Are you a college student or a recent graduate? Have you followed the educational path to a shiny new sustainability or environmental degree? (If so, bless you and your commitment!) But are you ready to look for work in this field?? Are you looking to network? As a part of your search, I bet you’re planning to hit up some career fairs. Should be helpful, right? Unfortunately, for aspiring sustainability and environmental professionals, this may not be so easy.
Career fairs exist to give potential employees face time with employers. They give us a opportunity to socialize, make important contacts, and perhaps even make acquaintances in similar fields.
Career fairs are hosted all the time. Unfortunately, many career fairs that I have attended (or planned to attend before viewing the exhibitor list) were filled with exhibitors that may not have been there to recruit sustainability and environmental professionals: financial institutions, insurance companies, major corporations, retailers, grocers, etc. (It’s certainly true that these companies NEED Environmental Specialists and Sustainability Coordinators, whether they know it yet or not.)
But for us ‘green’ folks out there, opportunities to connect in-person are few and far between: monthly meetings (Sierra Club, Green Drinks, USGBC, etc.), occasional seminars/conferences/fairs, and, of course, annual Earth Day events. (See ‘Getting Sustainably Involved in St. Louis.’) Now I’m no social butterfly, but I could certainly use more frequent opportunities to mingle with my local tree-huggers.
Currently, however, it seems like many Earth Day and green events are geared toward education and outreach (excellent goals!), not recruiting and hiring. They may not be expecting you to ask about a job.
But maybe they should. I believe there is a need for Green Career Fairs in this part of the country (especially in St. Louis and Kansas City metros). Until that torch is taken up, Green Career Fairs could easily be integrated into Earth Day celebrations! Many relevant organizations are already in attendance. Exhibitors could expect job-seekers as well as the general public, with just a little notice. Event planners could attract job-seekers and job-providers to network table-by-table throughout the event. Or perhaps a separate mini-networking social could be arranged, eh? Green Events could give relevant organizations face time with the general public AND with potential employees.
We green folks need the face time to educate one another, lift each other up, connect with each other, and bring about that change we wish to see in the world.