Did you know? 3 out of 10 environmental workers will reach retirement age in the next 10 years.
getting experience

Many young people find the hardest part about starting your career (after figuring out what you want to do for your career!) is getting your foot in the door. We’ve got some tips here about networking, volunteering, interning and apprenticing that will help you get into the job force. Are you ready to jump into the green collar work world? Check out the resources below and get started!

 
Networking Skills


“Its not what you know, but who you know.”

The key to joining the workforce is discovering the hidden job market. The hidden job market gets filled not from posting job openings, but through connections. There are many untapped resources at your disposal. The key is forming a network – a group of individuals you can talk to about possible job openings and new learning opportunities. 

The purpose of networking is the giving and receiving of information. Some potential network members can be found through family members, neighbours, teammates/coaches, teachers, community leaders, or acquaintances, to name a few. There are a few key elements of a successful network: talk to your network often to maintain a good relationship, help them out when you can, be an active participant in conversations, and be responsive - be on the lookout for information that may be of use to your contacts and share with them, and meet new people. 

A lot of networking takes place at events, conferences and workshops, which are not only valuable learning opportunities but also great opportunities to meet people in the field that you wish to work in. Many of these events will have student/youth rates or volunteering opportunities to allow you to attend for a reduced rate. 

You’ll be surprised how open some representatives from companies and organizations can be about their experience, and advising you on your plans and relevant opportunities- especially if you’re willing to volunteer some of your time!


Volunteering/Internships
Becoming a volunteer is a great way to get work experience and make new connections. You get a chance to learn new skills that can be useful later on in your job search and make a difference in your community. Volunteering gives you a "sneak peak" into different career fields, and allows you to make better decisions about what you may or may not want to do for a living. Plus, it looks great on a resume!

Where to go?
Volunteers are often needed at charities, not-for-profit organizations, clubs, events, and political campaigns. This list is not exhaustive and your network can help you find opportunities. Visit websites for environmental organizations to see if volunteers are needed, or consider joining a club in your school or community. Talking to your guidance counselor is also very useful.

Internships are another opportunity to gain on-the-job experience. The purpose of an internship is professional development – internships are usually a long-term, ongoing position, and can be paid or unpaid. Although similar to volunteering, these opportunities give you an added benefit of working in the industry you may be interested in. You gain on-the-job training that will help you gain meaningful, long-term employment.
 
Some useful resources for finding volunteer and internship positions include: