Many jobs created today are environmentally friendly, or “green.” But it’s not always easy to break into these jobs, especially for workers who have spent their careers in unrelated roles. In Paint Your Career Green, Stan Schatt and Michele Lobl describe steps to smooth the way for a career change.
“Whether you are looking to shift careers for greater satisfaction, for more money, or to overcome boredom, or if a change of careers is being forced on you, you should know that there is a right and wrong way to change careers,” Schatt and Lobl say.
Here are their tips for a successful career change:
Do your research
“Find companies in industries that you’d like to work for and research them. Study the company’s website, read up on it elsewhere on the Internet and take a look at its last two annual reports. If you know someone working there, ask for an informational interview. Ask them what it’s like working there, what type of workers they hire…what training you’ll need to do well in the job, what money you can expect to make and what a typical day is like on the job.
“The more you know about a company, its industry, its competition and its culture, the better you can position yourself to be what that company wants and needs.”
Show your fit
“Learn to describe your previous work experience in ways that are relevant to the kinds of positions you are applying for. Using keywords from the company’s job description on your resume and in your cover letter will show that you are a good match. Tell them exactly why your experience (paid and volunteer) equips you to perform the duties of the job. Highlight your accomplishments, awards and promotions. Employers want capable workers who have been successful in the past to bring those same skills to their company.”
Don’t burn bridges
“Whether you are leaving a job on your own or are being asked to leave, be sure to keep the peace. Within an industry, word gets around, and anything negative you said or did as you left your last job could cost you opportunities down the road.
“Even if you are changing industries and entering an entirely new career field, you still want to leave your job on good terms. You will probably want a positive recommendation from your supervisor, and your next employers will no doubt ask for references.”