We were recently joined by alumni from the Department of Geography and Environment currently working at BEIS, South Pole, Ecorys, Vox Global and the WWF for a virtual career panel focused on careers in the environment and development space.
The alumni, all working in fields linked to environment or development, shared their personal career journeys along with the challenges and opportunities presented by COVID-19, and their top tips on job searching and ways to get experience.
Out of this very topical and informative discussion came five top job hunting and career tips from our panelists:
- Take a long term perspective on your career: think about where you’d like to be in the future, and orient yourself toward developing the range of knowledge, skills, experiences and contacts in order to reach this career goal. Ask yourself which skills you have, and which ones you need to develop.
- Be flexible: following on from the first point, recognise that you might not get your “dream job” immediately. Remember you can work towards it by showing some flexibility early-on in your career. This might include taking internships and looking for entry routes into an organisation and then moving around to work in a range of different roles. Some of these formative experiences (while possibly challenging) may prove very useful longer-term in terms of developing skills and forging useful professional contacts.
- Reach out: don’t be afraid to ask professionals in the field if they’d be willing to have coffee with you (even virtually) to ask for their insights and advice. The worst that can happen is that they might say no. Yet such meetings can be incredibly valuable, and may even turn out to be a route to an eventual job offer.
- Keep developing skills and knowledge: keep an eye on the future – what new needs and trends are emerging? Are there other quant or technical skills you could develop further through an online course? Good use of your time is to keep abreast of recent developments in climate action, regulatory innovations, etc., by watching webinars. Most of these are free and accessed through sites such as Climate Action, WRI, World Bank and ODI.
- Play to your strengths and interests: think about your own professional skills and interests. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? What topics are you keen to work on? Think about ways you can engage this through for example getting involved in campaigning or helping with short-term project research. If you’ve an entrepreneurial orientation, could you strike out on your own?
Don’t forget that LSE Careers is open throughout the summer and can work with you whatever stage of your career you are at. You can book one-to-one appointments, explore our sessions taking place over the summer months and find recordings of panels and webinars on CareerHub. If you have a specific question, check out our FAQs and get in touch if you can’t find an answer to your question.