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Question
Hello,

My name is Tori. I am currently enrolled at a university pursuing a BS in Environmental Science. I have about 2 and half years before I graduate so I have some time and I am attempting to be proactive and start the foundation for my career as soon as possible. I would like to eventually get a career as a operations manager or sustainability analyst. Preferably within a Retail/Fashion Company. These are senior level positions so my question is where would I start? I currently am working with a retail company now and they are a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition so I know they have environmental related jobs at the corporate level. What kind of entry-level positions should I be looking for? What are the preliminary positions for this type of career?

Answer
Hello Tori,

I compliment you on getting a head start on building a good foundation before you graduate. Your desire to start at the bottom and work your way up certainly makes sense. What you may find with this type of specialized position, is that many if not all of the opportunities may end up being in a company's corporate office. Also since it is so specialized, there may not be all that many traditional "entry level" positions out there. I'm guessing that an analyst would be a more junior level position that an operations manager, so that may be a good start.

If you want to stay local (and live near a big city), you may want to research and find out which retail companies are near you, and more importantly, if the position you desire exits within that particular company you live near.

As far as looking for entry level work, (so long as you are willing to travel) I would highly suggest networking with people already working in the field to see if there are any paid or unpaid internship opportunities in their individual company. Since you are still in school, ideally you could participate in this type of internship either during the summer or after your final year.

If you work for a company that is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition that is great. It may be much easier for you to reach someone in the corporate office to inquire into growth or internship opportunities being that you already work for the company.

As you can see, I'm a big fan of internships and networking, but these are just 2 of many possible suggestions to get you started.

I hope this helps!

Career Planning

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Bill Rehkamp, M.S., LMHC

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Hello! I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor located in Miami Florida that specializes in providing career guidance and counseling. I promise to listen to your concerns in a calm, positive, and non-judgmental way. I have over 12 years of counseling experience helping individual address a variety of career issues. Are you a student interested in working professionally in the mental health field? I can help you too! I provide career assessment, educational and career planning information to individuals who are considering changing or entering a new career. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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I have worked professionally as a counselor in several non-profit and government agencies for the past 12 years. I first started working on a crisis suicide hotline in Miami, then for a non-profit shelter helping adolescents and families in distress. I have worked for an agency assisting people with disabilities to seek and obtain meaningful employment, and have experience in employee assistance.

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American Counseling Association (ACA), Professional Member

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I have a Master's degree in Counseling from Florida International University, National Board Certification in Rehabilitation Counseling, and State Licensure in Mental Health Counseling.

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