ESPM students discuss networking and career timelines


In last week’s small-group discussion sessions, Berkeley Connect students in Environmental Science, Policy and Management focused on their post-graduation goals and explored helpful tips for networking. Mentor Jenny Palomino and her students had much to talk about!

They began by brainstorming different paths to take. Among the ones mentioned were organizations such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and the lesser known Mercy Corps. Students also suggested graduate school or research, as well as working for private businesses.

Jenny offered the students useful job search websites. “The first real job after my master’s degree I found through Monster,” Jenny noted. But she also warned them not to rely solely on these websites. “Networking is important, too!”

To help students visualize their career futures, she described the work experience of all the Berkeley Connect ESPM Mentors. The mentors have had a variety of jobs and experiences, ranging from just one year in the workforce to fifteen, in fields from public policy to consulting to advocacy. For one mentor, it was not so much the job that mattered but the place. After college, she chose to move to Ireland and found a temp job to support herself.

“Sometimes, career paths are not linear,” Jenny told the students. She showed the students a list the mentors created of the careers they would have had in an alternate universe if they stuck with their earliest career choices. Jenny? She would be a lawyer! She had considered going to law school before finding her way to ESPM. Jenny also shared that she found her first job by reaching out to a professor in a field that interested her – networking at its best!

Students then broke out into small groups to discuss what they wanted to do and what they would include in their own career timelines.

In a previous discussion, students drew a web of connections. At this discussion, Jenny asked students to re-visit their web, posing a simple question – “Who would you want to contact?” She encouraged them to reach out to their connections, as well as to people who are currently doing jobs in which the students are interested. She also provided students with helpful tips for their resumes.

Finally, she urged students to send her their resumes and come to her office hours.

One of the best things about Berkeley Connect? Having mentors to guide you as you prepare to find your first job. This discussion was definitely an hour well-spent!

posted by Katherine Wang
Berkeley Connect Communications Assistant