Job seekers, chin up! You are not alone. You have company, but you’ll need to have some tenacity because Q1 2009 will not provide you with many easy opportunities. If you are keen on getting a job in renewable energy and you don’t have any experience or situational awareness…. then you had better start getting some or else the 300 former Optisolar employees will get your gig. Optisolar’s struggle to find additional financing is not unique. In the Bay Area companies that received funding with the expectation of raising another round in late ‘08 early ‘09 will continue to slash their burn rate by going through the painful process of off loading expensive and experienced workers that they painstakingly researched, hired and trained in previous months.
If you check out our open events calendar and you’ll likely find some interesting events going on in your area – including two sustainability and cleantech focused business plans being held on 28 February 2009.
A few months ago at the culmination of another business plan competition Steven Vasallo of Foundation Capital reminded an audience that “a crisis was a terrible thing to waste.” It is no secret that the economy’s immediate future doesn’t look particularly strong through Q3 2009. Many job seekers are finding the same disheartening response when they apply or speak to would be employers.
In Vol. I on the subject I described the US Green Building Council’s LEED AP (Accredited Professional) certification program, and my plan to become LEED AP certified to strengthen my sustainability credentials and to help guide the renovation of my historic opera house to LEED Gold status. Well, I just took the LEED AP exam….and passed!
I was at a drinks party last night and in conversation was asked what I did so I explained that I worked with Clean Tech businesses. To which I was introduced to the next group as an expert, which got me worried, very worried.
The very definition of what is an “expert” can be is somewhat confusing, Wikipedia for example describes it as part of its definition as:
Which automatically begs the question, so who is an average person?”
In my first post of this series I described the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, and how individuals looking for a clean tech career should consider LEED AP certification to broaden and document their understanding of sustainability issues, and to stand out among otherwise equally-qualified candidates.
LEED provides sustainable design guidelines and a point-based rating system for various compliance levels including Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. With demand soaring for LEED-based solutions, a growing market opportunity clearly exists for individuals who can help design, build, commission and operate resource-efficient facilities and communities. Only you can determine if LEED AP certification is in your best interest or relevant for a clean tech career. But I can attest to thinking more broadly about RE, EE, environmental and worker productivity issues having started this journey.
Welcome to my journey. I am pursuing LEED Professional Accreditation (LEED AP) to increase my sustainability knowledge base, to help guide my restoration of an historic opera house and to improve my chances of landing a green collar job after 20 years in high tech – despite an economy on life support and a sea of job seekers. Anyone interested in cleantech, efficiency, sustainability or the environment can benefit from formal LEED certification as it integrates these critical and frequently separate elements into a practical whole, and enables you to think more systematically about each as well. A LEED AP is generally recognized as an expert in the field of sustainable design and could add significant value to a “cleantech” career. And, perhaps that LEED certification may help you get that coveted green collar job.
More Online Resources:
Network, network… and then network some more. Go to conferences to learn and meet smart people that can expand your horizons – and don’t be focused on just this job. Eventually they will be contacts you can need for whatever job you end up in, if you keep that in mind you’ll be giving as much as receiving in the social interchange.
Here is a good and somewhat humorous article that talks about the differences between US and UK approaches to networking (not about our industries tough): http://news.efinancialcareers.co.uk/newsandviews_item/newsItemId-13760
While it is a great time for job seekers in CleanTech, making the connection to how to go about finding the right job and the right sector is part of what CleanTechies.com is about – bringing a new generation of professionals into industries that they are passionate about.
Nat Bullard at New Energy Finance was one of the early supporters of CleanTechies, and you can see what he’s done with the iLeonardo notebooks on Solar Thermal. We spoke the other day about the research that they did with Heidrick & Struggles. He was realizing how stunningly tough it was to find top level talent. There are firms out there that specialize in finding that “C” (as in CEO, COO and CFO) level talent, but what about helping companies find regular folks in the middle of their careers, that are already looking at the CleanTech sectors as worthy of their skills and dedication?
So you would like to learn more and see about how best to get into the industry – I applaud you! We have all been there, and it is an exciting place to be.
Over the past year I’ve had countless conversations with excited, motivated and very eager people (I’m hoping like you) that are looking to break into CleanTech.