Applying for a green job that’s not a good fit, lack of focus, applying to companies that don’t have openings, and asking everyone you meet if they know of any job openings, are four ways to sabotage your green job search.

by Carol McClelland, PhD, author of Green Careers For Dummies and Founder of Green Career CentralJoin Carol to discuss your job search and learn how to get more interviews and land a job at her  f-r-e-e teleclass “4 Foolproof Strategies to Boost Your Green Job Search Results” on Wednesday, December 8th.   Carol is also hosting Take Charge of Your Green Job Search – 5 Week Interactive Bootcamp to Move You into Action that is designed to teach you how to get multiple job offers.  The bootcamp starts on December 10.

You are in the midst of your green job search. You are obtaining a relevant lead here and there, but you aren’t gaining much traction.

You can’t give up, but there are certainly times you aren’t sure how to move forward.

1. You scan green job boards for job openings.

If you are finding positions that are a good fit for your skills, excellent! Apply.

If you are tempted to apply for a green job that’s not a good fit, take a moment to evaluate your actions. Are you applying to the job because you see a unique way your skills are relevant?

Or are you saying to yourself, “I could do that.” Or “I wouldn’t mind doing that job?” Although you may think a job is a job, this approach is actually sabotaging your success. Without your unique talents to pull you to the top of the list, it’s no wonder you aren’t getting much response from your application. You have put yourself in the middle of the heap.

The hiring team can tell you aren’t qualified, you are completely over qualified, or you aren’t what they are looking for at all.

2. You’ve got to cast a wide net to find a green job.

If you are targeting multiple job functions and industries in an effort to find a job, your lack of focus may be having a negative impact on your job search.

All of your job search activities are scattered. It’s likely you feel unfocused and a bit frantic that you aren’t making progress.

Your experience, education, and talents put you in the position to perform certain jobs better than others. The key to focus is targeting the job that you are best qualified to fulfill.

3. When companies don’t have any openings, you take them off your target list.

You want a job so it seems to make sense to invest your efforts on companies with current job openings. Unfortunately, jobs listed on the company’s Web site are already attracting a large number of applicants. With this amount of competition, it’s going to be hard to get the job.

Remember, just because a company doesn’t have an opening today doesn’t mean they never will! Every day people leave their jobs. Sometimes it’s for personal reasons such as declining health, retirement, maternity leave, and relocating. Others make a professional transition to as a result of a promotion, lateral move, or a transfer.  Any of these changes creates an unexpected job opening!

Keep your focus on companies that match your interests, values, and passions, rather than on the companies with current openings. Connect with people within your target companies so that you are in a prime position to act quickly when relevant opportunities do open up.

4. You ask everyone you meet if they know of any job openings.

It seems like such an obvious strategy. When you need a job, you ask for what you want.

Unfortunately, this strategy tends to shut down conversations more than it opens up job opportunities. Your contacts are happy to share what they know about their profession, the industry, and their company. But when it comes to giving you leads to job openings they don’t feel comfortable when they don’t have a way to help you find a job.

Think of it from your contacts’ point of view. They are more than happy to talk about their profession, the industry, and future trends as they see them. But the minute it becomes clear you are looking for a job right now, they feel pressured to come up with some way to help you.

Your best strategy is to focus on collecting information from people you meet. Avoid asking about job leads. Focusing on building mutual relationships with people who share your interests will pay off in additional referrals for months, if not years, to come.

Ultimately these contacts will send you information to you about possible job leads and opportunities.

So What Are You to Do?

To boost your job search results, it’s time to take a more proactive approach.

•    Clarify your target – get as clear as you can about the green career that leverages your skills, experience, and passions.

•    Shift your focus from finding job openings to building mutually beneficial relationships with people who share your interests and focus.

•    Act on opportunities to demonstrate your value within your target industry. At first these opportunities may seem minor – a referral to a volunteer opportunity, a lead to a networking group, or an industry-specific book or report – but, if you say yes to these opportunity, you’ll find they are stepping stones to more substantial opportunities.

Embarking on a proactive job search changes you! Getting known and involved in your industry increases your confidence, your visibility, and your ability to attract the attention of key players and hiring managers in your target industry.

Join Carol to discuss your job search and learn how to get more interviews and land a job at her  f-r-e-e teleclass “4 Foolproof Strategies to Boost Your Green Job Search Results” on Wednesday, December 8th.   Carol is also hosting Take Charge of Your Green Job Search – 5 Week Interactive Bootcamp to Move You into Action that is designed to teach you how to use proactive job search strategies to accelerate your job search results and gain more confidence, more referrals, and multiple job offers. The bootcamp starts on December 10.

© 2010 – 2011, Carol Mcclelland. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Carol Mcclelland (4 Articles)

Carol McClelland, PhD, author of Green Careers For Dummies, is one of the nation’s leading green career experts. Throughout her career, Carol has helped thousands of people find work that matches their values and interests. Green Careers For Dummies is designed to be a resource for finding your fit in an environmentally responsible job for both those looking to make a career change and recent college graduates. In addition to writing Green Careers For Dummies, Carol is the Founder and Executive Director of Green Career Central. This 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. Follow Carol on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/carolmcclelland or become a fan on her Facebook page.

  • Patrick Kitchen

    Great article. As a first year MBA interested in entering the Clean-Tech industry, I currently find myself in this position. Thank you for the advice.