Certainly industries that are getting a lot of media attention, including solar energy, wind, battery storage, smart grid, alternative transportation and green building, add fuel to this conclusion.
But, to succeed, the companies in these industries must have a management and operations team that includes people with communications, management, financial, operations, sales, and service experience.
One caveat: Companies hire people in these functions when they are ready to scale up to fulfill orders and capture more market share.
If the companies within your target industry are in an R&D or start up phase, their hiring emphasis will be focused on the talent that has the technical, scientific, and hands on skills to bring their product / service to market.
Keep tracking developments within the industry and your target companies to know when your skills and expertise will be needed.
Careers Growing and Supporting the Green Economy
In addition to the technical, management, and operations positions, there are several categories that play a critical role in creating demand for the products, services, and resources developed by industries within the green economy.
1. Shaping the Green Economy
As the green economy evolves, a number of factors—from finances, policies, regulations, and laws--play a role in establishing the cornerstones that define how companies and industries function more sustainably.
You can use your expertise to shape the green economy if you have a background in finance, law, policy, regulation, compliance, activism, advocacy, and lobbying. With these skills, you can work within the government, non-profits, NGOs, think-tanks or corporations.
2. Educating, Inspiring, Motivating and Persuading
The second part of increasing demand for green products and services is helping people, groups, organizations, and communities see the value in taking greener, cleaner, more sustainable actions.
- If you have a background in teaching or environmental science, you may take on the role of educating people about environmental issues or sustainability.
- If you are a writer, expressive artist, or member of the media, your work can inspire and move people to look at their lives and work in a different way.
- With a marketing or sales background, you can motivate and persuade people through your work.
- As a sustainability consultant, your role is to educate, inspire, motivate, and persuade your clients—whether homeowners, companies, communities—to take more informed actions.
3. Green Services and Experiences
Another category of careers for people with non-technical skills is related to the industries that provide customers with a service that’s both green and sustainable.
- Think green restaurants, lodging, and spas.
- Another angle is to consider green event planning from weddings to large-scale corporate conferences.
- Other services in this category include cleaning companies from dry-cleaners to janitorial companies.
To prepare for any of these careers you must have strength and depth in your professional function whether it’s management, finance, marketing, sales, law, communications, or operations. In addition you must develop your knowledge of your target industry through reading books, tracking developments through the blogs, and taking courses. To enhance your chances of getting hired, find opportunities to gain industry-relevant work experience through volunteer gigs or short-term project work.
© Copyright, 2010, Carol McClelland. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Carol McClelland, PhD, is the author of Green Careers For Dummies and the Founder and Executive Director of Green Career Central, a full-service online resource center dedicated to providing career guidance, coaching, and resources to clarify the ever-evolving world of green career possibilities for professionals, students, and career counselors. For more information, visit Green Career Central.