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Professional Development
Sustainability Skill-Building

Professional Development

The Earth Institute Professional Development Program helps students and alumni to achieve their sustainability-related career goals. The program offers skill-building seminars, networking opportunities, and tools that, together, better prepare students to pursue job opportunities in sustainability and related fields. The program complements existing services such as resume and cover letter review that are provided by Columbia University's career service offices.


Explore The Program Offerings:



Sustainability Skill-Building

The Sustainability Skills Seminars offer students and alumni practical skills that are specific to sustainability and environmental careers. The half-day, non-credit seminars are free. Past seminar topics have included Life Cycle Analysis, Geographic Information Systems, and Green Building Design.


The Nuts and Bolts of a Sustainability Job Search
September 22, 2018, 10am-3pm
Instructor: Cathy Gibbons, Assistant Director, Alumni & Graduate Student Career Development, Columbia University
Location: TBD

First impressions will make or break your chances of being considered for positions. Your marketing materials (resume, LinkedIn profile, pitch and cover letters) are the first professional connections that you make with an employer or others in your chosen profession. You want to ensure that you create a professional image for yourself. This workshop will cover how to create marketing materials that meet professional standards and help you to develop a compelling professional story of yourself. It will also look at the components of a larger career planning strategy and the importance of a self-assessment as a foundation for formulating the criteria that you will use to select your next employer and job. You should bring a copy of your resume and if available, a paper copy of your LinkedIn profile and pitch.

Managing Sustainability in Supply Chains
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 10am-3:30pm
Instructor: Mia Overall, Founder, Overall Strategies
Location: TBD

Over 80 percent of social and environmental impacts caused by companies take place in their supply chains. In many ways, sustainability managers have limited influence and control, which can make it challenging to tackle these impacts. This seminar is intended to illustrate the kinds of social and environmental sustainability challenges commonly found at various steps in the supply chain, and highlight a few practical tools and strategies used to manage them. While examples from several sectors will be used to illustrate the social and environmental challenges, the spotlight will be placed on two sectors, food and fashion, as practical examples. Over the course of the day, students will get a glimpse into a day in the life of a sustainability manager in one of these two sectors. The workshop will focus on some of the tools and data collection mechanisms used by managers. A role-play exercise that puts students in the position of several roles, including a sustainability manager, supplier, and supply chain partner, will give students a real world taste of how negotiations – and partnerships – with colleagues and suppliers can unfold. The seminar will give participants high level exposure to challenges likely to be faced in these types of roles and strategies for success.

Successful Career Transition: The Essentials
November 10, 2018, 10am-2pm
Instructor: Ellis Chase, Career Management Consultant; Author: In Search of the Fun Forever Job and Career Strategies That Work
Location: TBD

This workshop will introduce you to the most important tools required to achieve an optimal career transition. Highlights will include:

    The Big Picture: A Comprehensive Proactive Career Transition Process
  • Strategic career management
  • Self-assessment/research
  • Marketing yourself – resume, LinkedIn, pitch
  • Relationship-building (networking)
  • Interviewing basics
  • Negotiations
  • Emotions, time management, discipline and consistency
    Social Intelligence: Communicating with Impact
  • Why so important? Key success characteristics.
  • First impressions
  • Social media
  • Phones
  • Email – the great differentiator
  • Negotiations
  • Legal issues

Myths and Legends of Career Transition – what’s true and what isn’t

LEED Green Associate Exam Training
December 7, 2018 4:00-8:00pm & December 8, 2018 10:00am-2:00pm (must attend both days)
Instructor: Erika Duran, Associate, WSP Global Inc
Location: TBD

This seminar will introduce students to green building design and help prepare them for the LEED Green Associate exam. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, a LEED Green Associate credential demonstrates a strong understanding of current green building principles and practices.


Students and alums may register for these events through the Earth Institute Job List. For more information please email us.

Past Earth Institute Sustainability Skill Building Seminars:

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Product Lifecycle Assessment and Carbon Footprinting
  • Green Building Design and LEED training
  • Consulting 101: How Consultants Win Work
  • Networking and Interviewing Skills Seminar
  • Sustainable Smart Technology and Controls Seminar
  • Climate Adaptation Planning Seminar
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Seminar
  • Sustainability Metrics
  • Greenhouse Gas Protocol's Corporate GHG Accounting and Reporting Standard
  • Public Speaking — Communication Strategy and Delivery

For more information, please email us.