If you are looking to hire a hydrogeologist, make sure they are either specialized in what you need, or have a proven track record for picking up new skills.
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Gone are the days when it was laudable to stick with one company for 30 years and get a Rolex watch at your retirement party. Lack of company loyalty is true for many professions these days. Perhaps it is the result of disappearing pensions with the introduction of 401(k)’s, or maybe market shifts driving competition for talent, causing young professionals to job-hop more frequently. Fortunately for hydrogeologists, having a diversified resume helps broaden their knowledge base and allows them to attack difficult problems with more tools in their belt.
Calling oneself a hydrogeologist has many different meanings from completing simple well logging, to analyzing the extent of a chemical spill, to developing a complex groundwater model that reaches thousands of feet below the ocean floor. Rather than saying “I am a hydrogeologist,” these days it’s more useful to provide a history of your experience, and even who you trained under if it is a niche field and the circle is small.
To the employer: When hiring a hydrogeologist, make sure they are either specialized in what you need, or have a proven track record for picking up new skills. Additionally, almost every hydrogeologist will agree to “some” travel, and this usually means you are hiring for a position you're calling 25-75% travel. However, do yourself a favor and be honest with your new hire for what period this level of travel will be expected. Most employees believe that within a few years they can work their way up the ladder into an office job. Be open to remote work in between field work. Companies are excluding potentially excellent hires by unnecessarily demanding they physically appear in the office.
To the “fresh out” recruit: In your first job in hydrogeology, it’s best to get field experience while you’re young. Field days can be 12 to 14 hours per day for 10 days straight, regardless of 100+ degree F heat, rain, freezing temperatures, or snow. But don't worry - this is an invaluable experience that will give you a broad understanding of what goes into projects and make you a better hydrogeologist later in your career. Plus, you'll undoubtedly come out from it with a few stories to laugh about.