See our five key tips for starting your careers with geography – actions you can build into our next job application:
We reviewed our careers webinars, covering advice from over 40 professional geographers and 11 sectors, our careers resources, profiling over 100 geographers and their careers, and the advice and knowledge of our professional network.
See our five key tips for starting your careers with geography – actions you can build into our next job application.
Employers are keen to hire employees who are knowledgeable and interested in the work they’ll be doing. In your application, and especially at the interview, it can be important to demonstrate this.
Tina Thomson, Willis Towers Watson
Before you apply, make sure you understand what the company does and where your role would fit into that. In particular, use the company website to find out more about the area of work the role involves.
Natalie Stirrat, Arcadis
Finally, remember that volunteering, work experience and short shadowing placements can all help you get a sense of what a job involves.
How to research employers and jobs, University of Manchester
How to find a job, Prospects.ac.uk
Don’t just think of networking as formal, professional events – it means developing relationships with people who share your interests! To build your profile and make contacts, you can attend events, discuss areas of work on social media, and keep up to date with sector news.
Paul Naylor, Ordnance Survey
Professional bodies like the Society are a place where professionals with a particular interest in an issue or discipline can share their knowledge and network.
Professional bodies: what they offer students and graduates, TARGETjobs
Networking: How to Maximize Opportunities and Boost Your Career Connections, career-advice.jobs.ac.uk
Networking, University of Brighton
An employer shouldn’t expect you to be perfectly adapted and skilled for a particular role before starting – particularly when you’re a new graduate. However, developing some level of relevant skills and experience to a role suggests that you will be able to contribute more effectively, and that you will be able to understand and carry out your work.
Marie Gallagher, Hackney Council
You can use experience from your degree, from part-time work or volunteering, or from extra-curricular activities. Think about how you can relate anything you’ve done to what a role needs.
Remember: when applying, don’t just say that you did something. Be concise as possible, while explaining what you did, what the outcome was, and the skills you developed. Try the STAR method, for example.
Improving how you communicate your relevant experience could be more important than getting more experience!
Demonstrate You Fit the Job Criteria, Oxford University Careers Service
Developing your skills - Careers, University of Bradford
Key here is showing employers that you’re interested in an area of work you’d be doing. Most people will say they are passionate on a job application – but it’s more effective to demonstrate this with examples.
Draw from your dissertation in a related area, societies you’ve joined or events you’ve attended on a relevant issue, any blogs you’ve written, and of course work experience or volunteering that shows you’re genuinely interested in an area of work.
Joining professional organisations and following individuals, companies and trade publications on social media can help you keep on top of news and events from areas of work you’re interested in.
How to demonstrate your interest in an organisation in cover letters and application forms without sounding bland, pedantic, predictable and unconvincing, Careers, City, University of London
Using Your Volunteering Experience, University of Warwick
A Recruiter’s View – Do’s and Don’ts When Applying for a Job, career-advice.jobs.ac.uk
First, understand your own skills and those you develop studying geography. Explicitly writing down or mapping out what you can do is helpful for you to understand what an employer could see in you.
Cara Treasure, Pump Aid.
For inspiration, look at our career profiles and other geographers’ LinkedIn profiles to see what skills they claim and how they showcase experiences to demonstrate or prove those skills. For interviews, you could try finding practice interviews with a careers service, and focus on getting across what you can do, with examples.
Or go back to basics, thinking about what geography is and what geographers bring to a workplace – focusing on the value you add as a geographer.
Then, work out how you can explain and communicate these skills to employers. For each skill, try writing a short example breaking down something you did in a way that makes it really obvious how you used that skill. You can then understand how to clearly communicate your skills.
Presenting your skills when applying for jobs, Help Centre, The Open University
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) 2020 UseGeography - five key tips from our career webinars. Accessible via https://www.rgs.org/careerresources/keytips.
Read our resource on careers in mapping, GI and data science based on advice from geographers working in the sector.
Read our resource on starting your career in research with a PhD in geography.
Nina MacVinish was a panel member in the online discussion ‘Geospatial skills and continuing professional development’ at the AGI’s annual GeoCom event in November 2020
Read our resource on careers in transport, utilities and infrastructure based on advice from geographers working in the sectors.
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