Create Your Own Green Job

Wed, 2012-08-29 12:04

With the growth of the green economy and more attention to environmental protections, many professionals are reinventing themselves, in favor of jobs with an environmental focus. But, does a green career change have to mean a job change? Maybe not. At least not right away. You could already be on a career path leading to green and not even know it. Even accountants are getting into the green groove. What if instead of searching for a green job, you could transform the job you are already in? Here are some insights to planting the seeds of a green career right where you are:

Assess Your Skills What are you really good at? Identify specific expertise that is transferrable to other areas.

Assess Your Current Position and Employer What parts of your current job do you really enjoy? What are the gaps to be filled and needs to be met within the company? Are there environmental standards the company needs to comply with that require additional management and tracking? Are there ways to better serve customers? Are there ways to cut costs through conservation? What about increasing community involvement?

Research & Education This part is easy when you are passionate about something. Do lots of reading and sign up for training seminars. There are several green accreditations and certifications that can be earned in a short time through online classes. Review job profiles and green job boards to assess what skills and certifications are in demand. The goal is to gain confidence and the ability to identify opportunities.

Stay Connected Use the Internet and social media to follow people and news in the areas of expertise that are relevant to your interest. Set up Google Alerts to track news and legislative changes. Sign up for groups on LinkedIn, and keep your profile updated. Follow green professionals and companies on Twitter. If you are intimidated by social media, make it part of your education goals to learn more.

Give It A Try Seek out opportunities to put your knowledge and your passion into practice, even if you have to create the opportunity yourself. Offer to head up a task force or a green team in your current job. Do you love spreadsheets?

Offer to set up a simple tracking system for energy or raw materials expenses associated with the supply chain. Analyze the data, propose conservation measures, and document the results. Do you work in a geographic area that values environmentally conscious practices? Many local governments offer green business certification programs. Offer to take the lead on achieving the business certification to increase the company’s outreach and access to the green sector.

Not only are such activities great learning and creative outlets for your passion, they represent practical applications of your knowledge and are valuable enhancements to your resume.

Network As part of your research, find out what organizations are active in your area. Look for volunteer opportunities in the community, such as participating in clean up events for local parks and waterways or planting urban gardens. Attend green events to meet like-minded professionals. Seek out those who are successful and innovative in the green industry and ask to schedule an informational interview.

Ask For It Your efforts will show your dedication. When those efforts begin to yield positive results, document your successes in detail. When a new opportunity or a new idea presents itself, be prepared to create a proposal and ask for what you want. A promotion? A new position? A budget to move forward with additional green initiatives? A raise? Sponsorship to continue your education?

Conclusion Focusing on green opportunities in your current job is a legitimate way to a green career without completely starting over. Work with what you’ve got, and make what you’ve got work. You just might be amazed at what you can achieve, for yourself, the company, and the environment. To further your education and take the next step toward “greening your career,” check out Everblue’s Sustainability Training Programs.

By Amy Malloy

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