This article will provide basic information to help answer a fundamental question — how can a job seeker locate green jobs?
First, a definition:
In this article, “green jobs” will be defined as full-time, part-time, or internship opportunities that provide a social or environmental benefit. These jobs can be in the public, private, or non-profit sector and include jobs in areas such as energy efficiency, green building, natural resource management, recycling, and renewable energy. This definition also reflects a broad view of sustainability and includes areas such as fair trade and corporate social responsibility.
Part 1: Job Boards
One method to identify green jobs is to review a popular source of job postings – online job boards. In reviewing job boards, it may be helpful to think about them in two categories:
1.) General job boards
These are broad-based boards that cover many industries and sectors, and which will include green jobs. These include well-known sites including CareerBuilder, Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, Simply Hired, and Yahoo HotJobs.
2.) Green job boards
A variety of job boards focus on opportunities related to environmental or social responsibility. These include job boards such as Idealist.org, TreeHugger’s Job Board, and greenjobsearch.org (from GJN). In addition, there are job boards that focus on a specific area within the green industry such as Jobs in Wind from the American Wind Energy Association.
Green Jobs Network was one of the first organizations to publish a comprehensive list of green job boards to assist job seekers. This list is in the process of being updated — look for a new version soon!
Part 2: The Hidden Green Job Market
Green jobs can be found in a number of areas in addition to online job boards. In some instances employers may not publicize a job opportunity via a traditional online job board for reasons such as time (for example, the company may not be able to invest the internal human resources needed to review a large number of applicants that could arise with a broad-based posting) or capacity (for example, a young company may not have a complete human resources department). Some of the other sources and strategies to locate green jobs include:
1.) Go Direct
Some companies may publish job listings on their website, but not necessarily conduct additional external recruitment for candidates. To access these opportunities job seekers should identify companies they would be interested in working for and review the Jobs or Careers section of their website for potential jobs. Strategies to identify companies include:
- Reviewing membership lists or other resources from relevant industry associations. For example, the American Solar Energy Society provides this list of employers. A list of some industry associations is available on Green Collar Blog.
- Reviewing the list of exhibitors or presenters at industry conferences. For example, there were more than 400 organizations at the Intersolar conference in 2009,
- Reviewing relevant industry publications (for example, Sustainable Industries). These publications may contain news stories mentioning potential employers. Examining the companies who advertise in such publications may also be valuable.
- Reviewing national or local lists and directories of green businesses (such as the Bay Area Green Business Program and the National Green Pages).
Networking can enable job seekers to learn about job opportunities. There are a vast number of approaches and strategies for networking, including attending events by organizations such as EcoTuesday and GreenDrinks, participating in the local chapter of a national organization such as the American Solar Energy Society, or attending programs or conferences such as the Green Festival. There are also internet-based approaches to networking (see point #3). Due to the importance of networking to a successful job search it will be the focus of a future article on Green Collar Blog.
3.) Online Social Media
There are an increasing number of job opportunities posted via online social media channels. For example, all groups on the professional networking site LinkedIn include a “Jobs” tab where job opportunities can be posted. Company representatives (including hiring managers) may use social media to conduct their own outreach for potential candidates. For example, the Green Jobs and Career Network group on LinkedIn currently contains more than 100 job postings in various locations.
4.) E-mail Lists
As with job boards, there are an increasing number of recruiters that focus on careers pertaining to sustainability. A number of these organizations will post positions for which they are currently seeking candidates (two examples are Commongood Careers and Bright Green Talent). A list of some green recruiters is available on Green Collar Blog.
6.) Membership Organizations
Industry associations and other membership-based organizations can offer job postings among their member services. For example, Net Impact, a national organization that focuses on harnessing the power of business for social good, has an extensive set of career services (including a job board and resume tips) as well as an annual career expo.
7.) Academic Institutions
Academic institutions offer a range of job-related resources for their students and graduates. These include access to job listings and job fairs. For example, Stanford University will be holding an Energy & Environmental Career Fair in October and this page on Green Collar Blog lists recent green career fairs held by institutions including the University of Illinois and University of Minnesota. Academic institutions can also be a source of networking opportunities.
Part 3: Future Green Jobs
1.) Follow the Money
One method to identify potential future green jobs is to identify where investments are being made today. This can be a productive strategy as these investments may lead to the development of new enterprises that have jobs. Specific approaches include:
- Identifying private sector investment. Venture capital firms, private equity firms, and corporations are all making significant investments in existing or new enterprises in the green sector. The recipients of these investment may be sources of future (or even current) job opportunities. Sources to learn about these investments include The Cleantech Group, Earth2Tech, GreenBeat, Greentech Media, and Green VC.
- Identify public sector investment. As with the private sector, the public sector is investing in the green sector and the recipients of these investment may also be sources of current or future job opportunities. Sources to learn about these investments include the ones mentioned above as well as directly reviewing government websites such as the U.S. Department of Energy.
2.) Follow the Law
A second method to identify potential future green jobs is to identify federal, state, or local legislative, judicial, or regulatory changes that impact the green economic sector. Government action can include providing funds for new initiatives (such as the approximately $8 billion in expanded funding for weatherization in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that can lead to new employment opportunities or rules that may lead to new business opportunities. Sources for identifying these legal developments include those mentioned above as well as organizations such as the Apollo Alliance and Green For All.
3.) Follow the Startups
New enterprises can be a source for potential future job opportunities. Some strategies for identifying these are:
- Green and Social Venture Business Plan Competitions. These programs are organized by business schools and other organizations and are generally geared to ventures that are at an early stage in their development. These include programs such as the Clean Tech Open and the Global Social Venture Competition. Job seekers can review the list of entrants and winners of these competitions as potential future sources of jobs. In addition, job seekers may consider entering a competition or joining the team of an entrant (some of these competitions offer mixers to facilitate team recruitment). A list of some of these competitions is available on Green VC.
- Green and Social Entreprenuership Awards and Fellowships. These program vary and include cash prizes for one-time contests, seed funding for new ventures, and later-stage funding for existing organizations. These include programs such as Echoing Green and the Skoll Award for Social Entreprenuership. As with business plan competitions, job seekers can review the list of winners of these programs as potential future sources of jobs. A list of some of these programs is available on Green VC.