by Moira Srago, M.A.
It seems like the green industry and green jobs are the buzz words on everyone’s lips lately. We see it in the newspaper and in the mainstream media – this is where the jobs are, or this is where the jobs are going to be. But what exactly is a green job and how do you find one?
Through this post I will speak broadly about green careers, but if you want more information, check out the upcoming Technical Careers in A Green Economy Panel or attend one of the panels during Sustainability Week.
What is a green job?
Jim Cassio, author of The Green Career Resource Guide and Clean Energy and Green Building Careers defines green jobs as “jobs that are focused on sustainability and/or environmental protection and preservation. A green job can be defined either by the nature and purpose of the job, or by the nature and purpose of the employer. Green jobs include jobs of all levels of education, skill and experience.”
So what exactly does this mean? This means that someone who may be working as a Sustainability Director or in solar research for a large technical company like HP or Applied Materials could be considered to have a green job. Or, someone who is working as an HR Representative for an organization like the Environmental Protection Agency could also be considered to have a green job. Green Jobs aren’t just for one major, and don’t only exist working for environmental companies.
I want a green job! How do I find one?
Finding a green job is not that different from finding a job in another industry. This blog post from the Green Collar Blog talks about the different strategies you can use to find a green job – job boards, networking and going directly to an organization’s website, and looking forward to see what jobs will be developing in the future by following new laws or funding, and watching for start- up organizations. We have resources right here in the Career Center to help you with all three of these strategies.
Job Boards: Did you know that many green companies or companies with green Jobs post on SpartaJobs? Companies like Bloom Energy, Silver Springs Network, HP, Applied Materials and the EPA recruit SJSU students through Spartajobs. Log in and check them out! Want a listing of additional job boards? Check out the Green and Clean Technology Resource Sheet on our website for links to other job search boards and resources about green and clean jobs.
Networking: There are so many different ways to network both on and off campus to get to know people in this industry. Attend a Career Fair or an Information Session. Check out the student organizations both for your major and for your area of interest – these often have employer or alumni speakers at their meetings. This is both an opportunity for you to get more information, as well as get in front of someone who may have a job or an internship.
Do any of your classmates have internships with a green company or a company that might have a green job of interest to you? Do you have any family members, or does any of your family or friends know anyone who might have a green job or work for a green company that you can Informational Interview about their company or their job? What about alumni? Not ready to network in person yet? There are hundreds of groups through LinkedIn and other social media outlets that will allow you to network on-line.
Follow the startups and the funding: Reading industry trade publications and the newspaper helps you to see where the venture capital investing is happening, as well as where federal and state dollars are being spent. Check out the Mercury News, Silicon Valley Business Journal, or greenbiz.com as places to start.
Regardless of your approach, keep in mind that this industry is rapidly evolving – information is changing every day! This means that you will need to be flexible and creative in your job search. Use multiple strategies to ensure your success – and don’t forget to check out the Career Center if you need help with any aspect of your search! That’s what we’re here for.
Moira Srago, M.A.
Moira is the Employment Specialist in the Career Center for the College of Engineering and the College of Science. She has a background in Human Resources and has been working in the field of Career Development since 2007. Her areas of specialty include resume building, job search, and interviewing. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and Masters in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development from Santa Clara University.