If you’ve decided your lifelong dream is to work in the green tech industry but aren’t sure where to start, here are some sure-fire tips to get you headed in the right direction.
The first thing you need to do is determine what, if any, formal higher education is required to pursue your dream job. It’s possible to get by in some sections of green tech without a college degree, but those jobs aren’t plentiful. It’s far wiser to pick up a degree in computer science or engineering before (or as) you start to look for a job in a technical field, particularly one that’s advancing as rapidly as green tech. You may never need that diploma, but it might also give you the advantage over someone who doesn’t have one at all.
Network your face off
The harsh reality of the job market in any industry these days is that landing a job often just boils down to who you know. Employers are less likely to take a chance on an unknown quantity over someone who at least somebody in the company has personal knowledge about. Join LinkedIn, get out to industry-specific Meetups, and attend every in-person networking opportunity you can find. Don’t overlook the importance of building your online reputation as well. Twitter and Google+ in particular are great ways to get noticed and interact with the very community where you’re trying to find work.
Age is only a number
If you’re second-guessing yourself because you’re not a freshly-scrubbed college aged kid, don’t worry. Yes, some companies prefer to employ people just out of college because they’ll typically work for a lower wage but many businesses realize that there is tremendous value in the wisdom of a seasoned professional. Also, if you’ve been working anywhere near the tech industry in the last two decades, you’ve watched green tech take shape from its infancy and companies know they can’t put a price tag on that kind of knowledge base.
You’ll vastly increase your hiring appeal if you’re willing to relocate for the right job. Traditionally the hottest green tech job markets have been in California, Colorado, Texas, and the upper East Coast. If you don’t want to uproot yourself and gamble on a new location without a job offer in hand, then let potential employers know upfront you’re willing to come to them. Be warned though, relocation packages aren’t as abundant as they used to be so you’ll probably be expected to foot the bill when you hit the road.
BYOJ (Bring Your Own Job)
If you’ve exhausted all these avenues and you still can’t land the job you want, consider going into business for yourself. If you’re up for the challenge of manufacturing your own products, consider giving crowdfunding a whirl. If you don’t want to be that hands-on, hire yourself out as a green tech consultant helping companies and business owners reach their goals.
Are you trying to land a job in green tech or working in the industry already? Share your tips and tricks for finding the perfect job in the comments below.