Green jobs have tripled! So how can you land one?


Installing solar panels isn't the only way to work for a cleaner planet. (Photo: OregonDOT via Flickr/Creative Commons)

“Green jobs,” or jobs that touch on environmental sustainability in some way, are up, according to…our website! So how can you land one?

We recently spoke with New York Times reporter Austin Considine, whose piece Green Jobs Attract Graduates was published last weekend:

Amelia Byers, operations director for…said the number of jobs related to environmental work has roughly tripled in the last three years. “A lot of new graduates are coming out of a world where volunteerism and service has been something that has helped define their generation,” she said. “Finding a job with meaning is an important value to them.”

After we shared the article, the folks at Sacandaga Consulting tweeted back: “@idealist What tips would you give/what experience is needed for people looking to find a green job?

Good question. Here are some ideas…

Set yourself up for success.

Try some of the exercises in our free online Career Center and, if you’re looking specifically at the nonprofit sector, our Guides to Nonprofit Careers. Get really clear on the type of work you’re looking for, and prepare for interviews, salary and benefits negotiations, and success on the job.

Demonstrate your interest.

In Recent Graduates Head for Green Jobs, a response to the Times article, blogger Amelia T. writes: “The worry, for me, is that “sustainability” will become so ubiquitous that it means nothing at all, another way for people to feel as though they’re doing something altruistic without much of an actual impact.”

Do smart searching!

Do you have additional tips or resources? Please share!

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Green Jobs for Non-Scientists

The Green New Deal. The Green Recovery. The Clean Energy Economy. Recently, it seems everywhere you turn, you hear buzzwords related to green jobs. Many people are banking on green jobs being the cure-all for the trifecta of challenges we’re facing — a slumping global economy, the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and climate change.

Watching President-elect Obama’s most recent Weekly Address on his plan for job creation in the U.S. over the next two years, I wondered what jobs specifically will be created in the new green economy. Obama spoke of “building wind farms and solar panels, fuel efficient cars, and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil.” Sounds pretty great…but what exactly are the jobs, and do you need to be a scientist or engineer to get them?

According to a recent report by the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, as many as 5 million jobs may be created in the transition to a low carbon economy — and not just in the core industries such as renewable energy, but also in “traditional areas such as construction trades, pipefitting and electrical jobs,” and the supporting industries.

Still, what about those of us who aren’t in manufacturing? I recently downloaded the free “6 Strategies to Find Your Green Career” report, available to members of Green Career Central (membership is free). The report’s list of green jobs helped to expand my definition of what it means to have a green career. Aside from the usual suspects of environmental science, renewable energy, conservation, and green building, the report highlights other careers ranging from software developers and web designers to grant administrators and public relations managers, from fashion designers to event planners, and from health professionals to videographers.

A search on Idealist today turns up 176 jobs in Energy Conservation and Green Living, ranging from an Outreach Coordinator to Director of Training to Writer/Editor to Accounting Clerk.

And even if the organization you work for doesn’t have “Eco” in its name or an endangered animal in its logo, you can still have an impact by greening your home and workplace. A Greener Perspective has some great tips to get you started.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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