Getting Employable Skills as a new Environmental Professional

Are you on track to complete environmental studies, or do you have an interest in this field? Perhaps you've already graduated and are looking for a job? If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, you need to be employable — you need the skills and knowledge to get your foot in the door. We're here to help.
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Are you on track to complete environmental studies, or do you have an interest in this field? Perhaps you’ve already graduated and are looking for a job? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to be employable — you need the skills and knowledge to get your foot in the door. We’re here to help.

Understand the Environmental Job Market

It’s projected that there will be 173,000 net environmental job openings by 2025. These come from both high levels of retirement and the growth of the environmental sector. These are expected across all industries within the environmental sector. Due to high levels of retirement, mid-senior level roles are expected to be in high demand.

The high number of vacancies presents an enormous opportunity for anyone looking to get into the environmental sector. Think about how you can use them to your advantage. Are there specific areas where you need more education? How does, or could, your current education align with these trends? You don’t need to figure out exactly what you want to do in your environmental career — it’s a journey, and there are many paths you can take! However, figuring out where you’d like to start is important. 

You can also answer these questions by reaching out to other environmental professionals. One way to do this is through our mentorship program as part of our EP certification.

Prepare for the Virtual Interview Process

According to a recent study, Over 80% of interviews in 2020 were completed remotely. This trend seems like it’s here to stay, so making sure you’re prepared for virtual interviews can make a difference when finding environmental employment.

You might already have employable skills, but making sure they’re noticed with a strong resume and interview performance are crucial. Check out our blog post on how to write a resume and prepare for a virtual job interview[1] . 

Get Employable Skills 

Apply for an ECO Canada wage funding program

It’s often difficult to land your first job. How do you get a job if you don’t have experience? Internships are the answer! In most cases, entry-level positions require at least 1-2 years of experience.

Our wage funding programs let you apply for an environmental internship as a student or recent graduate. Since it began, these programs have facilitated over 14,000 internships and provided over $144M in funding to support environmental employers with hiring interns. The program can also support your costs as an employee, including transportation, childcare or additional training. 

The application takes minutes and is quick to process afterward.

“ECO’s wage funding has really helped advance my environmental career just by opening up so many new doors and opportunities for me,” said Mitch Wincentaylor, First Nations Environmental Coordinator, Delta Remediation Services. “Apply and the sky will be the limit for you!”  

Learn more about Mitch’s story with the ECO Wage Funding Program.  

Understand Technical and Soft Skills

Soft skills are what you need to progress in your career. Technical skills are what you need to get a job.

Here are the top five soft skills and technical skills environmental employers expect from employees with three to seven years of experience: 

Technical skills Top 5 soft skills environmental employers expect
Policy and legislation: 50% Project management: 71%
Industry knowledge: 48% Leadership: 70%
Communication and public awareness: 41% Communication: 67%
Education and training: 38% Negotiation and conflict resolution: 67%
Research and development: 35% Problem solving: 61%

Source: ECO Canada Essential Skills report 

Practice Soft and Technical Skills

While you’re in your internship, take the time to acquire both — you can do that by asking for new training opportunities, taking on new tasks, and working with mentors. Above all, show your value, take the initiative, and be a leader. 

Continue Your Education

Employability skills come from on-the-job experience and taking the time to educate yourself. Lifelong learning is vital in an ever-changing sector such as the environmental sector. Choosing to continue your education shows initiative and expands your skill set, making you more employable. 

ECO Canada Online Courses

We offer online certificates to help you build technical skills, specifically in climate change and policy and legislation. These online certificates are geared towards senior-level professionals but are something to consider as you explore your environmental career.

●      Post-Graduate Certificate in Science and Policy of Climate Change

●      Project Management Bundle

Explore our Certification for new Professionals

Our Environmental Professional in-training (EPt) designation is designed for new environmental professionals! By becoming an EPt, you can network with other professionals, receive mentorship from environmental leaders, learn more about the environmental industry, and overall grow your career — which all serve to make you more employable.

Take the EPt eligibility quiz to see if the designation is right for you.

An EPt membership will also allow you to get a discount on online webinars and courses. In doing so, you’ll expand your employability and demonstrate initiative — make sure you list the courses you complete on your resume!

Take Time to Connect

Every industry requires specific employment skills. However different the skills might be, there’s always a common factor: people. 

Take the time to connect, understand your peers, and be open to growth and development. You’ve likely chosen the environmental industry because you want to make a difference — that also applies to your working relationships. You never know where the connections you make may lead or how you may help someone else on their journey. Link back to the resume article.

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