Environmental Jobs: Top Mistakes When Searching for a Green Job

The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder graduate program offeres graduate degrees in several areas including courses in Real Estate & Sustainability.
The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder offers graduate degrees in several areas including courses in Real Estate & Sustainability.

Job searching is one of the most laborious tasks we ever could endure, and in our still-struggling economy, the process hasn’t become any less tough or competitive. If you truly are vying for an environmental job in today’s economy, you have two challenges to face: (1) Many people just like you are desperate for a job, so hiring managers have their pick; and (2) Many people just like you are being drawn to environmental jobs because of their reputation for being in a high-growth green industry and providing job satisfaction. After all, you are helping your world, and who wouldn’t feel good about this bigger purpose?

These are some of the top mistakes made when pursuing an environmental job.

Applying Everywhere and to Anyone

If you are looking for an environmental job, do not just think that adjusting the date of your cover letter and shipping your resume and generic cover letter off to 10 different companies will do the trick. In the green environmental jobs industry, hiring managers can tell whether you truly are interested in working for their companies are whether your cover letter reads more like a general appeal to give you a first interview. Make sure that whatever green work experience you have in another sector of the green industry is tailored to your green environmental job company. For instance, don’t necessarily go on and on about your experience with doing office work in the environmental ecology area when you are applying for a job doing field work in the green area of fisheries science. Be specific on how you can meet that specific company’s needs.

Not Making Personal Connections

We’ve all heard that it is all about who you know these days in the job search process, and in the environmental job world, this especially is true. Try to get to know people who work in environmental jobs – even if it is via a social blog or a job shadowing opportunity – and then encourage them to pitch the idea of getting their hiring managers to make time to speak with you. Hiring managers are more willing to take time to talk to and to take interest in someone who has been recommended by their peers rather than someone who randomly calls or walks into the business off the street. Companies are flooded with applications and resumes in the high-demand environmental industry, so you need to make yourself stand out through the help of an environmental job employer’s colleague who already has an “in.”

Emphasizing Too Much About Your Environmental Passion

It’s true that people wouldn’t enter the environmental job field if they truly were passionate about it. So why keep hammering the point that you are passionate about the industry in your cover letter? It’s a phrase that is so often used in this line of work that it is so overused and has lost its appeal. Hiring managers don’t want to read that you are passionate. They want to see how exactly you are passionate – what have you done in the past to help the environment in both your job setting and in your personal life, and what are your goals over the next five years if you happen to claim a job with the company? Actions truly do speak louder than words in the environmental job search process.

By YaShekia King

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