What is a Green Job?
What is a green job?
- Van Jones, advisor to President Obama says a green job is: “a family-supporting career-track job that directly contributes to preserving or enhancing environmental quality.”
- The biggest misconception about green jobs is that they’re primarily for researchers, scientists, and PhDs.
- The reality is that most of the jobs in the green economy are similar to roles in other industries. Solar manufacturers, for example, still need project managers, accountants, assemblers, IT professionals, customer service reps, marketing professionals and account executives, just like other companies.
- “The green economy is not just for the Ph.D. but also for the Ph.-do” says Van Jones. Somebody still needs to build, sell, deliver, and install these technologies.
Top Green Job Search Tips
- Green the Job You’ve Got. Whether you work in a small or a large company, or founded your own business, there are probably ways eco-performance can be improved, which is a good way to get some green momentum going before you take the plunge and hit the open market. Get inspired with our How to Go Green: At Work. You can start with some great EnergyStar Tips, like going paperless in your office or cubicle, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Green your commute, or telecommute. Find your professional wardrobe at the thrift store. Green your office environment and your lunch habits. Then get your colleagues in on the fun. Your green efforts now will make great fodder for conversation when you finally get your job interview with Green & Co.
- Go Where there’s Growth. The green job market is booming. The demand for environmental or atmospheric scientists, hydrologists, urban planners, landscape architects, sustainable designers and environmental teachers outstrips the average economic growth rate. Consulting firms are all targeting this juicy market and hiring to serve it. Opening your own business in green niche markets may be attractive. Funds and donations for environmental causes are supporting more non-governmental organizations and activist groups. Financial types are all running after the “triple bottom line” and windfarm investments. All this adds up to one thing: going green is big business, and there are new jobs created every day to support the burgeoning industry.
- Follow your Heart. Join green groups, read green blogs, enjoy an evening at green drinks (or start a green drinks if there’s not one in your area). Keep track of which topics draw you in. Do your ears perk up at the mention of organic corn; does alternative energy spark your interest; do you have a desire to design? When you meet someone whose green career you envy or admire, start asking questions: What do they love about their job? What do they hate? You may find your rosy picture dulled by reality. Or your interest may be further piqued. Even if you don’t make it all the way to career change, you will have a lot of fun learning and make new friends.
- Inventory your Strengths. If you are like most people, you will be happiest doing the things you do best. So think of this step as a quest for self-fulfillment rather than as a thankless chore necessary for putting bullet points on a new resume. Write down the three things you like best about your current job. Then write down the three biggest successes you have had in the past several years. What are the skills you used to generate that success? Finally, write down the three things you think you could do or would like to do. Do you have the skills to realistically pursue your wishes? Which skills should you improve for your dream job? Use this improved understanding of your own drives and capabilities to steer your search for the next step in your career. (And put them on your resume: that way you’ll get the job you were put on this blue earth to do.)
- Decide: Are you an Outsider or an Insider? Sustainable development needs all types of people. Activists’ demands spur social trends which regulators must respect. Without regulators, businesses would react only to market demand. But committed designers, engineers, planners, managers, operators and others inside of business and industry are essential to drive real change, rather than simple greenwashing. Is it sacrificing your green principles if you take a job with the “worst company in the business”? No! In fact, that may be where you are best placed to make the biggest potential difference. So if you have the gumption, consider going over to the “dark side” to see if you can make it brighter. At a minimum, do not fear that you are betraying your principals by going to work for the company that lags in the green field; they need you.
- Start Networking. By now, you have some contacts in a few green fields and you have an idea what you want. It is time to get strategic in your networking. Ask your contacts in the area of your interest for introductions, and references. Katherine Hansen reports in A Foot in the Door that over 75 percent of jobs are never advertised (it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!). Your network will be the key to finding your dream green job.
- Build a Green Resume. As soon as you have some fields which you think may be interesting, try to get involved. Volunteer to help out in a project, to start a green campaign, or to be the back-up for the greenest guy/gal on staff where you work right now. This will build your skills and give you confidence that you are making the right choice for your next career move.
- Consider Going Back to School. The field of green is moving so fast that many of the skills needed for today’s careers were not taught routinely even a few years ago. Additionally, if you are really looking at a career change, the cost of some new qualifications will most likely pay themselves back in higher salaries as the demand for competent green employees skyrockets in the countdown to global warming and peak oil. Training in Renewable Energy or, more specifically, jobs in solar, are becoming easier to find.
- Don’t Go Back to School. Finance. IT. Gardening. Art. Communications. You name it: you can go green with just about any training or job area today. This world needs a paradigm change in which there are not green jobs, but all jobs are green. A study of environmental jobs in nine U.S. states found some interesting facts: in Florida, for example, environmental protection generated more jobs for sheet metal workers than geoscientists, more jobs for electricians than chemists, more jobs for accountants and auditors than for medical scientists and more jobs for computer programmers than hazardous material removal workers. Industry growth means companies are willing to do on-the-job training if you bring a basic skill set to the game. Look for a company in an environmental field that will hire you based on the resume you have now.
- Search for Your Dream Green Job. Increasingly, though, job searches involve using the ‘net at some point; happily there are some online job search sites devoted to green jobs. And many leading job search engines include categories for environmental or sustainability related work. So your new green job may be just a click away; keep reading for some links to get you started in your research. Know what you want, work your network, and use your internet resources as research tools so that you come prepared to negotiate, and land that dream green job. (Tips by treehugger.com)