One of the best predictors of students' ability to find a job is the amount of effort put in to gaining hands-on experience through volunteer opportunities, internships, and jobs. It is never too early to start taking advantage of the opportunities available to you. At a minimum, we require students to complete one internship prior to graduation. Interns receive 3 credits from Biology 4800. Details on the formal internship and Biology 4800 can be found here. In addition, internships and jobs give students exposure to the types of careers available in the field of environmental science. Jobs and internships can be found at Universities, in the private for-profit and not-for-profit sector, and with local, state, and federal government agencies.
The first step in find jobs and internships is to prepare a resume and to write out a short (one paragraph) description of the type of position you are hoping to find. Help with resumes is available from the UNO Student Career Center in EAB211. If you are early in your career a general resume outlining your education, paid and volunteer experiences, and extracurricular activities is sufficient. As you progress in the field your career your resume will become more detailed and specific to the field of environmental science. We also suggest asking your professors and advisors to read your resume and make comments. The description of the position you are looking for may be fairly general and can be made more specific as you get a better idea of the type of jobs you are going to apply for. Decisions you need to make at this point include the type and timing of employment you hope to find. Are you looking for a position you can work at while also attending classes or are you able to devote full time (such as over summer) to work? Do you need to stay in the Omaha area or are you able to expand your horizons and accept a temporary position in another state (or country!)? Finally, what are your financial requirements? For many students with limited experience, volunteer work is an effective way to get your foot in the door and work towards a paid position. The more flexible your demands are, the easier it will be to find that all important first job.
Next, you need to find open positions. The obvious starting point is with your professors. Faculty are often aware of groups searching for new employees and may have positions available as research assistants. You can also talk to the Environmental Studies Life Sciences advisor, Dr. John McCarty (554-2849), Biology Department, (402) 554-2641. Dr. McCarty maintains an email list [UNO Environment List] that includes job and internship announcements - contact him if you would like to be added to the list.
There are huge numbers of temporary positions available for students and recent graduates. Many of the most desirable positions will receive dozens of applicants from all over the world. You should plan on applying for as many jobs as possible in order to ensure that you get an offer.
Volunteer Opportunities Around Omaha
Fontenelle Nature Association: Volunteers have worked in resource management and in environmental education.
National Wildlife Refuge System - if you are interested in volunteering at the Federal Wildlife Refuges, contact your advisor.
Allwine Prairie and Davis Prairie nature preserves are maintained by UNO with the help of an active group of volunteers.
Internship Opportunities Around Omaha
UNO students have found volunteer and paid positions with:
UNO Faculty Research Projects
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Pottawattamie County Conservation Board
U.S. National Park Service Regional Office
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
There are a number of special programs to attract talented students to careers with the federal government. Programs such as Student Temporary Education Program (STEP), Cooperative Education - Student Career Experience, and the Federal Internship Program are designed specifically for students. These programs can both help you work your way through school and can be a great entry point in to full time employment with federal agencies. Details and many current openings are at the USAJOBS website. Talk to your advisor for more information.
All jobs with Federal Agencies (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, etc) are processed through a central office - the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Each job is advertised on the OPM website. You may apply for jobs during a limited "open" period only - this period may be as short as one week so it pays to visit the OPM site early and often! To find a federal job go to the OPM website - www.opm.gov - and follow the link to USAJOBS. The USAJOBS site lets you search for jobs based on the amount of experience you have, location, agency, and type of job opening. Most federal jobs are classified based on a "GS"level. GS-2 and GS-4 jobs are relatively low paid and require little or no experience. As you gain experience and education you qualify for jobs at higher GS-levels. The USAJOBS site also includes a section for summer jobs and a section specifically for students.
A great feature of this site is the ability to enter a set of job criteria and have new job openings emailed to you on a daily basis. Even if you are not actively searching for a job I suggest setting up a search so you can get an idea of what types of jobs are opening in your field.
The federal government has job programs directed specifically towards students and recent graduates. Go to the StudentJobs.gov site for more information.
Finally, WhereTheJobsAre.org has information about governement employment and finding a job.
Jobs with state agencies (Game and Parks agencies, Natural Resource agencies, etc) also tend to be available online but the system is not as centralized as for federal jobs (these are different governments after all!). The sites below are not an exhaustive list but do give you a place to start. Links to some of the job pages change so if you have problems go to the main website listed and search from there. You can also try this website providing links to jobs in all states.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission job page.
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has a job page but no direct link to it http://www.deq.state.ne.us/
Iowa Department of Natural Resources job page.
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks has a job page http://www.state.sd.us/
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a job page http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/
North Dakota Game and Fish job page http://www.state.nd.us/
General Job Listings
The Conservation Job Board includes jobs in ecology, forestry, wildlife biology, fisheries, marine science, environmental education, and more and is updated every day.
A broad selection of jobs are advertised at Environmentalcareer.com
Texas A&M University maintains one of the best .
The Nature Conservancy Maintains its own list of job openings.
The Society for Conservation Biology has a job page.
The Ornithological Societies of North America maintain an extensive list of jobs related to birds. You can also sign up to have these emailed to you on a regular basis.
AN E-LIST SERVICE is available. Subscribers to this list will receive lists of new job announcements in their e-mail. These are the same announcements as will appear on-line.To join the Birdjobs-L e-list, send the following e-mail message to
I haven't checked these sites out but they may be useful"
Most sub-disciplines within Environmental Science have their own email discussion lists. Jobs are often advertised over this listservs. These may be extremely productive places to look for jobs since advertising on this lists is optional and is an indication that the employer is truly interested in conducting a broad job search (i.e. they don't have a specific person already in mind for the job). You are encouraged to "lurk" on these lists to scan for jobs - most lists will frown on job seekers bombarding the list with unsolicited resumes.
You can subscribe to the list serv via their website or via email:
send an email message to LISTSERV@UMDD.UMD.EDU with a message in the body of the email reading
subscribe Ecolog-L your_name
subscribe ORNITH-L firstname last name
send to Listserv@uafsysb.uark.edu
The Wildlife Society
Send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following message in the body:
subscribe tws-l firstname lastname
You will automatically receive guidelines on using the discussion list,
as well as instructions on how to post messages, customize your subscription,
Environmental Jobs (ENVJOBS-L)
subscribe ENVJOBS-l firstname lastname
Send to Listproc@environment.harvard.edu
Conservation Jobs (CONS-JOBS)
subscribe CONS-JOBS firstname lastname
send to Majordomo@unixg.ubc.ca
Hints on list-servs: Save the confirmation message you get after subscribing. This will tell you how to unsubscribe or change the settings on your account. Note the difference between the address to which you send messages for posting and that used to change your settings (another great way to annoy hundreds of potential employers is to send messages about your subscription to the entire mailing list rather than the moderator or host computer).
Some very active list servs will produce dozens of messages a day. If you don't want to have your mailbox overflowing with these messages you can set your list serv to deliver a single summary each day. This is usually called the "digest" option. The confirmation message you get after subscribing to the listserv should include instructions on how to do this. It is usually as simple as sending a message to the list host that reads "set Ecolog-L digest".