We live in a world in crisis—scientists agree that the climate disasters we are seeing are due to human activity. Now is the time for passionate professionals to step up and help us transition to a more sustainable future. The demand for “green” business is growing, opening exciting green career opportunities for you.
First, we will answer the question, just what is a green career? Why should you pursue a green career path? Then we will cover the nuts and bolts of obtaining a green career, from deciding on an industry to plugging your skills into the right resume format.
Green careers are focused on promoting sustainability and protecting fragile environments. They are not limited to a single industry. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), green careers include working with water conservation, sustainable forestry, biofuels, geothermal energy, environmental remediation, recycling, electric vehicles, construction, solar power, wind energy, agriculture, and waste management.
Within these fields, many positions exist.
- Engineers explore new ways of harnessing renewable energy, reducing consumption and pollution, or disposing of waste products in less harmful ways.
- Technicians keep wind turbines up and running.
- Installers are needed for solar panels.
- Construction crews build energy-efficient hotels and buildings.
- Auditors and consultants help businesses identify and remedy issues.
- Scientists monitor environmental changes.
- Farmers put sustainable agriculture techniques into practice.
- Educators help others to understand the importance of, and principles behind, environmentally conscious practices.
As discussed above, many types of green careers are in high demand. In fact, the BLS estimates that in some sectors, green jobs will increase by 106 per cent by 2026. The abundance of job opportunities is one reason to pursue it. But there are many more.
Green careers are often exciting, involving the use or development of cutting-edge technology. Additionally, they offer job security and are usually well compensated.
Ultimately, your green career can have a positive impact on the world. Depending on your job, you might save lives by alleviating an environmental strain or improving the quality of life for future generations.
The process of landing a green career is much the same as any other job search. But we’ve assembled the following tips to help give you an edge.
Many green careers are centered around the sciences. For this reason, you will need a strong educational background and, likely, a college degree. Positions as an assistant or a technician may accept an associate’s degree, but most jobs require at least a bachelor’s. For advanced and managerial positions, you will need a master’s degree, and if you want to pursue research, a Ph.D.
Depending on the industry you wish to enter, you may decide to study environmental science, psychology, biology, chemistry, agriculture, engineering, business administration, or any number of other related fields.
After you’ve got a degree under your belt, show off your skills by tailoring your resume to each job you apply for. Let your cover letter and interview bespeak the passion you feel. You can also bulk up your credentials by heading up an environmental volunteer project, writing an article, pursuing undergraduate or graduate research, or completing a green industry internship.
You may happen upon green jobs on any job listing website, but there are those like the Green Jobs Network who specialize in green careers. If you are using a generic job search site, look for keywords like “sustainable.”
What if you are mid-career and you would like to make the switch to greener pastures? If your company already has environmental initiatives, ask company leadership about being transferred to that department. If not, discuss the need to initiate such a position. Highlight the economic benefits (such as customer loyalty to environmentally conscious companies) and your own interest in the field.
Your experience and skills in your field can go a long way even if you have little experience with sustainable practices. A bit of training or education can bridge the gaps in your knowledge.
Networking is always essential to career success, and this is true of green careers as well. Attend environmentally conscious events or connect with green professionals online. If you’re passionate about green initiatives, your contacts may well remember you the next time a position opens up.
Green jobs are the wave of the future. You can make a difference in a career that promotes sustainability and conservation. Get the degree you need, create a motivating CV, search for openings and network with professionals already making the world a bit greener.
It’s no understatement to say that the future of humanity rests on the shoulders of those with green careers. You’ve got the skills, so get out there and save the world.