Whether you are a new graduate or recently unemployed, a green career might be right for you.
If you’ve been laid off or are newly entering the job market, then you know that the economy is still fragile. The good news is that green jobs are out there in the form of a booming demand for green-collar workers. Green has gone mainstream, and environmental jobs that were once considered fringe or niche are now exploding. The industries may sound new, but they still need core skills ranging from finance to building construction. Explore your options for meshing your livelihood with your environmental values.
Whether you have solid job experience or are just looking to enter the job market, finding a green career that is right for you may be as simple as modifying your job search filters. Businesses of all kinds are looking for professionals in the green job sector, in numerous fields such as administrative, finance, technical, marketing or sales. Environmental organizations need those with public sector or nonprofit experience for positions ranging from Executive Director to Field Recruiter.
You may need to learn how to write a resume that markets your green skills. Research the companies or organizations you’re interested in and tailor your resume and cover letter to address how you can help them with their mission. Include any relevant volunteer work or hobbies that showcase your commitment to green values. On major job boards, a search for environmental positions should yield a variety of job listings.
Find U.S. and international jobs in renewable energy at greenjobs.com.
Green building has grown from a niche to a standard in the building trade. The U.S. Green Building Council helps builders become certified in widely accepted standards as specified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Architects and landscapers now train in sustainable building. Real estate professionals can differentiate themselves by specializing in green homes and communities.
Brownfield development remakes blighted or contaminated industrial sites into safe, sustainable spaces available for reuse. Job opportunities range from development financing to community organizing. The nonprofit National Brownfield Association works with the stakeholders in brownfield sites including property owners, government, and professionals. The website has a public job board.
Land trusts focus on preserving existing natural lands from the encroachment of development and community waste. Jobs include fundraisers, nonprofit positions and preserve managers.
If you’re a scientist or engineer, chances are that you’re already exploring green opportunities. However, other business professionals also will find plenty of growth.
Major investors are backing alternative energy and creating jobs at all levels in finance, accounting and business analysis. With the likes of Morgan Stanley providing capital, finance professionals can find green opportunities on both the funding side and with alternative energy companies.
A growing renewable energy company needs marketing and sales professionals with proven success and a passion for green energy. Even if you need to come up to speed on the technology, firms understand the value of a strong track record.
If you have a taste for politics, green lobbying and campaigning continue to build more financial and communication muscle. Get involved locally or consider firms that specialize in environmental lobbying.
While you’re looking for work, consider turning a hobby into extra cash through teaching workshops or consulting on projects.
If you love to garden, native gardening and organic home farming are hot topics. Both commercial builders and homeowners are turning to native gardens for sustainable savings. Many community colleges offer low-cost certificate programs in landscape gardening that provide training without the time and expense of a full degree. If you know how to eat sustainably from your own garden, offer a workshop on how to grow your own vegetables.
Are you a whiz at organizing? Help people find green solutions to organizing their homes and small businesses. People need ideas on how to green their home routine, create a paperless workflow, and find eco-friendly supplies and vendors.
If you’re a great cook, offer a class on organic cooking. Include a field trip to the farmers market, local sustainable farm or community garden.
If you’ve always wanted to fly solo, now is the time to catch the solar winds. You can work for yourself and build a greener lifestyle at the same time. Working from home means that you cut out the commute, which reduces pollution and expense on fuel and car maintenance.
You can eat healthier and more sustainably at home than when you’re grabbing meals on the go. Stock your kitchen with organic and locally grown foods and save on restaurant packaging waste as well as calories.
Being your own boss means you get to run a green office. If you’re buying new equipment, choose the most energy-efficient models and recycle items such as printer cartridges. Look for office supplies, such as storage containers, made from recycled materials. If possible, set up your workspace to take advantage of natural light.
With the economy in flux, it may not seem like the best time to change course. However, with the environmental sector booming, going green may be your best career choice.