How to get an Environmental Consulting job fast

scientists groundwater sampling

Sometimes you need to get an environmental job fast. Perhaps you are a new graduate with little to no work experience. Or perhaps you are an experienced professional who was let go. Long story short you need a job in the environmental consulting field, now. Its a difficult position to be put in, but there are strategies to follow in both cases that will help you go from unemployed to earning a paycheck again.

There is one important caveat I want to mention in this, this is not the strategy to get a “dream job”. You can worry about getting a better job once you have a job, because like it or not, employers are far less likely to give a job to an unemployed person than they are to an employed person. My best guess for the reason behind this is that the hiring manager has very little information to go on when hiring you no matter how much time they spend interviewing you or checking your references, and so in order to make their decision a little easier they rely on unspoken indicators to supplement their decision. And one of those indicators is that you are currently unemployed.

There isn’t much you can do to change how a person perceives you as unemployed. It is in the culture, and although its unfair, I think I would have the same gut reaction. Knowing this, I would also try my best to address that bias, but I would be looking for other indicators that are essentially just indicators which themselves may not be fair.

What are you supposed to do? The game is rigged!

The trick is you play the game by the rules, but not necessarily how everyone else plays the game.

Everyone else is applying for jobs on the job boards, but you have to do things differently, you are trying to get a job fast. So what you do is, you find out what environmental consulting companies are working in your area and getting their contact information, including phone numbers and addresses.  Do the same thing for environmental laboratories, environmental equipment rental firms,

For each of these firms you want to get the phone number for an important person in the company, For a small company that could be the owner/CEO, and for a bigger company that would be the business line manager or the senior project manager. If you can’t find anyone who fits those criteria, then use your judgement to figure out who is the decision maker there. And preferably one who is actually managing the work. You don’t want to contact the accountant, or the phone operator, they cant help you.

At this point you might want to look at yourself and determine what assets you have. Are you a geologist? and engineer? an environmental scientist? All of these disciplines have strong comradery amongst themselves in the environmental consulting industry. If you are a geologist, I would try to contact important geologists, engineer — engineers, enviro-scientist — enviro-scientists. If you are contacting someone important they will have experience and will know what opportunities there are for their type of people. Geologists will know the best geo opportunities and so on.

Ok, you’ve collected your list if companies with addresses, phone numbers, emails (get that too). Here is what you do, in order.

  1. Call the important person at the company and introduce yourself. Tell them you are looking for a job and ask them if they know of any opportunities. You are available to start right away and are willing to work hard and get dirty (note: if you are just starting out, this should be what you are willing to do. If it is not what you are willing to do, then tell them what you ARE willing to do and that you will do it with enthusiasm). Before finishing the call, ask if you can reach back out in a few weeks to follow up.
  2. Get that persons email and follow up with an email thanking them for their time. And send them your resume. And then write down in a spreadsheet the day you called this person, who they work for, who they referred you to, what personal tidbits might be important to reference again (they have 2 kids, they do competitive mud racing, etc.) and anything else you might think is important.
  3. Follow up on the suggestions and leads they give you and keep track of the success of those leads.
  4. Get dressed in professional clothing and visit each environmental consulting office with a stack of 5 resumes and 1 dozen Krispy cream donuts. When you get to the front door, ask for the person, or some other important person there by name. When asked what your business is by the front desk person, say that your are an environmental consultant who was in the neighborhood and wanted to drop off some resumes and meet so and so. Attach a nice note to the donut box.

I realize that the above may be a very difficult idea to swallow. “Just show up?!?! Won’t they think I am a stalker?!?!” The answer is no, and this is the differentiator that will make you stand out in a good way and get you that job quickly.

I realize if you are new to this industry you may need some more convincing, so here it is. People already do this all the time! It is a regular thing! Except the people stopping by are mostly sales people for companies that work with environmental consultants. For example, equipment rental company representatives will regularly stop by an environmental consulting office just to say hi to whoever is there and drop off their card and ask you if you have any work coming up.

And the consultants enjoy the break in the monotony, They get to chat with another industry professional for a bit about their shared professional interests. Then the person leaves, and they will probably be back in a few months. So if you come in, with donuts, and ask to speak to someone in the environmental team, you will be doing the same thing, and you will be looked upon as another industry professional looking for a job with them or leads to other jobs, rather than just another email or resume in the application list full of people who can’t manage to stand out from the crowd. And, they will like you… because you brought donuts 🙂

Why will this work? Because you are demonstrating a very desirable trait by doing this, you are demonstrating your ability to take definitive action to solve your problem. You aren’t waiting for your resume to be picked out of a stack, you are making an active effort that can be seen, and therefore it can be appreciated. Submitting resumes and doing the work to tailor a resume to a job is a lot of effort, but even if you do it well and put in the effort required, it will hardly be noticed.

The above way of doing things is hack that can get you from zero to hero in very little time. Certainly less time than it will take by just applying to jobs on job boards. But it isn’t as good and having a well developed network. If you have a well developed network already then for heaven’s sake use that! Call your friends that works at xyz companies and tell them you need a job. That is the quickest way. But if you don’t have that then what I have laid out above is the quickest way. And with any luck, you will have developed a network by the end of all this.

Nicholas Moran

Nicholas Moran

Nicholas Moran grew up in sunny south Florida and lives in Boca Raton. He studied geologist and is a licensed professional geologist. He helps environmental and engineering companies implement software solutions to improve their efficiency and effectiveness and is Senior Geologist at MORAN ROCKS LLC, a boutique environmental consulting firm that uses the latest technology and workflow solutions to deliver personalized service at competitive prices.