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Assessing your strengths, weaknesses, interests, skills, values, personality, and workstyle is one of the most important steps for developing a life-long career development foundation. Re-assessing these areas periodically helps maintain a strong foundation.
If you have entered the Bren School unsure of what career path to take within the environmental field, or you have recently become passionate about a different career path, you should make an appointment with David Parker. David will conduct a brief assessment of your situation and recommend a course of action which might include a more thorough career counseling session, self assessment exercises, formal assessments, and/or occupational exploration assignments.
Until you know what is important to you and what you want to do, it is difficult to develop a clear job search strategy. Being focused allows you to develop quality contacts, acquire related experience, obtain specialized training, and become involved in professional organizations and events. The sooner you become clear on what you want to do and focus your energy in that direction, the greater your chances of landing rewarding job offers prior to graduation.
To help you become more focused, you should complete some of the following self assessment exercises:
- Read through environmental magazines, journals, and internet articles and see what really interests you. Is it a particular field, a product, a technique, a task, a goal?
- Think about why you decided to come to the Bren School. What is it about the program that interested you? Why was it necessary to go to a graduate school in environmental science and management? What career did you have in mind?
- Write down activities that interest you that fall outside the environmental arena. How can you apply these to the environmental field? If you have an interest in clothing, you might want to consider working as an environmental manager for a clothing company or working for a company that manufactures environmentally friendly apparel.
- Talk to people in the environmental field, visit companies you might be interested in working for, talk with alumni about their careers, join professional associations, and attend conferences. The key thing is to get out of the career library and into the field where you can meet people and see what really happens in the workplace.
- Start looking for internships and make sure you complete an internship during the summer after your first year. Not only do internships provide you with excellent experience, but they also help you determine what you like and don't like in a job.
- Visualize your ideal work day. Start visualizing what your work day will be like. Begin with the night before your work day starts. What time do you go to bed? What time do you get up in the morning? What do you wear to work? How do you get to work? How far away is work? What does your workplace look like? Is it outdoors? Is it in a large building? What does the office space look like? What type of people do you work with? How do you interact with these people? What type of equipment do you use on the job? What time do you leave the office each day? Now, write down those things that are most important to you in a job and think about how this might help you narrow your career choice.
- Explore environmental job announcements to see what attracts you. Also look at the qualification section to determine what requirements are needed for entering the particular type of occupation.
There are many other exercises and resources available through the Career Development Program and through UCSB's Counseling and Career Services.
In order to receive appropriate guidance for your situation, please make an appointment with David Parker, Director of Career Development, as soon as possible.