5 steps for getting employed in a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ sustainability job market

Charles Dickens wasn’t referring to company sustainability when he wrote: “It was one of the best of instances, it was the worst of instances.” But this describes the state of the sustainability job market. Regardless of loads of individuals shedding their jobs and lots of job seekers struggling to seek out work, many firms proceed to rent and face difficulties in doing so; looking “sustainability” on Certainly and different job websites turns up a whole bunch of open roles.

“What we’re seeing within the sustainability job market proper now could be very Jekyll and Hyde,” mentioned Ellen Weinreb, managing director at Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting. “Persons are being laid off, but it looks as if everyone seems to be beginning a brand new job.” 

Maybe this displays the peculiar unevenness of each company sustainability and the present financial local weather. Sustainability is, in spite of everything, not a sector however a enterprise operate. However not like with the accounting or authorized departments, not all firms view sustainability as mission-critical.

“Regardless of how far we’ve include the monetary markets realizing how sustainability and ESG ship higher funding returns, when there’s a down market, the very first thing to be reduce is commonly company sustainability groups,” mentioned Shannon Houde, a profession and govt coach at Stroll of Life Teaching. 

Be this as it might, continued stakeholder calls for and looming SEC laws in america received’t enable firms to get away with sustainability cuts for lengthy. Whereas some firms have tightened their sustainability budgets through the present financial downturn, sufficient stay dedicated to advancing their sustainability and ESG methods. 

Whereas it’s tough to seek out knowledge about simply what number of firms have let go of sustainability and social influence workers in 2023 thus far, anecdotally it’s noticeable. The beleaguered tech sector has seen mass layoffs at Salesforce, Meta, Lyft and Amazon, amongst others — together with many individuals working in ESG, sustainability or social influence. In my work to assist people in-between influence jobs, I’ve heard from individuals who have been laid off from Disney, Moody’s, Dutch Bros Espresso and even sustainability golden youngster Unilever.

In the event you’ve just lately misplaced your job in company sustainability, you aren’t alone. Listed here are some sensible steps on find out how to get again in your ft.

1. Keep engaged within the sustainability neighborhood

Simply since you misplaced your job doesn’t imply you are now not a company sustainability skilled. But shedding employment could make one really feel aimless. However constructing a routine to remain engaged within the sustainability neighborhood is vital to discovering your subsequent gig — each virtually and for sustaining motivation. 

Be part of native or digital networking occasions targeted on sustainability to remain related with buddies and colleagues. Keep present with sustainability information and tendencies by studying your favourite e-newsletter (maybe one from GreenBiz) — to proceed to really feel a part of the “company sustainability world.” Hearken to sustainability careers podcasts, such because the Environmental Protection Fund’s Levels.

“I find time for experiences which have managed and anticipated outcomes,” mentioned Ashley Scott, laid off from her ESG job at Catalyze, a business and industrial renewable vitality developer. “If I comply with the instructions for find out how to bake a cake and add in a directed period of time, then I’ll find yourself with a cake. The job search is nothing like that — it’s unpredictable and emotionally draining — so I attempt to discover a stability between experiences with outcomes I can and may’t management.”

2. Know the place to look and don’t be deterred by ‘unicorn’ job descriptions

One of many largest frustrations for sustainability job seekers is the truth that many job descriptions appear to be on the lookout for candidates with the proper credentials: years of business and sustainability expertise, superior levels and extra. Don’t let it deter you; few people working in sustainability have expertise that completely matches their job description.   

“I all the time say that you probably have three years of confirmed work expertise in company sustainability, know most of those frameworks and requirements and have the abilities they’re requiring, you need to nonetheless apply,” mentioned Houde.

While you’re sure to face rejection within the sustainability job search, it could actually typically be a profitable tactic to use for a job you aren’t excellent for. You by no means know. 

In fact, you additionally have to know the place to search for these jobs. Some nice locations embrace Ed’s Clear Power & Sustainability Job Checklist, Reconsidered’s Affect Jobs Hub, the Inexperienced Jobs Board, and even GreenBiz’s Sustainability Job Board. LinkedIn additionally is a superb useful resource for locating jobs, as people in our neighborhood usually share open roles of their feeds. You can also study extra in regards to the profession journeys of others, and different helpful sustainability careers recommendations on my Affect Employed Useful resource Hub.

3. Construct connections, not contacts  

Many sustainability jobs are crammed earlier than they even materialize as a proper posting. Realizing as many individuals as potential in the suitable locations is vital for studying about and being thought-about for these roles. Networking is vital. And whereas you ought to be networking the entire time — even when you’re gainfully employed — doubling down whereas in between jobs is essential.

The issue with networking whereas job looking is that you simply all the time shall be suspected of “solely wanting to speak to get one thing.” The strongest and deepest relationships kind while you join with out anticipating something in return. That being mentioned, job seekers can discover each in-person and digital methods to develop their networks authentically. Give attention to the method fairly than the end result. Attempt to join on specific sustainability topics that curiosity you, comparable to circularity, ESG, local weather tech and so forth, fairly than on the lookout for generic profession recommendation.  

LinkedIn is the best networking instrument created — it’s like being at a perpetual skilled convention minus the completely happy hour. Schedule time every day to spend there interacting along with your community by liking and commenting on fascinating posts from sustainability influencers and folks working in industries you have an interest in. And don’t be afraid to make posts of your individual, resharing fascinating content material or making observations about present occasions in sustainability. Who is aware of — it’s possible you’ll turn into an influencer your self. Additionally, assume twice earlier than altering your banner to the inexperienced “Open to work” banner, as there’s some proof that this would possibly really harm your trigger. 

4. Outline your private sustainability story and ‘superpower’

Success in a company sustainability profession means forming a private model that present and future employers can join with. As a result of many sustainability roles are altering constantly, one of the best fixed is your skilled story. Begin from inside. Spend time writing down the important thing factors of your sustainability journey thus far, together with what you in a profession on this area, vital roles you’ve had and what you realized, and the influence you hope to have.

When you’ve carried out this, slim your focus to outline your sustainability tremendous energy. This might be something from knowledge evaluation to communication and ESG reporting to GHG inventorying. You would possibly take into account beginning a weblog to generate content material about your particular space of focus. Or, there’s all the time trusty LinkedIn, the place you’ll be able to each weblog and create brief posts exhibiting your curiosity and understanding of a sustainability topic. 

In an unsure sustainability job market, those that can efficiently place themselves as specialists are profitable out, based on Weinreb. Many candidates she’s working with are getting a number of gives — usually for roles requiring some sort of specialization, comparable to ESG reporting, internet zero technique or Scope 3 expertise. Weinreb advises generalists on the lookout for new roles to slim their focus and the way they body their expertise. 

5. Hold going regardless of the setbacks 

Discovering a job in sustainability is tough even throughout one of the best of financial climates, and you will fail alongside the best way. If you work in company sustainability, the truth that this can be a calling and never only a profession entangles our private {and professional} identities. We really feel a part of a broader motion to make use of the ability of enterprise for addressing the local weather disaster and different social and environmental issues. However when our firm now not needs or wants us, it shakes our world. 

Keep in mind that you aren’t the primary particular person to have misplaced a job — a few of the most profitable individuals on the earth have been laid off or fired in some unspecified time in the future of their profession. 

“In the event you’ve by no means been scared, felt rejected or confronted a room with everybody telling you ‘no,’ you are probably not taking the dangers you need to,” Angela Chang, a management and profession coach, just lately advised me. “Keep in mind that the sensation of failure does not imply you are a failure. It means you’ve got opened a door to one thing higher. Hold going.”

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