Young people are as passionate as ever about working in the field of sustainability. However, the field remains a difficult one to break into, and the pandemic has placed additional challenges on job seekers. Today, BA Geography Graduate and KCL Sustainability Engagement Assistant Helena shows practical steps to how you can build your career success and employability in sustainability during Covid-19.
If you’ve been offered an internship or entry-level job in your chosen field, congratulations! If you haven’t, that’s ok too! There are many things you can do to gain experience and further your employability in the diverse fields around sustainability. All of the below can help you build experience and you should highlight these kinds of experiences on your CV. And of course, you’ll also meet new people, build your network, and open up new and exciting doors for your future!
Tips for building experience for a sustainable career
- Consider a skills-building job.
Getting a job in your chosen field is never easy – even more so during the pandemic. However, it’s important to remember that, for many people, career paths don’t follow a straight line. Fortunately, because sustainability links to so many different areas, finding a job that can help you develop technical skills and/or transferrable skills that all employers value, will undoubtedly help you move forward in your career (i.e. working in general communications, consulting or finance).
Gaining industry knowledge will provide you with a greater understanding of the need for sustainability in your sector. Remember also that every organisation and industry can be more sustainable, so why not consider joining (or creating) a sustainability working group within your current organisation? Even if your job doesn’t naturally fall within the realms of sustainability, you can always find ways to incorporate it!
- Develop your knowledge about sustainability.
Make sure you’re familiar with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Take an online course – Coursera, Future Learn and Open University are great places to start. The All-Girls Eco-Programme fellowship is also currently recruiting for their first-ever summer programme (applications close June 10th).
Another way to develop your knowledge, as well as hone your analytical and communication skills is by researching and writing about sustainability – you could become a guest blogger for the King’s Sustainability blog or start a social media account about something you’re passionate about.
- Volunteer for or join a local community organising group.
If you can, volunteering is a great way to develop skills, learn more about the sector and network. Check out the KCLSU volunteering pages for opportunities and if you’re interested in learning more about Community Organising, Service at King’s is currently running training for King’s students with Citizens UK.
- For the next academic year, make the most of the opportunities at King’s.
From the Sustainability Champions Scheme, King’s Climate Action Network and sustainable societies, to King’s Think Tank, King’s Civic Challenge and King’s Entrepreneurship Insitute – there is always something happening at King’s. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, create it yourself with the help of the Student Opportunity Fund!
Make sure to follow the King’s Sustainability and Service at King’s on Instagram to keep up to date with opportunities. And feel free to get in touch with the Sustainability Team if you’re interested in learning more about opportunities to get involved.
My recommendations for job searching
Bookmark the companies and organisations you’re interested in and keep checking their job pages!
- King’s Careers KEATS services
- The Kickstart Scheme – for those aged 18-25 on Universal Credit (many organisations and NGOs are hiring
- through the programme right now).
- Charity Jobs
- Guardians Jobs Environment
- Environment Jobs
- LinkedIn – set up weekly alerts for specific organisations and/or job titles (i.e. research assistant, communications intern, etc.). Also, search and look out for people posting job listings.
- Girls in Policy – a monthly job board
- The Bloom send out a weekly jobs newsletter
I hope these resources and ideas have helped you bring together careers planning and sustainability. Finally, thinking about the future during a pandemic can be difficult. Make sure to take care of yourself and your mental health, and reach out to support if you need to (you can read more about King’s mental health help here).
Written by: Helena Fazeli