GEL140 students in the field

Tips for finding a job

It’s a cliché, but networking is fundamental to finding a job, especially that first entry-level position. It may be someone you meet at a monthly meeting of the Sacramento Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, or maybe an alumnus who contacts the department about an employment opportunity, or a faculty member, or your Uncle Jim who “knows someone.” Then there’s social media, ripe with information on jobs and opportunities. Join the Earth and Planetary Sciences student chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) – their monthly meetings feature a guest speaker from industry or government, resume-building workshops, and mock interviews.

Students hiking in the Grand Canyon. Joe Proudman, UC Davis

Again, it pays to be proactive. A job won’t just fall into your lap – you have to be persistent about your search. Entry-level jobs where you get your feet wet are not easy to find, but if you keep networking, strategically browsing the web, and actively searching, it’s highly likely that a job will open up for you.

Here’s some verbatim advise from a former student (BS, 2013) who started with a job in the environmental consulting business before finding a position with the California Division of Water Resources. This alumnus is the epitome of a proactive person in search of that elusive first job.

“I started out just doing searches on aggie job link, indeed.com, and linkedin.com. There are often Student Assistant positions with the state on jobs.ca.gov, and federal positions on usajobs.gov. But what I have found to be the most effective way to find positions is to just look up companies and see if they have any jobs posted on their website. I just search for geological consulting, geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, or any other similar companies and see what I can find. It's also easy to find companies on linkedin. I'm getting to the point now where I am going to start contacting companies that don't have any jobs posted on their website just to make a contact in case they are looking for someone in the future. There are a lot of consulting and engineering companies in Sacramento that hire geologists and many of them offer internships as well.”

Many of our alums have achieved licensure as a Professional Geologist, a huge leap in authority and a sure-fire way to make a higher salary. Certification as a Geologist-In-Training (GIT) is the first step toward licensure as a Professional Geologist. GIT certification gives you credibility when applying for jobs in both private industry as well as with the State of California. To view a very informative presentation on the GIT program by Laurie Racca (a licensed Professional Geologist with over 25 years of experience in environmental and geotechnical consulting), visit this pdf of her talk to the Earth and Planetary Sciences department in January 2016.

For more information on careers and internships in the geosciences, visit: