There's no doubt that there are more people looking, than there are publicly posted opportunities. This applies to green and environmental jobs as much as any other kind of employment. If all you do is wait for the perfect job to appear ...you could be waiting a while. But that doesn't mean that you can't find – or create – the work you want.
The trick is to develop an active strategy that reflects and develops your values, goals and skills – and your connections to the community.
Just as in the mainstream, any successful approach involves taking the time to educate yourself on job search techniques and the basics of goal setting and planning. You'll need to hone your resume, cover letter and interview skills. This will help you communicate effectively in such a way that you achieve your goals and those of the organizations you court.
In many cases, a successful plan will involve becoming an active part of the groups, organizations and community that interest you. Whether as a member, participant, advisor, or volunteer. Not just from behind a computer – but in person.
Why not promise yourself to make your search more active, enjoyable and fruitful this year? This special edition of GoodWork offers a variety of tips and resources on how to find or create those "hidden" opportunities. Read on!
The Internet is a powerful tool you can use to learn about issues, approaches, organizations, and potential opportunities. Be sure you're truly familiar with the major eco-portals and directories. Set aside a day to focus and explore them thoroughly.
For links to all the major environmental networks and directories in Canada and beyond, see: www.GoodWork.ca/environmental-groups
Follow the links, and you'll find many organizations and opportunities that you never knew existed. If you don't have a high speed connection, invest just a few dollars and spend an afternoon at a nearby Internet cafe. Or ask friends and neighbours if you could borrow, rent or barter to use their connection for a few hours.
While you surf, have pen and paper (or word processing software) at hand. Take notes, set priorities, start a "do list". It's up to you to make something of what you find. Otherwise, it will all go in one eye, and out the other. The Internet, like TV, can be very passive and hypnotizing.
Actively network and participate to learn, make contacts, and find your way around. The most effective networking happens when you're actively involved in one way or another – whether as an organizer, participant, volunteer or consultant. Environmental conferences and events | make the most of events . And if you find it difficult to break out of the mold in your own community, perhaps some eco-travel could help. (More)
For a few dollars a year, why not become a member of at least a few organizations that interest and inspire you? Whether or not you choose to participate actively, as a paid member you will be privy to regular communications from the organization – possibly including the first word on participation, volunteer and job opportunities. If you do participate actively, you may find yourself becoming even more "in the loop" (or if not, maybe it's not the right organization for you). Your membership and participation is of great importance to the organizations you support, even if it's hard to see. Canadian environmental organizations | Peace groups
For better or worse, some organizations advertise only to people who join up, volunteer, or at least directly express interest. To be "in the loop", you need to visit their website, join up, subscribe to their member e-mail list, attend their events, or volunteer for several months or more.
Start as a volunteer, even if it's just a few hours each week – and do such a great job that they see no point in posting widely. But first, give some thought to what kinds of roles you're looking for, and why. Other than one-time help at events, applying for a volunteer position should be given the same degree of thought as applying for paid work. Do a little research, do some planning, and have a resume at hand (and a cover letter, if it's a competitive posting). Even if you don't need a cover letter, writing one can help you think things through and make the right choices.
It's all about matchmaking – understanding your own needs and wants, and those of the organization. And communicating them effectively. To do less can be a waste of both your time and the organization's. Rapid volunteer turnover (or unreliability) can be a real burden – it's the main reason why some organizations no longer seek volunteers (or may need to be convinced that you're worth investing time in).
You can dramatically reduce your dependency on unsustainable and often self-destroying work – by living frugally, simply and sustainably. By focusing your priorities on the things that really matter. This can give you the flexibility you need to build meaningful work into your life. www.planetfriendly.net/living.html www.planetfriendly.net/living.html#simplicity www.enotalone.com/books/1894622375.html
It's important never to lose site of the big questions, the broader perspective. Whether you're researching an opportunity, networking, or having an interview, this can help you learn and find your niche. How does this organization make a difference? What are it's biggest successes? What problems and hurdles does it face? How is it funded? What is its long-term goals? Its immediate needs? How does its projects relate to big-picture issues such as sustainable livelihoods, climate change, the gap between rich and poor, war and peace? Keep such questions in mind while you peruse websites or other materials... or if an opportunity arises, ask them in person.
Books and materials from inspiring individuals who are concerned about environmental & social issues: www.planetfriendly.net/heroes.html
How to do an information interview: www.google.ca/search?q=%22information+interview%22
Practice "critical thinking" (in a non-judgmental way) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking
Are you looking for green work, but haven't yet found what you're seeking? Would you love to green your career ...but the opportunities aren't exactly falling on your lap? If so, here's an idea: rather than competing for existing jobs, why not create your own? Whether you want to work with an environmental group, green business or government, why wait for someone else to "give" you a job? More: http://www.goodwork.ca/createyourowngreenjob.html
If the green community is to grow, we need to help each other, individually and as a community. We need to create organizations, activities and communication structures that are truly welcoming to newcomers.
Don't kill the messenger! Without communication services like GoodWork, we'd be stuck with mainstream services that are often driven only by commercial goals. Please support GoodWork and other "free" services you use with an annual contribution or volunteer effort. www.GoodWork.ca
Some people wait years for the perfect job to "appear", when they could have found or created it themselves much more quickly, if only they were a bit more proactive. Set aside some time each week to explore, plan, and try new things. Or, set aside a week to try out each of the nine steps above.
In a very real sense, the future will be what you contribute to and create.
This document is available online at: www.goodwork.ca/hidden-green-jobs
More Job Search Tips
Disclaimer: The above is provided for your information. There is no warranty as to its accuracy, completeness or fitness for any use or purpose. For more information on careers and job searching, consult your local library, career or employment centre.
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