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Strategies for Success

Looking for an internship or a job is a job itself. Your search will be effective if you have a goal in mind, stay organized, incorporate a variety of methods, and follow up. 

Consider your options, apply to postings, and actively seek out your own opportunities. We recommend using a combination of search tactics; you never know which one will get you hired. Keep these tips in mind to get your search going! 

Open planner and text reading Quick Tips.

Research organizations early

Be proactive! Target organizations and approach them directly. They may have internship and career opportunities that they are not advertising right now, or you may be able to develop your own opportunity.

  • Explore related organizations in that industry.
  • Find opportunities to connect with these organizations of interests; do they have an internship program or other community outreach programs? 

Determine your location and internship/job focus

Consider where you want to be; do you want to be near home? Northeast? Anywhere? Can you negotiate?  Do you want to work for the government (such as federal, state, county)? Non-profit? Private sector? Or does it matter? 

Remember to stay open and flexible. Don’t narrow your job search so much that you miss out on opportunities. Try to consider the merits of each opportunity before you react to its location and don’t let concerns about housing limit your job search. 

Be flexible. Be willing to move and work in a different geographic location than you had planned; consider doing a different kind of work or working in a different industry other than what you believe would be ideal; if necessary, consider a lower starting salary than you had hoped for — at least to start with. 

Consider “hot” geographic areas. Review articles to identify areas with the most potential for your field. Read news from that area, use the web to identify employers/opportunities geographically. 


Connect with professionals and alumni

Check out our Networking and LinkedIn page for more information and tips and tricks


Explore available opportunities and apply

Brand yourself! Make sure you have an up-to-date master resume to pull information from.  Be sure to tailor all resumes and cover letters based on the positions you are applying for. Have Career Services review them; perhaps there is room for improvement, especially as you transition from student to new grad. We also encourage you to update your LinkedIn, so you have a positive online presence; employers often do searches of potential candidates. 

  • Explore a variety of options and carefully evaluate the opportunities you find so you can pursue an internship or job that will provide you with the best experience.
  • There are lots of different job posting boards out there to look at. Consider setting up search alerts on each of the platforms.  

Stay organized! Keep track of all the internships and jobs you find/are interested in via a spreadsheet. Make sure you keep track of the deadlines. 

Apply to multiple organizations. Internships and jobs are competitive. Give yourself the best chance of succeeding. 

Handshake: Handshake is our job listing database. If you have not been using it — take advantage of it now using your credentials.  


Career and Internship Fair top tips

Prepare and review your resume (schedule an appointment on Handshake or send a copy to Bring multiple copies with you to the event. 

Prepare an “elevator pitch” (short summary about yourself, to open a conversation with employers, including your name, major, year in school, relevant credentials, career goals (or job roles of interest ex. Project Manager, Engineer) 30 seconds – 2 minutes)  

Be prepared to ask questions. Memorizing a few general questions helps a lot, then practice saying questions out loud.  

Keep an eye out for events scheduled by Career Services designed to practice and/or prepare; we want to see you be successful!

  • Review the list of employers before the fair and pick several that interest you; you only need to know if they conduct work that is of interest to you or have positions that may be a good fit.
  • Leading up to the Fairs, Career Services will send targeted emails to students in each department listing employers that indicate they are interested in recruiting students in the area of study. 

Follow up with the employers that you connected with at the fair! Send a brief thank you email regarding something you discussed with them at the fair.



Be optimistic and persistent. Inquire about each of your applications within a few days with an email or phone call.  

Be proactive. Position yourself as a candidate that “wants the job the most”. One of the biggest weaknesses to a job search is being passive – make it easy for a potential employer to connect with you, effort should be on your part. Employers respond to job seekers who make the extra effort to write follow-up thank you notes and continue to reconfirm interest. 

Follow up with all companies where your application is pending. If a company has your resume, and you have not heard from them, give them a follow up call or e-mail. If you have interviewed with a company, touch base with them to check your status and offer to answer any questions they may have.



Think positively. Devote time to your job search; strategize, plan, set goals, and keep good records. 

Consider your negotiables and non-negotiables.  

Fake it. Even if you are not feeling very confident, it is important to project a positive attitude. Believe you are the best person for the job before you can convince others that you are. Be prepared to go into an interview. Preparation will alleviate some of your nervousness and you will appear more relaxed and confident. 

Don’t give up. Everyone knows that the economy is not great right now — but that doesn’t mean that you should postpone looking for a job until it improves. Jobs are out there you just need to be more flexible and work harder to get one. 

Know Career Services is on your side; schedule an appointment with us (in-person or virtually) for customized tips to strengthen your job search strategy.  


Helpful resources

Environmental Job Board 
Conservation Job Board 
American Society of Adaptation Professionals  
Green Jobs Board  
Professional Societies Related to Your ESF Major 
Some examples can be found on the Networking and LinkedIn page. We also recommend you talk with faculty, professionals in the field, and do your own research.  


Icon: Cycle of arrows.Thinking about changing careers?

Career changes are very common in today’s world, due to economic changes, company layoffs and people just deciding to make a career change. In fact, the Department of Labor statistics show that the average person makes 4 to 6 career changes and 12 to 15 job changes in his/her lifetime. That’s a lot of change!

It’s important to do a good self-assessment and a lot of research before making a change, to make the transition as smooth as possible. Changing jobs can be a very exciting time in your career path! It offers new challenges and an opportunity to develop and build your skills. It can help you move ahead financially and work toward your long-term goals. 

When do I know it’s time for a change?

  • Seeking increased financial rewards.
  • The lack of challenge in your current job.
  • No opportunities for upgrading your skills.
  • High unemployment in your field or limited job opportunities.
  • On-going lack of success at your current job.
  • An intentional plan to change your life and career.
  • Retirement or change due to work/life balance issues and stress concerns.
  • Making a hobby into a career.
  • Not happy with your current career.
  • Dissolving positions with the increase of technology. 


Something to consider when changing jobs is whether you need or want more or additional education or training to advance your career. Your educational goals could range from short training workshops or seminars, to self-study, self-paced certificate programs, online certification programs, or even taking time away from a job to complete an additional degree. 

When changing jobs or career paths:

  • Try to always leave a job on good terms, if possible.
  • Write up your main responsibilities and the status of all projects to update your manager and assist with the work transition.
  • Reconcile company credit cards/expense accounts that your company has been paying for you.
  • Return any company property that you have in your possession, such as a laptop computer, cell phone, or digital camera. Make sure that the return of the equipment is recorded so that you do not get charged for them after you leave.
  • Consider your healthcare needs, including medical and dental insurance. Make sure you have the coverage that you need for you and your family.
  • Review your life insurance, short-term and long-term disability needs.
  • Think about your retirement plan. Are you on track with meeting your retirement goals? Some experts suggest that you will need 70% to 80% of your pre-retirement income during retirement. Work with a legal professional or a financial planner to make the appropriate plans for your needs. 

Action steps for moving forward:

  • Take a look at your internal and external barriers and think about how you will deal with them
  • Identify your support systems
  • Establish goals, action plans, and a timeline to accomplish your career change.
  • Determine what you need and are looking for in an employer, a company and a work environment
  • Talk with professionals who currently work in the field that you are interested in. These informational interviews will help you assess this career field for the local region and give you a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of the job.
  • Join professional organizations. Stay on top of your field and current with information through trade journals, professional publications, and websites. Network and make contacts in your field.
  • Make the change happen! Start out with part-time work, volunteer work, job shadowing, work on special projects, contract work, etc. Or if you did enough research and are ready to take the plunge, go for it!
  • Prepare yourself for a time of transition, even after you have made the change. It will be challenging both emotionally and mentally. Give it time and be patient!