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Integrating Sustainable Practices and Career Exploration

By January 26, 2017February 5th, 2018No Comments

Post contributed by the Auburn University Career Center

The Auburn University Career Center actively supports sustainability through their comprehensive services which assist students with exploring careers, networking with employers and professionals, and successfully transitioning from college to career. The Career Center, located in Mary Martin Hall or found online at career.auburn.edu, aims to connect students to ecofriendly career resources all while exposing them to environmentally-conscious opportunities.

Essentially, the Career Center assists students navigating their professional development process through four steps, each of which are uniquely tied to a sustainable lifestyle.

  1. Exploring Majors and Careers

Narrowing down a major and ensuing career path is a significant, life changing decision. It is necessary that students take time to consider values, personality, skills, and interests. This enables students to more capably target probable career fields of interest and make sensible decisions as they progress with their career plan.

To assist with this initial step in the professional development process, the Career Center promotes the use of various online resources which are not only environmentally friendly, but also provide students with insight on sustainable, green career opportunities. For example, a primary resource utilized by the Career Center is O*NET Resource Center, an online, interactive database of occupational information. O*NET allows students and career counselors to navigate its system by searching for “the green economy” occupations. In an effort to keep up with the changing world, O*NET has identified green economic sectors, green occupations in demand, alongside new and emerging green jobs. For more information on O*NET’s green occupations, visit https://www.onetcenter.org/green.html.

  1. Photo of student using the Handshake job platform.

    An Auburn student logs onto Handshake to start her job search.

    Gaining Experience

Students desire to find meaningful careers, and companies no longer solely focus on a solid academic record as a sign of employability. Outside of the classroom experiences assist students in developing career readiness skills which ultimately help position them at the top of a candidate pool. Experience comes from a variety of activities. The Career Center places emphasis on students engaging in part-time employment and internships.

To centralize the student search for these opportunities, the Career Center utilizes a transformational collegiate recruiting platform known as Handshake. Handshake is accessible to all Auburn University students through AU Access. Upon logging into the site, students will gain access to more than 1,300 employers which have yielded over 3,000 job postings since its release in July of 2016. Students can narrow their job search based on major, industry, text entry, and a variety of other criteria. By simply typing in “sustainability” in the search bar, students can connect to opportunities such as a paid internship with Clean Water Action serving as a sustainability advocate or an environmental sustainability summer internship with Chick-fil-A, Inc.

  1. Marketing Yourself

The Career Center promotes the use of paperless, professional marketing. In year’s past, the printed out resume and cover letter was the primary form of sharing your experiences with a professional audience. However, with growing technology, new communication mediums such as ePortfolios and LinkedIn support professional networking in an environmentally conscious way. In today’s fast paced workforce, these forms of professional portfolios have the ability to effectively showcase skills and experiences all while quickly linking to hiring managers and other supportive audiences. The resume is not a thing of the past, however; they are still heavily utilized when applying for positions. Students can submit resumes electronically for review through the Career Center’s eResume Review program. This enables students to seek feedback while ditching the traditional paper print out.

  1. Landing a Job

Though it may seem like a colossal task, fortunately there are many ways to land a job. Students are encouraged to use their Handshake account to search for available positions, and most importantly, students should attend Career Center events to network with employers and secure employment opportunities. Each semester, the Career Center hosts upwards of 10 career fairs to provide students the opportunity to connect with potential employers. In recent years, the Career Center has also been able to support a more sustainable effort for facilitating these networking opportunities through virtual career fairs. For example, on April 4, 2017, 27 SEC and ACC universities are partnering to deliver a virtual career fair featuring 64 companies across all industries. This partnership not only instills communal, social relationships but also intentionally provides an outlet for students to connect with employers in an accessible location.

As we continue to see sustainability rise towards the top of our nation’s interests, our workforce and career services will continue to evolve with it. From exploring majors and career fields to landing a job following graduation, the Auburn University Career Center will continue to conserve resources all while establishing meaningful opportunities for students to develop professionally.  Check out the Career Center and its resources by visiting

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