Inside: Everything you need to know about sustainability jobs and how to land yourself the perfect role. This article answers some of the key questions you may have about building a sustainable career.
Whether you’re fresh onto the job market or simply searching for a new and more ethical career path, it is always daunting taking the first few steps in a new professional world. So, to help ease these tensions and to assist with your transition to sustainable employment, Karenza and Georgia have been speaking to Emma Carlisle, the Careers Consultant from Bath Spa University and getting advice from green businesses in order to find out how you can best go about securing your dream job in sustainability.
What is a green career?
'Green' or 'sustainability' jobs are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people seek meaningful employment. The term covers a wide variety of jobs so it should be possible to find a role that suits your skills and interests. National Geographic recently released an article giving examples of 11 green jobs on the rise, some examples of those featured are urban growers, green builders, green design professionals, Biofuels jobs and green property developers.
What is the perfect sustainability job for me?
If you are interested in an ethical/sustainable career but you’re not sure what kind of role will suit you head over to iCould, a website which encourages employees in a wide variety of roles to create written and video profiles in order to explain what their job entails.
These give you a quick insight into the kind of things expected in different roles. You can search for jobs based on subjects, job types and hobbies. Using green buzzwords, such as ‘community work’ and ‘environment’, will help refine the search for you. But, be warned - there are so many great videos you may find yourself spoilt for choice!
Once you have an idea of the kind of role you are interested in, check the Ecojam Jobs Board to see if there are any exciting roles to apply for.
What skills do I need?
In terms of the skills recommended for a job in the ethical market, passion is one of the key qualities that employers look for, as they share this passion with all of their employees. All jobs require a certain level of teamwork, communication, problem-solving, perseverance and ability to work under pressure. However, with regards to an ethically motivated career/job, all of these things are driven by your passion and enthusiasm for ethical living. The Aldersgate group suggests the following key things that are vital in order to be a leader of the future in a sustainable economy:
- Systems thinkers - Systems thinking at all levels enables people to take a broad, holistic view thus enabling them to make connections, see possibilities and to adapt in response to feedback.
- Self-managers - Learners organise their own time, establish their own priorities and are able and willing to change in the light of feedback. They look actively for fresh opportunities and manage their own learning to be able to rise to new challenges.
- Creative innovators - No one has a monopoly on wisdom. As we explore the era post cheap oil and materials with its new and challenging predicaments, education and training aim to develop creative people who can reframe the way we think.
- Team workers, effective participators and empathetic colleagues - People are social beings and formal education empowers learners to be empathetic, to respect the views of others and to contribute their own views, knowledge and skills clearly and with confidence. They are able to work collaboratively and resolve disputes in which they are themselves a party.
- Highly adaptive - The future is unknown and 21st Century learners need to be flexible and to have wider strategies expanding their intelligence and for changing their habits of mind.
All of these qualities are transferable from a range of qualifications and educations. So, with some research it should be possible to find the right ethically focused role for you!
What can I do to better my chances?
- Volunteering - volunteering to help out a current ethical company or organisation is a great way to show your passion to any future employers. You will also gain experience in what it means to be part of an ethical organisation.
- Work experience - getting experience in the field you think you are interested in is the best way to figure out if that green career is for you. And remember the more work experience on your CV the better!!
- Starting your own initiative - all successful businesses stem from a good idea. Getting these ideas down and out into the world is a great way to connect with like-minded people and every new person is a contact! Blogging and Social Media are great ways to connect with people who share your green interests.
- Finding your place - all of these things will help you figure out where you fit into this ever-growing industry of ethical careers. Deciding whether you want to work for a local, national or global employer is something that is aided by research and experience, so get yourself out there!
- Building your CV - ultimately, having an interesting and full CV is something which will make you stand out when applying for positions. Check out this handy guide from The Guardian with tips on building your CV for an environmentally focused job!
Good luck in finding and getting your dream job in sustainability. Remember to keep an eye on the Ecojam Jobs Board for some great job and volunteer roles to get you started.