We get a lot of questions from people who want to start a career in CleanTech. As a professional recruiter for CleanTech companies, Ian has been giving valuable career advice on the CleanTechies Blog (read for example “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste” or “Does your CleanTech job hunt s***?“). Today, I want to draw your attention to some upcoming career fairs you shouldn’t miss if you’re in the area and looking for a job in this space. Events like these are a great way to learn more about the industry, its key players and what different companies are looking for in their new hires. Some of the job fairs post open positions on their web sites and offer on-site one-on-one interviews to selected candidates. My advice: even if you don’t get an interview, visit your favorite companies’ booths, and talk to their recruiters and managers. Not only can you get valuable insights into their hiring and selection processes, you might also meet somebody who can be a good reference when applying to your dream job.
I wrote earlier about the US Green Building Council’s LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) certification program. LEED is a 4-tier rating system for high-performing buildings that encourages a systemic approach to sustainable design. Historically, most LEED APs were architects, mechanical engineers, and other niche green building professionals. With the demand for green buildings and sustainable design booming, an increasing number of professionals are becoming LEED AP certified (more than 75K and climbing rapidly). For about $650 and a lot of focused studying and serious dedication, you too can become a LEED AP.
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.
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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