Breaking into Green - By Greg Schreiner, Green Tech Recruiter

How Can I Get into a Green Career?

The last couple of years have taken a toll on many families as jobless rates continue to climb with little insight to how the next year or two will play out. As a recruiter in the alternative energy sector, I have been watching things improve since the beginning of the year. Many companies continue to hire, and because of this growth I receive daily calls from interested candidates and the number one question is “How can I get into a green career?”

What Do You Want to Do?

Research states there are about 9 million green jobs currently available in renewable energy and energy efficiency, with many companies positioned very well to see continued growth. Even though there has been a consistent increase in demand for green sector jobs, it is still a competitive job market. Companies that are hiring are looking for specific industry knowledge and experience whether it is wind, solar, biofuels, electric vehicle, battery, geothermal, or some other related industry.

So the Question Remains: How Do I Get a Green Job?

The first thing I recommend to interested candidates is to truly do some soul searching about what type of career they want and in what industry they want to work in. Then, go find people currently working in that space and talk with them. Find out what type of experience they have and how they got their start in that career. Ultimately take note on their roadmap to success and their advice on how to get there.

Once you target your next role, go out and find companies that are focused in that space. What positions are they hiring for, what locations are they hiring in, and how is the future looking for these companies? Compile data to help you determine the top 4-5 companies that interest you. Start to connect with professionals in these companies via social media outlets or trade shows. Utilizing specialized search firms like Redfish Technology is also a great way to get your name in front of these companies as well.

Get Off The Couch!

Now it is time to get involved in your chosen industry. As I mentioned before, companies are looking for people with active experience in the industry. Seek out volunteer work/programs in your area. There are thousands and thousands of groups trying to make a social and economic push towards a greener community and many of them are very short handed, welcoming many professionals eager to lend a hand.

Here is a list of a few top nonprofit organizations that can help point you in the right direction:
• Alliance to Save Energy (
• American Solar Energy Society (
• American Wind Energy Association (
• Geothermal Energy Association (
• Interstate Renewable Energy Council (
• US Green Building Council (

Gaining Industry Expertise

Outside of volunteer work there are an abundance of opportunities to obtain industry specific certifications and training. Many of these programs are very affordable and widely recognized by leading companies in the green space. Continued training is a vital part of career progression anyway and if you are looking to make a change this is a great way to pad your resume and continue life-long learning. Research is important here as well. Look for compatible training/certification classes that match your desired experience and that also build upon your past success/experience.

Here is a list of highly recognized training/certification courses:
• North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) (
• U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) (
• Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) (
• Project Management Institute (PMI) (

In addition to this small list, many local universities now offer renewable energy or green courses and or certification courses. Also, in many cases there is federal and state money available for individuals going back to school for additional training in the green sector (

Passion Equals Success

If a Green Job is truly what you want and it is what you are passionate about you will be successful transitioning to your next career path. If you are in it for the money, you may find glimpses of higher mediocrity but in the long run you will most likely fail. If you are looking to make a change, make sure it is the right direction for you personally and take responsibility to make it happen.

"Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand." -- Bruce Barton

About Greg:
Greg Schreiner has been recruiting in the Green sector since 2007. He is impassioned by the complexity and challenges of working in this dynamic industry with both hiring managers and candidates, matching world class companies and talent. You can read Greg’s profile on our website and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About Redfish Technology, Inc.

Redfish Technology, Inc. specializes in locating talent in the Green Energy and High Tech sectors. Recruiting since 1996, the company offers nationwide coverage and boasts offices in Silicon Valley, the East Coast, and the Intermountain West. For more information on our services, call us at 408-719-0200 or visit Redfish on the internet.

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Environment Jobs, Climate Careers

That is a difficult one. But we have done a little research into this...Green and Environment Jobs were heralded as the way forward to help save the earth and to combat climate change, enhance conservation efforts and halt species decline. But just how far have we come in the past 10 years writes Andrew Coleman for

"There are several studies of the jobs market and the scope for creating a successful career in this field, but is environmental protection a vocation that I would encourage any undergraduate to follow?" (writes Andrew)

"Until 2008 there was a tremendous growth pretty much all niches of environmentalism. The trend followed a similar pattern to the tech boom, and the current situation is also the same...the 'bubble burst."

"Although there has seen a marginal growth in the years post 2008, growth remains subdued. Previously bouyant areas such as 'organics' 'ecology' and 'climate change' have continued to tread water."

"The organic market is predominantly a consumer driven market, and affected by price, customer spend, inflation and employment. In the minority are the organic diehards that will continue to by organic produce irrespective of price and quantity - in favour of a 'lifestyle decision'. The organic market has nose dived since 2008, but it is my opinion that this will become 'part and parcel' of the Fairtrade consumerism and will once again grow. (Fairtrade has not been affected by the global recession but has in fact grown)."

"Ecology is affected by private sector business and to a lesser extent by public sector pay. Without developments there is little demand for the services of ecology consultancy services. Less demand creates a stagnant job market. There will however, always be a seasonal demand for ecologists."

"Climate Change (CC) is affected by both public and private sector spend. But unlike other specialisms, it has been seen to be at the mercy of climate sceptics and conflicting reports about the integrity of climate data. CC is undoubtedly affecting the globe and is integral to many jobs. However, private sector developments, R&D and the resulting increase in the jobs market has not materialised as would have been expected."

"...Onto renewables. Renewables are the holy grail. However, it is my opnion that the future for renewables is fusion energy. Fusion energy requires little physical space and creates energy thousands of times higher (per input) than any other form of energy creation (nuclear aside). However, there is little R&D into this potentially planet saving energy resource. It is my belief that solar, wind and wave technology are too unreliable, labour intensive, invasive, costly and ineffective."

We are currently collating market data and hope to publish some statistics and trends later in 2013.