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Career Tips

Tip 1: Preparing a Resume

Experts agree: Poor resumes + Lack of interviewing skills + Failure to network = Ineffective job search.

  • You will need 2 resumes:
    1. Electronic Resume for the "robotic recruiter" (resume scanning software systems)
    2. Traditional Resume for use in face-to-face real people situations (or companies/agencies that do not scan resumes into computers).
  • Computers read resumes differently than humans do, so you have to write your resume with the computer in mind. And the new style of resume is here to stay!
  • Certain formatting rules must be followed to send resumes via e-mail so that software and computers can read them on the other end.
  • Old rules can hurt you, here are the new rules:
    1. Don't use action words anymore, instead use nouns.
    2. Do use industry standard jargon and buzzwords -- this are referred to as keywords and recruiters rely heavily on them for performing database queries in their "applicant tracking systems."
  • Consider adding a "keyword summary" at the top of your resume, in addition to using keywords to describe your experience for each job. This is somewhat like an accomplishment or qualifications summary section, but it is tailored to work with employers' database tracking systems.
  • If possible, do not just repeat keywords throughout the resume. Instead, use additional keywords that are synonyms to increase your chances of getting a "hit." For example, in your keyword summary you state "hydrogeology" so in the body of the resume use "ground water."
  • Examples of keywords:















Air Pollution Control



Riparian Habitat

Hazardous Materials

Endangered Species

Environmental Engineer


Waste Minimization

Environmental Justice

Occupational Safety

Environmental Compliance


Environmental Impact




Aerial Mapping



Wetland Delineation



Site Assessment


Urban Planning






  • In other words, any name for a process, piece of equipment, software program, specialty, issue, legislation, etc. is considered to be a keyword. When in doubt, spell it out -- don't assume that your acronym is the industry standard.

Tip 2: Sending Electronic Resumes

Still depending on paper resumes, sent through the mail? That's totally 20th Century! Today's best environmental employers expect you to send quality electronic resumes. Job hunting works at Internet speed, and you should, too.

Just having an electronic resume isn't enough, however. To really impress employers and increase your chances of rising above the crowd, follow these ten rules that come directly from today's hiring authorities.

Rule 1:  Read my website content *before* you apply.
Rule 2:  Don't send me attachments! I won't read them.
Rule 3:  Spell correctly and organize cleanly.
Rule 4:  Keep electronic cover letters to one paragraph or less.
Rule 5:  Mail me a formatted paper resume as a follow-up with a short note.
Rule 6:  Don't call.
Rule 7:  Keep in touch via email, even if I don't hire you.
Rule 8:  Don't fax me a resume unless I specifically ask for a fax.
Rule 9:  Be genuinely committed to, and interested in, my organization.
Rule 10:  Send me your resume even if you don't see a job opening.

Want to know more about electronic resumes, and other strategies and tactics for the online job search? ECO highly recommends the book "Job Searching Online for Dummies" by Pam Dixon (IDG Books, 2000). It's highly practical, full of great details, and very comprehensive. It also includes a CD-Rom that connects automatically with many of the best career and job related websites.


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