When should I begin my job search?
Your first year of school, or as soon as you begin to settle on a particular field of study.
You can seek out employment while you're in your studies through the Cooperative Education program, or by completing a work-study, internship, practicum, or a Co-Curricular Record-eligible position.
Start early in order to understand the trends and demands of different careers. And take advantage of networking opportunities as soon as you feel that you can confidently talk about your skills and attributes to potential employers.
Is there such a thing as an 'entry-level' position for university graduates?
Today, 'entry-level' jobs will require some relevant experience. Note, that you may gain experience through your studies or volunteer work, not only through paid employment.
A small minority of jobs will require "between 0-2 years experience", meaning that someone with no experience could be considered, but these jobs are more likely to receive many applications from graduates with at least some experience.
The best way to overcome the 'experience gap' is to network in the industry. Networking is essential to building relationships and demonstrating your passion and enthusiasm for potential careers.
People who have connected with you in person or online are more likely to remember you when they receive your application for an open position.
Do I need to get certification?
Yes and no.
An increasing number of specialized jobs, particularly in planning and natural resources, are asking that applicants have some type of certification. The most common ones asked for include Professional Agronomist (P.Ag), Registered Professional Biologist (R.P. Bio), or MCIP for urban planning.
However, many job postings will list certification as an asset, not as a requirement.
You can obtain some of these certifications after completing undergraduate studies and gaining some experience (either through Co-op Education or other paid employment). Others are more difficult to obtain without graduate level training.
Check out these resources:
Even when credentials require additional experience and/or training, student designations may be available.
Because applying for credentials does cost money, spend time reviewing and applying for jobs for a while first if you're not sure if you want to work in a field that requires the certification.
Will I need a graduate degree to get into the field?
Sometimes, yes. Even if you are able to enter into the career path with a your BA, BSc, or BGS, you may reach ceilings to career advancement without additional training.
This is increasingly true in some planning professions (e.g transportation, urban), as well as environmental consulting and natural resource management.
Be realistic. If many of the jobs require a master's degree, then build that into your career and educational plans. Talk with your instructors about what you need to do to prepare for graduate school.
The good news is that for jobs in many fields–e.g. sustainabilty planning, environmental education and outreach, GIS technician work, and field work–your undergraduate degree will be more than sufficient provided you have and continue to gain experience.
If graduate-level study is not something of interest to you, pay close attention to job postings in your area of interest to see if experience is more highly valued than graduate education.
Jobs situated in rural areas or in areas that have high growth and a shortage of workers are in general less likely to require graduate education.
Will I need additional training at UFV or other institutions?
Possibly, depending on the career path.
Combining your bachelor's degree with a second, technical credential or specialized skills training can be a powerful combination for the job market.
If you're interested in working in "green" construction or in municipal departments overseeing building codes and permits, for instance, some background or training in drafting, construction management, or another relevant field would complement your degree.
Likewise, many Geography students could benefit from training in design programs (AutoCAD, Adobe) and technologies. Some of these training pathways involve a course or two, while others are entire programs.
Non-profit and government organizations also offer training modules, usually online, in high demand skill areas, such as environmental law, project management, or logistics.
For instance, see the courses offered through ECO Canada.