Tips for Writing an Environmental Career Résumé
If you're interested in a career with impact, consider a job in environmental sustainability. For members of the SEAS community, SEAS offers a full slate of career services to help you gain a competitive advantage in the field. Whether you're a practicing environmental sustainability professional or someone considering a career change, the tips and tricks in the résumé sections below can help you craft a résumé that stands out.
- Many environmental careers require a technical skillset - list your skills as they pertain to the job description; if it’s asking for someone with experience using GIS, R, and Adobe Photoshop, these would be examples of what you could list in this section; additionally, you can include things like language proficiencies or additional training other than your formal education, like CPR or Pesticide Applicators License, HAZWOPER, etc.
- List any professional accreditations or certifications relevant to your field of study (e.g., landscape architecture, environmental education)
- If you are less than five years from your most recent degree, do not underestimate the importance of listing a few courses that represent your skills gap; while you may not have actual work or internship experience in the field, you likely took classes and gained knowledge and skills from them, adding to your qualifications for your position of interest
- List fellowships or awards if they pertain to the job description
- List leadership experience from student government or other school organizations
- Did you participate in study abroad programs or similar travel-based learning during your studies? If you have space consider listing this as it demonstrates that you have broadened your perspective and worldview perhaps more than others you may be competing with who kept to a traditional learning track.
- In reverse chronological order, list your experience with the organization, your job title, location, and dates of service; if you are a recent grad without a ton of work experience, list any relevant coursework or capstone projects that can represent your skills and abilities
- Quantify data/results/people in your bulleted statements; this represents the magnitude of your duties and the impact of your work. For instance, if possible, list metrics like the level of funding for a project or program you were involved with even if you did not yourself raise or generate the funds (e.g., managed $250,000 program to...). Another metric might be improvement milestones (e.g., coordinated a new volunteer program that saw a 150% increase in participation year-over-year)
- Instructional experience (GSI, teaching, etc)
- Volunteer experience can be important and provides practical experience and skills outside of internships or jobs; list volunteer experience within the “Experience” section if it pertains to the job to which you are applying. If you are a member of a committee or other body, even if not directly in the environmental field, consider listing this to demonstrate additional leadership and responsibility.
PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
- Do you have any publications, research-based or otherwise? List these if there is room on your resume to demonstrate writing as a proven competency. Effective writing skills are always in demand.
- If you presented work at a conference, you can add that here, too.
- Use a professional email address (not your school email).
- Make sure your contact information is up to date, including your LinkedIn URL. You do not need to clarify that your phone number is your cell or home nor do you need to provide more than your city and state for your address.
- Use a font size between 10-12 points and highlight (bold) your section headers.
- Use clean basic fonts (e.g. Verdana, Arial, Helvetica).
- Mirror the job posting and leave out unrelated experiences.
- To ensure your résumé meets the applicant tracking system (ATS), avoid graphics and tables.
- Include a cover letter.