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The Environmental Job Seeker’s Guide to Professional Associations

Memberships aren’t just things you add to your resume to make it look more official. Joining the right groups for your career can open doors. Their professional publications have cutting-edge research and advice you can bring up in an interview or apply on the job. You may even find chances to volunteer or attend workshops, which make you more attractive to future employers.

Because associations can be so helpful, it is important to find the ones that fit your needs. Use this guide to identify which environmental organization(s) suit your career path.


Company Operations and the Workplace

International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE): The ISIE investigates how companies and manufacturers operate and interact with the environment. Ultimately, they want to find a way for industrial and environmental systems to function side-by-side without negatively impacting one another. Members receive discounts on certain books and conferences. They can also get free educational materials through the Industrial Ecology dissertation database and regular newsletters/journals.

National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM): This organization encourages businesses to create healthy workspaces and environmentally friendly company practices. It has local chapters as well as a nationwide network. It offers webinars, hosts events, and releases regular reports regarding sustainability and health and safety.


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Ecological Association of America (ESA): The ESA promotes communication between ecology professionals and increase access to scientific research in this field. They offer certification and professional development/education options. Members can read all ESA journals for free, and have free or reduced-cost access to other highly regarded publications. This group also provides networking opportunities — perfect for your job search!

Society for Conservation Biology (SCB): SCB is an organization of professionals focused on protecting biodiversity and identifying the factors that impact it. They strive to develop realistic, applicable methods for industries to coexist with wildlife. Among other careers, this group includes teachers, resource managers, and conservation officials.

Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS): SWCS is divided into local chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Though this group is not meant exclusively for conservation workers, many chapters sponsor professional development services, which will look great on your resume.

Society of American Foresters (SAF): This association offers a database filled with useful articles and research on forest science, technology/practices in forestry, and policy issues, all checked for credibility. Two of their more unique features are the encyclopedia and dictionary tools on the SAF website, which allow you to quickly and easily access bite-sized chunks of information specifically created with your career in mind.

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA): The AFWA offers memberships to entire organizations as well as individuals who have been employees or legislators in the game and fish or conservation sectors. Members have the opportunity to communicate with conservation policy makers at annual meetings. The group also sponsors funding and grants for projects its members propose.



American Solar Energy Society (ASES): The ASES is the American chapter of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). The organization aims to push the movement for sustainable energy forward. They offer training, publish reports, run conferences, and provide a variety of other resources.

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): The AWEA is the wind industry’s trade association. They publish marketing data and toolkits as well as distilled fact sheets. These are particularly useful to professionals who are educating others about wind energy as well as those in sales.

International Hydropower Association (IHA): IHA regularly publishes maps, infographics, and other reports to deliver cutting-edge information on uses and trends in hydropower. They address a wide range of issues, spanning business, policy, technical, and social factors.


Water Resources Management

International Water Association (IWA): The IWA connects water professionals across the globe and promotes the exchange of knowledge and practices. They run several programs worldwide to foster improved water sanitation and supply. Among other roles, IWA members fill consultant, researcher, and manufacturer positions.

By Erin Coursey, iHire | July 11, 2016
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