills that you bring from your degree? Roles within sustainability are hugely varied, requiring a range of skills from storytelling to organisation and critical thinking. Focus on the skills and strengths that you have and how these might be applied to a sustainability role. A good place to start is the KASE (Knowledge, Attributes, Skills & Experience) framework in your course handbook and the Learn What makes me Employable page on Keats. 

There is no one route to a career in sustainability. Whether your current studies are focused in the field or not, you can prepare by engaging with related groups and events, making connections, being inquisitive and continuing to learn and reflecting on your transferable skills.  

There are many opportunities to learn, connect and get involved with sustainability at King’s that you could take advantage of to get started! To hear more from our panel of experts, you can watch the full recording, as well as previous events on the ‘Discover careers …’  pages on Keats.