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Top tips for securing your first sustainability job

20 Sep 2023 9 min read

This blog, provided by Hays, a global specialist recruiter, outlines ten pieces of advice for finding your first role in sustainability.

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Are you passionate about sustainability? Do you want to make a positive impact on the planet in your next role? Do you have the transferable skills and experience to thrive in a sustainability role? If so, it’s time to look at how to secure your first sustainability job.

More and more people are looking for opportunities to work in the green economy, but what’s the best way to secure your first role in such a competitive market? In this article, we’ll share 10 simple steps to land your first job in sustainability. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a career changer, these tips will help you stand out from the crowd and showcase your suitability for a sustainability job.

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  1. Explore the areas of sustainability you’re most interested in 

From environmental management to the circular economy, sustainable buildings to corporate sustainability, there’s a huge range of sustainability roles out there. Explore the topics that interest you the most and research the current opportunities in these areas that match your skills and interests. 

  1. Broaden your understanding of what a sustainability job is 

There’s much more to sustainability than just recycling and planting trees. Organisations in all sectors, including financial services, healthcare and the built environment, need professionals to develop environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies and implement sustainability frameworks. 

  1. Seek out organisations that are paving the way in sustainability 

During your job search, it’s essential to research organisations that are taking a leading role in tackling sustainability issues like climate change, environmental pollution and plastic waste

  1. Be wary of greenwashing in corporate communications 

Sustainability now forms a key part of most business strategies but there are some organisations that exaggerate or falsify their environmental credentials – also known as ‘greenwashing.’ Steer away from applying to any company that’s unable to back up its green claims. Look out for excessive jargon on company websites, buzzwords like ‘eco-friendly’ and vague statements that aren’t supported by evidence or data. 

  1. Look out for opportunities to upskill in your current role 

It may be that you can develop your green skills and get involved with sustainability initiatives in your current organisation that’ll help you secure your first sustainability job. By showing you’re interested in sustainability in your current role, you’re putting yourself in a great position for when a sustainability job becomes available that you want to apply for. 

  1. Consider how your skills could be useful in a sustainability job 

When searching for your first job in the sustainability sector, don’t let a lack of experience deter you from applying. Transferable skills like creativity, analytical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving are very important for sustainability jobs and will add value to your future organisation. 

  1. Build your personal network of sustainability professionals 

Expanding your network of sustainability professionals will only benefit your job search and future career in sustainability. Reaching out to existing and new connections on LinkedIn and attending industry events will help you learn more about the green economy and its job opportunities. 

  1. Search for ways to learn more about sustainability 

There are always new developments in the sustainability space so it’s important to read up on the latest news and research ahead of writing any job applications or attending interviews. Make sure you’re keeping up to date with industry insights and signing up to newsletters from sustainability consultancies and news websites. 

  1. Volunteer to gain practical experience in sustainability 

Volunteering is a great way to develop your green skills and showcase your suitability for a sustainability job to a hiring manager, especially if you don’t have any previous experience working in a sustainability role. 

  1. Be patient and trust the job searching process 

It’ll probably take some time to find the right sustainability job that suits your interests and skillset, so don’t be disheartened if it takes longer than expected to hear back from organisations or secure an interview. Be patient and keep looking for opportunities to develop your skills, build your network and learn more about this ever-evolving sector. This will put you in the best position possible to secure your first sustainability job when the time’s right. 

Browse the Green Careers Hub for more insights and tips for securing your first sustainability job. 

This is a guest blog written by Hays for the Green Careers Hub. Hays is a strategic partner of the Green Careers Hub.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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IEMA is the membership body for environment and sustainability professionals