The position that I hold currently is an environmental analyst of water resource protection for the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. This fits squarely into the environmental industry. What my job entails is to provide technical support and the implementation of regulations as well as regional guidance on program activity. It is my job to keep up with all regulatory matters concerning drinking water, water supply, groundwater, water protection and climate change issues. I often assist the states of New York as well as other New England states with official trainings in such matters.
Seeing as my industry is incredibly hard to get into, I had to use technology to track down a very select few people in order to gain the position that I currently hold. I also had to use different forms of technology to keep abreast of all of the regulations that I would be expected to know on day 1 of taking over. I used a smattering of internal government networks, cross referencing them with employment boards and public company information to find out what positions were open and where my skill set could be of most use. Many of the jobs that I was going for were listed on public job boards, but interviewers pay just as much attention to where I came from as to my resume, I have found.
If I were campaigning for the same job that I have now for a different entity, I would make myself stand out by implementing many more new technologies than I did. I found that once I obtained the job that many of my assumptions about the people doing the hiring were wrong. They were up to date on the very latest in communications technology and multimedia presentation. There was one interview that I could have done over video chat. I would have presented my case by Flash using animations instead of the more static PowerPoint, had I another chance to make a first impression. I would also make an online resume. No one else did this, surprisingly.
I use messageboards and online bulletin boards as the main connection source to professionals in my industry. This is where they go to informally discuss strategy, and this is when they are most open to discussion. I found out a lot of information off the record here from friends that I made.
I do not think that I had a bad interview; of course, that may just be my vanity talking. My best interview was definitely the one that got me the job. I came in with a short term and a long term strategy already in place and I presented it to the interview team using PowerPoint. I also brought in two copies of my full portfolio instead of just a few pieces and allowed them to keep a copy. Seeing as this was the job that I got, I figure that that extra little bit of preparation is what turned the tables for me. I worked just a little bit harder for the job, so I got it.
The single most important thing that I was able to learn about the job interview and search process on my own was that passion is always number one. Most people that I was up against had many of the same credentials that I did. When I went into places and I knew that I lost the interview, I could immediately tell who would win it. It was the person in the waiting room who was nervously shuffling through a too-large stack of papers, somehow showing that he had prepared, but also somehow showing that he cared enough that he was still thinking of certain ideas right up until the last second. What led up to me learning this lesson was testing this theory and seeing that I was right most of the time. So I decided to implement it. The next job that I really wanted, I was going to go that little extra mile. And sure enough, the next job that I was up for was the job that I had currently. They did not even have to see anyone else after me, I was told on my first day of work.
I did use some of the services of my old University and Career Center programs online. It was actually interesting to see how much they have improved over the years. However, I definitely used them to track down a few alumni that were in the industry. None of them were in a position to hire, but they definitely pointed me in the right direction. I definitely was privy to some inside information that led to my current employment because of the people that I found on the University Career Center web site.
If I could take back one thing from my professional career it would be the complacency that I had while I was in a certain job that I really did not like, but was not going to quit. I was also not looking around for other jobs to satisfy my greater need for responsibility, and as a result, I ended up getting downsized with a round of state budget cuts. That was a wake-up call to stay on the cutting edge of the industry, especially because this was all in the middle of the economic crisis.
This is a true career story as told to JustJobs and is one of many interviews with environmental professionals, which among others include an environmental scientist and an environmental operations manager.
By: Patricia C.