How to attract rather than chase your ideal sustainability job

Who is your authentic self?

Forget selling yourself to an employer, life coach Nick Barnett invites you to find and be your authentic self to attract the job you want in sustainability. 


There are some good careers articles on Ecojam about how to get a job in the competitive sustainable sector. Having a strong CV that demonstrates your skills, experience and passion for sustainability through personal projects, volunteer work etc. is important to open the door to an interview but it’s still a 2-dimensional version of you and doesn’t give an interviewer a definite answer that you are the person they are looking for.  

To quote the philosopher Alfred Korzybski, ‘The map is not the territory’ – your CV and cover letter do not provide the complete picture of you. 

Enter the stress of the job interview….

The job interviewer is sitting with several similar maps. How do you make an impact? You’ve got to sell yourself, right? Promote your skills and achievements, try to convince them you are the right person…

Or do you?  

Instead how could you be attractive to the job you want? 

The short answer is be real. Talking about what you’ve done is one thing but talking about that in the context of who you are is much more powerful. There is an authenticity gap in our work culture in an effort to present the right image and say the right thing to get a job.

You’re already bridging that gap by looking for a job in sustainability – wanting to do something you believe in and make a difference. 

But are you clear what your values are that underpin this? Or how to articulate your strengths and talents? 

Here’s the thing…

Attraction isn’t about promotion. It’s about being your authentic self… 

Know your why
We are naturally attracted to people who share our values. If you talk about what is important to you in sustainability and what difference you are committed to helping create in the world authentically you emanate an energy. That energy is attractive to people who believe what you believe.

Own your strengths
It’s very easy to take our strengths for granted and think because it is easy for us it is easy for everybody else or that many people can do what we do. The truth is that we all have a unique set of character strengths, talents and experiences that shape who we are.

Owning your strengths is about trust. Trust that you can use them to provide value to others. It’s not about arrogance or perfection but shamelessly knowing where you have strength and the humility to know there is always more to learn.    

Be human
Because we’ve got strengths and talents and are confident we can use them to create value for others doesn’t mean we’re not going to make mistakes or fail at things. Sharing these experiences actually makes us human, and if we are able to articulate how we grew from these experiences and improved our results, that will be attractive to organisations that want to employ humans. 

Top tip: don’t worry if you don’t get a job with a company looking for robots

Furthermore, failure has reinvented itself in recent years thanks to companies like Google who have recognised that failure is a necessary part of innovation, the driving force that creates the successful products of tomorrow. 

There’s always some pressure in interviews but how much is up to you. Consider which scenario feels more pressurised…

Turning up ready to talk about who you are

Turning up thinking about how you should answer certain questions, how to impress the interviewer, trying to remember prepared answers. 

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, ‘Relaxation is who you are, tension is who you should be.’ 

Saying what we think others want to hear, trying to impress and project ‘the perfect candidate’ creates tension as we try to micro-manage the situation. Interviewers will feel that. Effortless influence is created with the relaxed energy of authenticity. 

As Ralph Waldo Emerson so greatly put it, ‘Who you are screams at me so loud, I can barely hear what you are saying’

A truly sustainable job is one that is rooted in your values and enables you to develop your strengths and talents in service of a purpose that is important to you.  

Could getting the one you want be a more effortless process than you realise?

Nick Barnett is a life coach in Bristol. email:
If you want to dive deeper into your authentic self then you can get Nick’s Personal Foundation workbook here for free