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This is a round-up of on-the-spot interviews with job seekers who attended the job fair at the Greenbuild Conference that is taking place this week. Attendees were asked what strategies were they using to land a green building job.
by Jessalyn Dingwell, Green Economy Post
On Tuesday, job seekers gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center in search of green jobs in the building industry. The US Green Building Council organized the job fair as a kick-off to the Greenbuild Conference. Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. Companies representing a wide variety of specialties, including, architecture, engineering, LEED consulting, and building waste management welcomed job seekers at the job fair.
The fair attracted job seekers from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, from college students testing the waters, to experienced executives searching for new adventures. All of the job seekers I spoke with emphasized the importance of finding appropriate, targeted groups and associations through which they could network and exchange information. Many people found the job fair provided a forum not just to submit a resume for a potential job, but also to form professional contacts with each other. A number of attendees owned their own small companies and were attending simply to gauge the green building market and get a better sense of the market. The following attendees shared their personal tips on searching for a green job.
John-BuggJohn takes a systematic and proactive approach and treats his job search like the outside sales position he hopes to find in the green building industry. He believes his LEED-NC certification is critical in finding a position but making the right contacts is trickier. Here is John’s tried and true strategy for making great networking contacts:
• Step one: Identify companies that are working on projects you are interested in regardless of whether or not they appear to be hiring.
• Step two: Contact someone at the identified companies. John said he rarely has a direct connection to someone in these organizations. Instead, he emails a contact introducing himself, letting them know why he finds the company interesting, and requesting an in-person discussion for more information about the company or industry. He does not ask for a job at this point! His goal is that through these connections he will find an unadvertised position or simply make a positive impression on a professional in his industry.
• Step three: Stay in touch. If he has a great conversation with someone at a company that doesn’t have any available positions at the time, he maintains contact with them. This way the contact will think of John he hears of a job opening.
Amrit Kaur. As a recent Carnegie Mellon graduate with a degree in Architecture, Amrit is searching for a job that will combine architecture, sustainability and construction. She spends a limited amount of time searching for opportunities online and believes her time is more efficiently spent at job fairs, even those that are more general in scope than the very focused Greenbuild fair. Also, part of her job search strategy was achieving the LEED-AP certification and networking through the American Society of Civil Engineers.
John Regan. John is a LEED AP with extensive experience in business development, primarily in the information technology industry. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work. John is truly passionate about green building techniques and he uses this passion to drive his job search. He finds a number of ways to demonstrate both his commitment and experience in green building, for instance, not just joining his local USBGC chapter, but actively contributing and serving on various committees.
Annie Fulton Annie is a junior in college who attended the job fair in search of a summer internship related to sustainable development policy. She has not found online internet searching useful and instead focuses on networking with family, professors, and friends. She thinks it is important to be flexible by searching for unpaid internships and internships that are outside her home state of Arkansas. Also, she is currently taking a class at the University of Arkansas designed to help students pass LEED accreditation tests.
Steve Watters. Steve has a background in sales management, with some history working in the construction industry. He limits his online job searching to sites that focuses exclusively on job seekers with a high level of experience such as the TheLadders.com. He is also working with a recruiter. Steve’s primary search strategy is networking through formal groups such as the Executives Network and the Southwest Jobs Network and informal networking through a variety of volunteer organizations
Clea Senneville. Clea recently graduated from Arizona State University’s Master’s Program in Sustainability. She has carefully tailored her job search to reflect her thesis in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of social enterprises. She works with a mentor to network and keeps in touch with professors and students she worked with in school. Recently, Clea contacted someone for an informational interview and she ended up providing valuable information for the interviewee. This rewarding experience helps her think of networking as an exchange of ideas and information on both sides, not simply one person asking for help and giving nothing in return.
Christina Lerner. Christina is LEED AP and an experienced small business owner, with a diverse background that includes work as a compliance and project manager in the construction, casino and retail sectors, as well as work as a contractor, painter. She is keeping close tabs on the most valuable certifications in the green building industry. As current rater for Build It Green, Christina uses this experience get a sense of the jobs that might fit with her current skill set. She performs HERS home energy ratings and is gauging the market to determine the tradeoffs between working for herself or joining a company.
Recommended Green Career Resources:
SIX STRATEGIES TO FIND YOUR GREEN CAREER – This free ebook by Carol McClelland PhD is a step-by-step process helping green career seekers use their passions, interests, experience, and training to plug into the green economy.
THE COMPLETE GREEN JOB GUIDE 2009: SECRETS FOR GETTING THE JOB YOUR WANT – Discover How To Unlock The Booming Green Economy For Your Job Search And Future Financial Security with the 10 Breakthrough Steps You Need To Know To Find And Land A Green Job Quickly.
CLEANTECHIES RESUME AND COVER LETTER WRITING SERVICE – Cleantechies help job seekers ease the transition from mainstream to Cleantech. Learn More!
© 2009, Jessalyn Dingwell. All rights reserved. Do not republish.
Author: Jessalyn Dingwell (13 Articles)
Jessalyn Dingwell is an attorney and Green Building aficionado living in Washington, DC. A daring high school science fair project involving solar energy, an incredible amount of copper tubing, and a precarious rooftop fueled her lifelong curiosity and passion for renewable energy sources and building energy-efficiency. Jessalyn serves on several committees at the Women's Council on Energy and the Environment and frequently contributes to the Council's Water Committee programming. Prior to law school, she spent several years at the Corporate Executive Board providing marketing best practices to Fortune 500 companies in the US, then managing the European team based in London. Feel free to contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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