Just three years after receiving his bachelor’s in environmental studies from UC, Santa Cruz, Barry has an established career that he achieved by following his interests and making key connections at every opportunity.
Barry is currently a conservation easement steward at the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, where he’s responsible for maintaining ongoing relationships with the landowners of conservation easements. In his role, he conducts annual monitoring and writes reports of the easement properties that include site photographs, maps and GPS points to accurately represent the property at the time of the field visit. He also writes baseline condition reports for any new easement acquisitions.
Although Barry has been in this position for almost two years to date, it took him an entire year to land a job after graduating. Barry recalls some of the struggles in job hunting:
Applying for positions was very time consuming. I was applying for positions all over the country and was constantly getting overshadowed by people with more experience.
When asked what steps he took to finally land a career, Barry replied that persistence and a bit of luck eventually helped him land a career:
[I] followed my interests and contacted a wide variety of professionals for informational interviews. Volunteering with the [USDA] Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) set me up with field experience and landowner relations experience. Eventually, I was given the opportunity to work with the Land Trust as a paid intern, helping with baseline condition reports and annual monitoring. Gradually, my responsibilities increased into a full-time, permanent position.
After working hard to achieve a career in his field of interest, Barry has some advice for other rising pros looking for a career:
Put yourself out there. Take the opportunity to do informational interviews when offered. I’ve found that many professionals will take the time to meet with people who have an interest in their career. It also broadens your contact base and opens up opportunities.
Barry plans to keep rising by continuing to go to conferences and trainings, as well as continuing to network with people in related fields.
Although it’s hard to find a career in today’s workforce, Barry is proof that if follow your interests, stay persistent and realize opportunities, you can achieve what you want as a young professional so you can keep rising throughout your career.