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Four Tips for Breaking into the Green-Collar Job Market

We already told you which green jobs are sure to solar-charge your career. Now, here’s how to smartly plunge into the green-collar job market, with tips from SustainLane Media CEO James Elsen.

Four Tips for Breaking into the Green-Collar Job Market

Green entrepreneur. Solar-power installer. Urban planner. These are just some of the top green jobs for that next decade that we already told you would solar-charge your career. But how can you smartly plunge into the green-collar job market? First step might be to pop over to SustainLane.com, a green living Web guide with 25 million users. A newly launched green job board there iss already attracting 100+ listings each week across several industries. We spoke with the site’s CEO, James Elsen, to get more tips on making the transition to a green career.

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Remember No One Is an Expert
“Don’t worry about starting at the bottom,” Elsen says. “You’re never going to have another opportunity in your career where the bottom is so close to the top. Someone with three years of solar experience right now is a foremost expert in the country!”

Get Ready to Learn
“We’re about the experience the greatest renaissance in product development that we’ve ever seen in our lifetime. For every job like photovoltaic engineer, there are eight to ten jobs that are needed to support that. Some people have anxieties about entering a new industry, but it’s also very exciting. It’s a thrilling place to be, if you like to learn. In terms of getting job training, we hear so much about four-year schools but really community colleges have some of the best opportunities for retraining and job skills.”

Opt for Nimble Over Name-Recognition
“You’ll have the greatest acceleration in your career growth at a company that’s taking the green movement seriously, as opposed to a company that still has green as a sideline. There’s a high probability that the winners are going to be companies that no one’s even heard of yet, like Better Place. They’re the ones that are going to be exploding in the next five to ten years, around energy and transportation.”

Take the Green Temp at the Top
“If a green commitment isn’t coming from the very top, it’s not going to happen. Pay attention from the moment you arrive. If you go into a meeting and they hand you a Styrofoam cup, that’s the wrong company. Do they have recharging stations for electric cars in the parking lot? What kind of lighting is in the building? The company isn’t at the point of taking it seriously until being green is operational and the Green Czar is reporting to the CFO, not the CSR person. And no amount of marketing material or website fluff is ever going to replace an honest Q&A during the interview. Ask what the company’s green priorities are, its view of the new green-washing rules, and how it’s trying to position itself to not be perceived as a green-washer.”

[Image credits: Flickr; SustainLane]

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