What is a green job? According to the UN Environmental Program, a green job is “…work in agricultural, manufacturing, R&D, administrative, and service activities that contribute to restoring environmental quality. Specifically, this includes jobs that protect ecosystems and biodiversity, reduce energy and water consumption, decarbonize the economy, and minimize pollution.”
Countless articles have been published on the explosive growth and income-generating potential green jobs have to offer despite a volatile economy. Much has also been explored on the process of transitioning from a traditional corporate role to a position driven by social responsibility and environmental activism. Now, the question remains, how does one find a green job?
The traditional method is to explore popular, online job boards. There are the mainstream job boards such as CareerBuilder, Monster, and SimplyHired. However, you are not going to find a plethora of green collar positions on general job boards. Instead, consider cleantech job boards for opportunities related to environmental responsibility. TreeHugger’s Job Board and The Green Job Search are more fruitful options for a targeted search. In addition, there are job boards focused on specific areas within the green industry, such as Jobs in the Wind from the American Wind Energy Association.
However, employers may not advertise a job opportunity with an online job board for multiple reasons. The company of your dreams may be a startup and not possess an HR department. They cannot handle the volume of responses acquired from postings on CareerBuilder.com and other broad-based posting. Therefore, other strategies to hunt for green jobs arise. Consider the possibilities within the hidden green job market:
Networking is a crucial skill for any graduate entering the job market or seasoned professional. How else will you meet the contacts necessary to acquire a new position in the cleantechn industry? Attend green events such as EcoTuesday, GreenDrinks, Green Festivals, or events sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society. For green networking tops, visit http://www.planetfriendly.net/networkingtips.html
2) Contact the Companies Directly
Many sustainable energy companies publish job listings on their website, as opposed to external recruitment for candidates. To gain access to these opportunities, candidates should identify enterprises they would be interested in working for. Tactics to review and access prospective companies include:
* Going to green memberships to review their lists of relevant employers. Examples including the American Solar Energy Society, American Wind Energy Association, Geothermal Energy Association, Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, and the Electric Auto Association.
* Review the exhibitor/presenter list at industry conferences. For instance, there were 400+ organizations at a recent Intersolar conference sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society.
* Read as many green publications as possible, such as Global Green USA Green Career journals/magazines will also have multitudinous news articles highlighting prospective employers.
* Go to the National Green Pages to discover a sustainable energy business directory.
3) Academic Institutions
Academic institutions should offer an encyclopedic array of job-related resources for colleges and students, including job fairs and listings. In response to the growing demand for green jobs, Columbia University and Standfor University are holding Energy and Environmental Career Fairs. The University of Illinois and University of Minnesota are also holding sustainable energy career fairs. Most importantly, academic insitutions are a quintessential place to engage in networking.
In response to the gigantic growth arising in green jobs, recruiters are specializing in careers involving sustainability. Examples of green recruiters include The Green Recruiter, Lotus Partners, Bright Green Talent, and Commongood Careers.
5) Membership Organizations
Industry associations and other membership-oriented organizations generate job postings along with their member services. For instance, Net Impact, a national organization focusing on actualizing business for social justice, offers career services and an annual green career expo.
6) Online Social Media
Company representatives (including hiring managers) often utilize social media to perform their own outreach initiatives for prospective candidates. For instance, the Green Jobs and Career Network Group on LinkedIn provides job postings in locations worldwide.
7) E-Mail Lists
E-mail lists for sustainable energy jobs are also an excellent method of penetrating the hidden job market. Most of these are free for job seekers to join, including Green Job List and YNPN.
Despite the recession, the American job market is growing fast for green careers. According to the Solar Energy Society’s green jobs report, “…green industries already generate 9 million jobs in the US, and with appropriate public policy, could grow to 40 million jobs by 2030.” A recent NY Times article also noted, “…56,000 newly trained workers and 14,000 project managers are needed to realize our current administration’s one-year goals for energy efficiency alone.”
So, now go out there and save our Mother Earth! Green careers lead to prosperity and job security. You will also be strengthening and healing both our economy and planet.
~ Victoria Andrew, CPRW and Owner/Director of Words Prevail, LLC