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Sustainability Internships: 8 Things To Know

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As a college student or recent graduate, you’re probably looking for ways to gain experience that’ll help you build a career in sustainability. One of the best ways to do this is through an internship. Not only do internships provide valuable work experience, but they also include education and training along the way.

Without a doubt, a sustainability internship allows you to travel worldwide. You can move from Australia to East Africa Safari tours, studying sustainable living and the environment. To help you figure out your next steps, this article discusses the eight things to know about how to land a sustainability internship that suits your experience level and interests.

Sustainability Internship And Industries

You’ll find sustainability internships in various industries, including architecture and construction, food and beverage, tourism, technology, and more. The number of sustainability internships available is growing. These internships are also becoming increasingly popular worldwide, making them competitive. So, most intern managers will test your passion and sustainability interests before offering you a role.

The Common Positions

The most common positions are dedicated marketing or communications rather than general sustainability. Sustainability is a broad term and can be applied to many different industries. However, the most common sustainability positions tend to be within marketing and communications departments as opposed to dedicated ‘sustainability’ teams.

This makes sense because sustainability means different things in different industries. For example, an energy company will likely have a different definition of sustainability than an apparel retailer would. This should influence how the role is defined within each company.

On-Farm Experience

If you’re interested in agriculture and food industries, the best option is typically to gain on-farm experience—a good starting point for your sustainability internship. If you want to get your hands dirty with sustainability efforts, look for internships that offer hands-on learning and exposure within an organization that does meaningful work. For instance, you could explore the possibilities of sustainable farming, which could define your career as a sustainability professional.

Contact Alumni

If you’re searching for an internship in a different field, start by contacting alumni from the school who work where you’d like to intern. These folks usually advise on how to succeed with your application to their company or other similar ones. You can also reach out to alumni from your school who work in the field of sustainability and ask them for advice on how to succeed with your application.

Essentially, be prepared to do some research. You need to read annual reports and learn about current projects so that when you talk with these people, they’ll see how passionate and knowledgeable about sustainability you are. It’s always good to send a thank-you note after interviews too.

Certification

At this point, pursuing certification as a Certified Sustainability Professional may prove beneficial down the road. This is because the program offers level-appropriate workshops for early career professionals and those with more experience. This certificate is an important stepping stone if you want to pursue leadership roles in sustainability beyond internships. Furthermore, it distinguishes you from other candidates vying for the same internship position as you.

Variety Of Fields

There are a variety of internships available in the sustainability field. Look for positions that match your interests and skills, whether you’re interested in the nonprofit world or a career with a corporation or business establishment.

When researching potential internships, note what the company expects from its interns. While some are merely entry-level positions to get your foot in the door, others offer more responsibility and opportunity to make an impact on the organization’s sustainability strategy. This can be especially valuable if you want to pursue a career as an environmental scientist or engineer.

Volunteering

Since sustainable internships are focused on doing good for the world, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for volunteer work outside of your internship. As a sustainability intern, your knowledge of sustainability and environmental health will be highly demanded across industries. This opens doors to volunteer opportunities for you to hone your skills.

Access To Training

As a sustainability intern, you have direct access to training on sustainability management and corporate social responsibility. Additionally, you’ll get hands-on experience working with several departments within the company and have opportunities to take on projects that meet your interests and goals.

Conclusion

Finding sustainability internships can be challenging, but it’s worth your time. With so many exciting opportunities in the field, today is the perfect time to get involved. It’s easy to launch your sustainability career by getting a sustainability internship. This will be a strategic step towards achieving your sustainability career dreams.

Claire is a writer and editor in New York City whose work has appeared in SELF, CNN, Prevention, Health, Racked, Mic, and many other corners of the internet. Currently, editor-in-chief for BlueandGreenTomorrow.com.

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