Environmental Studies / Science Major Skills List

environmental science
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If you’ve majored in environmental studies or science, your interests may dwell in the realm of ecological conservation, sustainability and more. However, it takes more than an interest in key areas to make you attractive to potential employers. 

It’s quite a diverse field with many possibilities for employment, from water quality management and nature conservation to indirectly related jobs like landscape architecture and toxicology.

Whichever way your degree takes you, you should posses several of the most important traits listed below to be a quality prospect for employers in search of candidates.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use the below skills as you search for jobs. Apply the terms in your resume, in the description of your work history, as well as in your cover letter. Mention a few of the skills on this list, and give examples of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in prior work.

You can also use these words in your interview. Hang onto the top skills listed here, and be prepared with examples of how you've exemplified each.

Each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also review our lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Five Most Important Skills Employers Look for in Environmental Majors

Gathering Data
Depending on the role you end up with, possibilities for the types of data you gather, and in what sorts of environments you gather them, could differ greatly.

Wherever you end up, you’ll be gathering data to find answers to questions, to test hypothesis, and to evaluate outcomes. Some general skills around data collecting include perseverance, focus, critical thinking, deductive reasoning, logic, and of course, patience.

You should be comfortable with various data-gathering methodologies, like the observational method, for example, or a more experimental analysis approach.

Beyond gathering data, a good candidate will be able to analyze and communicate complex data facts with their colleagues. So story telling, and the ability to organize your thoughts, will be important skills to develop as well.

Analysis Skills
You should be able to research, problem solve, and integrate the principles of chemistry and physics into your environmental analysis. Analyzing the data you gather means being able to discover patterns and correlations. Logical thinking plays into skill with analysis, as logic will help you pull apart a problem, and begin to apply solutions.

A good analyst will understand how systems work on macro and micro levels. They’ll be able to identify and begin to solve a host of problems. As an environmental science major, you should be able to not only understand problems and their solutions, but you should also be able to explain problems that are complex as well as simple. One of the more important but underrated skills an environmental science major can have is to be able to organize what they perceive and know in order to share their analysis with others.

Conducting Research
Employers will seek candidates who are able to conduct research. In order to conduct your research, you’ll need to engage the prior two skills we listed.

First, you’ll need to get clear on your strategy, and coordinate with others to make sure there are the funds and freedom to do the work you need to do. These tasks require interpersonal skills, communication, and follow through. Once the stage is set, you can begin to experiment, collect data, analyze the results, and record the data. You’ll need to be comfortable with things like formulating hypotheses and coming to various conclusions, when you’re able to. Conducting research requires skills like managing stress, organizational oversight, teamwork, time management, deductive reasoning, and more.

Organizational Skills
To manage projects and phases of projects, employers will seek environmental scientists with proven organizational skills. As an employee, you may need to create research proposal structures, you may be tasked with managing delicate samples, or you may even be placed into a supervisor capacity, which will require you to manage entire projects or groups of people.

In environmental science, employers will seek candidates who can organize their thoughts, their ideas, their work, and sometimes, other people.

Working Independently
While social and communication skills are important for roles related to environmental science, employees might sometimes find themselves working solo. The ability to work independently will be important for just about any employer. It means they’ll be able to dole out assignments, or give you direction, but they won’t have to hold your hand through all stages of the process. Employers will look for independent thinkers who can stay focused and motivated without constant oversight.

Environmental science can be a lucrative and rewarding career. It can give you the opportunity to devote your life’s work to a cause you may be genuinely passionate about, which is always a plus.

Environmental Studies / Science Major Skills

A - C

  • Accuracy
  • Analyzing Data
  • Analyzing Environmental Problems
  • Analyzing Public Policy Issues Related to the Environment
  • Applying Concepts in Geology to Environmental Assessments
  • Applying Dyes and Indicators to Cells
  • Applying Ethical Principles to Environmental Analyses
  • Applying Knowledge of Biology
  • Assessing the Impact of Social Institutions on the Environment
  • Attention to Detail
  • Calculus 
  • Collaborating 
  • Collecting Soil Samples
  • Composing Lab Reports
  • Comprehending Complex Scientific Reading Material
  • Conducting Quantitative Research
  • Constructing Environmental Impact Statements
  • Creating Atmospheric Models
  • Creating Charts and Graphs to Represent Findings
  • Critical Thinking

D - N

  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Delivering Constructive Criticism
  • Designing Research Models to Test Hypotheses Regarding Environmental Issues
  • Evaluating the Validity of Environmental Research
  • Flexibility
  • Gathering Data
  • Identifying Environmental Problems
  • Incorporating Concepts of Physics into Environmental Analysis
  • Integrating Principles of Chemistry into Environmental Analysis
  • Leading Group Discussions
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Multitasking 
  • Note Taking

O - S

  • Observational
  • Organizational
  • PowerPoint
  • Predicting Outcomes
  • Presentation 
  • Prioritizing
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Management
  • Receiving Constructive Feedback
  • Recording Field Observations
  • Resilience
  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Statistics 
  • Stress Management 

T - Z 

  • Teamwork
  • Testing Ground Water
  • Test Taking
  • Time Management
  • Using Electron Microscopes
  • Utilizing Spectrometers
  • Utilizing Water Testing Equipment
  • Verbal Communication
  • Working Independently
  • Writing Policy Essays
  • Writing Scientific Research Papers

More Lists of Skills
Here’s a list of skills employers are looking for, including soft skills, general skills, and hard skills for a variety of different jobs.

Read More: How to Answer Interview Questions About Skills | What to Include in a Resume Skills Section | List of Skills Employers Seek in Job Applicants