Search early and search often
As many of you known the economy is not yet recovered and job opportunities in many fields are few and far between. This seems to have filtered into the academic world as well in terms of fewer teaching assistantships, research positions, and fellowships for graduate students because of government cut backs and losses to endowments. Fortunately geologists are in high demand because of the recent increases in the cost of most commodities, the boom in nonconventional natural gas exploration, and other factors, such as demographics (there is a nation-wide shortage of experienced geologists). Nonetheless the best advantage many of you have readily at your disposal is preparing, and applying, early. And it is not too early to begin planning for a summer internship or permanent position.
One of the best ways to start your job search is to visit employment web-sites that utilize “spiders” that do most of the searching for you. These include sites such as indeed.com, careerbuilder.com, simplyhired.com, and, the more publicized, monster.com. These sites collect job postings from many companies and organizations and post them in a centralized and searchable location. Many allow you to input your own information and will send you updates when job postings that match your criteria are identified. Another strategy is to identify the companies that you might be interested in and visit their web-sites and those of their competitors.
You must develop flawless and concise materials to warrant a potential employers’ attention. For geology majors these include a resume or curriculum vitae, cover letters, references, and any supporting materials that may be relevant. While there are many opinions on how a resume should be formatted and what it should contain, it must be without error and visually appealing to get beyond the in basket. One excellent book, available for just a few dollars, is Martin Yate’s Knock 'em Dead Resumes (ISBN 13 978-1-4405-0587-4). The back of the book contains supplemental information including internet resources. The career service center at the University may have other additional resources.
Summer internships and jobs can also been obtained by using web resources. In the past our students have done everything from participating in Keck Geology Consortium research projects to working for governmental organizations such as NASA. Again it pays to do your homework and start your search early (pay attention to deadlines). There are several mega-websites that list numerous opportunities at one location including:
to name a few. There are also many additional opportunities that target underrepresented groups in the geosciences.
Also never discount the possibilities from networking with friends, relatives, and alumni. The St. Lawrence University Geology Alumni Conference, hosted on campus every third year, http://it.stlawu.edu/~geoclub/alumni/slugac7.html is another excellent way to make contacts and prepare for a professional career in geology and environmental science. For those planning on graduate school please consult with your academic advisor and consider travel to professional meetings to meet and speak with representatives from various universities.
I thank Mrs. Laurie Sturzenbecker for bringing many of the web resources and Martin Yate’s book to my attention.