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Environment week 2015 round up

By Manpreet Dhesi, on 20 February 2015

This post looks at the events organised by UCL Careers during our Environment Careers Themed Week. If you didn’t manage to attend these sessions, we’ve captured some of the key points we took away to report to you. Our previous blog post also features some tips for getting into the environment and sustainability sector from the UCL Institute of Sustainability.

The Effective Networking workshop – or ‘Connecting with people who want to talk to you’.

Right from the first icebreaker, the UCL Careers seminar room was humming with energy and chatter as students threw themselves into task of mandatory mingling. Asked to discuss the benefits and potential barriers to networking, it was clear that while everyone agreed that it was a good way to make inroads into a sector such as the Environment, the idea makes most people weak at the knees.

Imagining rocking up to a formal networking event, clasping a handful of business cards in sweaty hands, and having to deliver a perfect elevator pitch to a room full of disinterested senior people who have far more important things to do than talk to you, it’s not surprising most people shy away from networking.

Despite these fears there are many reasons someone at a networking event might want to meet you (finding talent or just getting a chance to talk about themselves for example) – it’s all about asking simple, open questions about their work lives that get them talking.

The message from this workshop, delivered by Dave Carter of UCL Careers, was that networking doesn’t have to be daunting. Given the number of people who hung around after this workshop chatting, it seems networking can even be fun!

The Writing a CV for the environment sector workshop

“If you want to catch a fish, you have to think like a fish”.

This was the ethos behind the workshop, which gave students an opportunity to see through the eyes of a recruiter when scanning and scoring CVs for a researcher role in the environment sector.

Under tight time-restraints and with a pile of CVs to sift through, it was very quickly clear what makes a CV stand out, or fall out for a recruiter’s pile:

Tricks such as using plenty of bullet points, highlighting key skills from the person specification and putting the important information at the top were a winner; while long, wordy paragraphs and irregular formatting were very much considered turn-offs when you had a lot to sift through.

Finally, it is important to tailor your CV to every job application. Unfortunately, no CV is one-size-fits all!

The Sustainability Leadership workshop

Participants at this revolutionary session were thrown straight into the deep end when their first task in groups was to share their burdens and take them out of their metaphorical rucksacks. This involved each participant listening to their peers in turn with respect and patience. Greta Rossi, co-founder of Ākāśa Innovation took our potential future leaders in sustainability on a journey, introducing tools to help them harness their leadership ability. By the end of the session, each group of students had connected with each other in a meaningful way.

The Case Study: The London Olympics – The Green Games

Richard Jackson, Head of Sustainability at UCL shared his tips for ensuring that sustainable initiatives run throughout an enormous event such as the London 2012 Olympic Games.

  1. Have clear strategic objectives: these must be in place right at the beginning and you must stick to them – even if plan A does not work – you must ignite plan B in order to meet those green objectives. If a material does not function as planned – can you produce one that does? When your site is audited – you will need to be able to say that you have delivered your objectives.
  2. Get your people energised and inspired about the initiative. A prize as simple to produce as a pin badge for excellent engagement really encourages participation – especially if you have only produced a limited number!
  3. Know your supply chain – every step of the way – be credible
  4. An international event such as the Olympic Games is not the place to TEST innovative energy-saving ideas. Can you factor these tests into a trial part of the site beforehand?

To find our more information about Sustainability Careers, head on over to Careers Tagged.

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