In 2013, there were approximately 80,000 green jobs added to the U.S. economy, according to a study by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). That’s in addition to the 3.1 million jobs the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2011. With so many jobs available and more on the way, it shouldn’t be hard for eco-friendly graduates to break into the industry. To guide you toward success, here are three tips to help you land your dream green job.
1. Get involved.
Whenever you’re searching for a job, whether it’s in the green sector or not, it’s important to be active. You should stay up to date with happenings in the industry you’re interested in. But more importantly, you should get involved with organizations that share your passions or values. Not only does this allow you to put something on your resume that shows your interests, it’s also great for networking.
If your university offers a sustainability club, join it. If you have an opportunity to volunteer at an Earth Day event, do it. But make sure to look for professional opportunities too. Becoming a member of a professional society can help you rub shoulders with some of the most influential people in the green sector. The organization Net Impact, for example, works with students and professionals to create environmental change in universities, workplaces and the world. In addition to volunteer opportunities and conferences, the organization offers networking events so you can connect with green leaders in your field of interest.
2. Open your mind to new opportunities.
You may know exactly what you want to do with your life, or maybe you’re still trying to figure it out. Regardless of your situation, don’t limit yourself in your job search. Only looking for a job with an environmental title or with a company you consider to be green could severely limit your opportunities. Instead, take a broad approach. Almost every industry, from teaching to engineering, has green jobs, but they may not be advertised as such. You’ll have to do a little digging to find out how a particular job relates to environmental change.
As an alternative, you may even be able to create your own opportunity. While you might think your job search is all about you, it’s not. Your job search should focus on the value you can bring to a company, whether it has an open position or not. As you search for a company to work for, look for voids where your skills and passion can positively contribute to a company’s green efforts (or lack thereof). Along with sending in your resume, submit a document outlining the areas where the company can improve and how you would implement these changes. It may not get you the job, but if you’re lucky, going the extra mile could help you create and land a job in the green sector.
3. Don’t let your lack of experience stop you.
The green field is perfect for recent college grads looking to break into the workplace, because there are plenty of green jobs that require little experience. For example, most wind energy companies are looking for turbine technicians to inspect electrical and mechanical malfunctions and repair wind turbines. Although this career is highly technical, most employees are hired with only some college experience or a degree from a technical school. These technicians make an average of $45,970 annually, which isn’t too shabby for a new college grad. The employment outlook for this profession is expected to grow 24 percent by 2022, opening up more and more opportunities for qualified candidates.
If literally being out in the sustainability field isn’t your thing, there are opportunities in the corporate world as well. More and more companies are recognizing the value of making green commitments and hire people (and sometimes whole departments) who are dedicated to corporate social responsibility (CSR). These jobs can encompass everything from public relations to implementing energy-efficiency initiatives and often require more passion than actual on-the-job experience. If you find a job description that’s perfect for you, don’t shy away from applying.
Written by Dave Robertson an energy writer and an editor at SaveOnEnergy.com. His work promotes ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint through the utilization of renewable energy sources.