This four-part series on Sustainability careers is written for new graduates and young professionals with fresh ideas, ample energy and a social awareness. It is also for established professionals outside sustainability who’ve become disenchanted with business’s disregard of basic societal needs.
How can you be part of the solution?
Part 3: How to find a job in sustainability
The challenge to finding a job in sustainability is that many career tracks do not have Sustainability in the title. You must dig into job descriptions for key words like Life Cycle Assessment, Supply Chain, SDGs and others you can learn by taking CSE’s free online course The future of the sustainability profession: Current trends and how to find a sustainability (CSR) job.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Identify your own interests! Nearly every company needs a sustainability professional in some capacity. What do you like to do? What companies do that kind of work? CSE on LinkedIn and Facebook are good places to start.
Network – like it or not, this is a tried and true way to get any job. Go to city council meetings, alumni association or activist groups. Call your parents, your college professor, the boss you had one summer in high school. Ask them “who should I talk to about a job in sustainability?” Whatever answer you get, follow-up!
Investigate the sustainability challenges in your community (or the community where you want to work). Which companies or organizations are helping meet those challenges? Give them a call. Offer to volunteer or intern. This could lead to a job or help expand the always-important network.
Scan job boards — not the black hole you think. First, you might actually find a job. Second, you’ll learn which industries are hiring. Third, you’ll pick up on the titles associated with sustainability tasks. If you enter the word sustainability and five jobs appear in customer service, zoom in on key words and use them to expand your search. The next round might pull up jobs in HR, Communications or Operations.
Tell everyone. Tell every single person you encounter that you are looking for a job in sustainability. Post it on your social networks. Mention it at the birthday party of a friend of a friend. If you get a lead – follow up immediately. More importantly, you’re honing your ability to describe what you want. This will help refine your search and polish your pitch when you get the inevitable interview!
CSE helps professionals advance their careers through certified on-site and group training services globally as well as the online Sustainability Academy. CSE is a recognized global leader in professional Sustainability training and coaching and one of the first to recognize the growing need for advanced certified education in the sustainability field. The Sustainability Academy is CSE’s global initiative to offer affordable, specialized, online education focused on Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility. Our goal is to train 100,000 professionals by 2020 and make an impact on our planet!