Are you hoping to find an environmentally friendly employer? It may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually getting easier every day. Here are five tips that you may want to keep in mind:
- Brand yourself green. Environmentalism starts at home. To find a green job, you need to be green yourself – that is, if you want to land that green job once you find it. Start showing your own commitment to the environment. Remember that actions speak louder than words. Telling interviewers that you feel strongly about the environment is a good start – but it isn’t enough. Make sure that you are taking actions to reduce your own carbon footprint, like taking the bus or biking to work, buying sustainably grown local produce, and finding ways to reduce your consumption. Try volunteering with a local conservation organization (or an organization dedicated to whatever environmental issue you feel the most strongly about). You might also want to start your own blog or regular podcast, or even a video blog, on environmental issues. You obviously feel strongly about the environment, so don’t be shy – speak up! Another wonderful way to brand yourself green is to start an environmental initiative in your current workplace. You could organize a walk/bike to work program, or start an e-waste recycling initiative. Doing so not only shows your commitment to the environment, but also shows your leadership skills – something that is also in demand.
- Turn to your personal and work networks. If there is one thing that most people love, it is being confided in and asked for advice. Let the people in your network know that you are looking for work, and tell them a little about what you’re looking for. Let them know that you are especially looking for a job at an environmentally-friendly company or organization. Be specific – if you would not consider working for a company that encourages reckless consumption and spending, then say so. If your primary concern is recycling and conservation, let your network know that. You may be surprised at how helpful your personal contacts can be.
- Decide what you are looking for. One way that your network may be able to help you is in the area of focusing your vision. Exactly what kind of job are you hoping to find? Is there a nexus somewhere, a special niche, where your particular unique background and training meets an organizational need that is connected with environmentalism? Your friends, family, and colleagues will probably have more questions for you! Talk with them at some length if they are willing to take the time, because these discussions will help you to narrow your job search. You are a busy person. You don’t have time to look for all the green jobs in the world. You only have time to look for that particular subset of jobs that is a good fit for you personally. Remember to ask yourself not only what kind of green job you hope to find, but also what other factors are important in your job search. Are you willing to move? Do you care how big or how little the organization is? Do you need to have regular 9-5 hours?
- Broaden your personal and work networks by joining green networks. In many parts of the country, green networks are forming that are dedicated to business practices. Below are a few networks that you may want to look into. You might also try your local Chamber of Commerce or business groups, or check for local news and events through social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. While you are at it, you can use accounts at those sites to broadcast your interest in the environment (as long as you are not constantly tweeting or posting – if so, you run the risk of appearing to spend more time socializing than working, unless updating social networks is part of your job).
- Remember that not all green jobs are advertised as green. Some companies and organizations made a bigger deal about their green policies than others do. Likewise, remember that not all organizations that claim to be green really are. Some companies are starting to engage in a practice known as “greenwashing,” where they use the language of environmentalism as a marketing ploy and claim to donate profits to environmental organizations. In some cases, these companies really are committed to making a difference. But in other cases, the greenwashing is for marketing and advertising purposes. Think about whether that is enough for you (I’m not judging – it’s your choice!)
It’s important to find a job that you feel enthusiastic about, with an employer that you are proud to work for – so don’t give up. Give it a little time, and soon you’ll find the eco-friendly job you’ve been dreaming of.
Brendan Cruickshank (Vice President of Client Services) – Brendan is a veteran of the online job search and recruiting industry, having spent the past 8 years in senior client services roles with major sites like Juju.com and JobsInTheMoney.com. He is quoted regularly as an expert in employment and jobs trends in major media outlets like the Washington Post, US News & World Report, and Forbes and has spoken at recruiting industry events such as Onrec and Kennedy Information’s Corporate Recruiting Conference.