How to Land a Green-Collar Job

Show what you know. Summarize your findings on green trends and technologies into a section on your resume or in a one-page addendum.


In a recent column, I tackled the question: ” What Exactly Is a Green-Collar Job? ” Now, let’s take a look at what it takes to land a job focused on environmentally sustainable resources, whether or not you already have “green experience.”

While the list of established green companies is a short one, many companies are making the transition to sustainable practices, and start-ups are on the rise.

So what sectors are growing within the green economy?

Renewable energy: These are industries you’ve heard everyone talking about: solar; wind; geothermal; wave (oceans); and low-impact hydro (low-impact dams that do not impede water flow). Biofuels also represent hot opportunities, including corn ethanol, algae, and organic and man-made waste products.

Environmental: These are companies aimed at maximizing efficiencies from seasonal climate change, wildlife management and natural-resource allocation.

Clean tech: The focus here is on creating superior performance from any existing product or service while reducing or eliminating ecological damage and improving the use of natural resources. This is not so much a specific industry but an umbrella category that covers a broad range of products and services that are being redesigned “green.”

Smart grid: Our current electrical infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating. New “smart-grid” systems will be far more energy efficient, so any manufacturer or supplier that is key to the infrastructure and is enhancing its systems is a prime target for job seekers. Some of the newer systems are still in the future, but the technology is in progress, and new companies are forming to address these needs.

Other green industries: A quick short list:

  • Buildings with energy-efficient construction and heating and cooling systems
  • IT (data centers currently use way to much energy)
  • Water management (drinking and waste).

So let’s now look at what actions you can take to land a job in the green economy.

First thing’s first: Read up. There is an old saying that goes: “If you read three books on any one topic, you will know more than 90 percent of the world on that topic.” When you highlight that “knowledge” on your resume, you become very green marketable. Take classes and research voraciously.

Then, remember to aim. Narrow in on companies that are working with up-and-coming technologies and have a need for someone like you. Learn what they are doing in green activities and tell them about your expertise in this field.

Finally, time for more research, but your efforts will be rewarded. Once you understand those technologies, you can put a section on your resume that might be titled: “Knowledge of Green Technologies.”

When you’ve soaked up all there is to know, summarize what you’ve learned. Here is an out-of-the-box strategy that will set you apart from all other job seekers. Attach a document to your resume that highlights your green knowledge. It might be titled something like: “Incorporating Green into Your Business to Generate Profitable Green Dollars.” Include four to six short paragraphs with subheadings that focus on what you have learned. It will be a powerful document that will open green doors of opportunity.

So what are you waiting for? Start now to build your knowledge base and make that green transition.