There are many green job options for anyone committed to helping the environment, saving the planet, protecting animals, or promoting sustainability in some way. For students learning environmental science or related subjects, the future of green careers is bright.
In 2022 alone, the U.S. Energy Department estimates there were 3.2 million people employed in clean energy jobs, including wind, solar, electric vehicle production, and energy efficiency. Also, the growth rate in these fields was 3.9%, surpassing the overall U.S. job growth of 3.1%. Electric vehicles had the fastest job growth, a 27% increase.
Although there are many green job opportunities, you can break into the industry faster by narrowing down your career interests so you don’t perform an unfocused job search. Present yourself to potential employers with a clear focus while showcasing how your background and skills make you a desirable candidate.
Even early in your career, right after you graduate college, defining your goals and what your ideal job looks like can help you craft a targeted resume rather than a generic one that applies to any “green” job.
To get started, follow this guide to finding the right type of green job based on your skills and preferences. From there, you can create an impressive resume highlighting the unique value you can offer a green-minded organization.
Envision the Green Job You Want
Green jobs encompass many different types of work, with the common thread being they benefit the environment somehow. Create a sort of living document of your career preferences to help you develop a more targeted job search. We say “living document” because your preferences may change and evolve over time, and you can pivot as needed.
Start your green career exploration by thinking through these categories:
- Job title: Especially with emerging green careers, job titles may vary or not even yet be created. However, you can research some established roles that are well-suited for entry-level job seekers. Some titles to explore may include: environmental technician, environmental planner, environmental engineer, air quality consultant, field technician, water engineer, field research assistant, and conservation scientist.
- Job duties and activities: Think about the type of work you want to do. Coming right out of school, some of the common job duties you might have include performing field assessments, site inspections, data analysis, collaborating with science teams, or writing reports.
- Environmental causes: Green jobs encompass several industries, from clean energy to electric vehicles to agriculture. Figuring out which areas of sustainability you’re passionate about can narrow down the opportunities you might seek. For example, if clean water is a cause that you find compelling, you might focus on jobs that monitor water quality or water conservation work.
- Employer type: In addition to working for an organization specifically focused on environmental causes, you could also work for an employer in a different sector reducing its own environmental footprint. Many employers are bringing on “green” employees to help them meet sustainability goals, opening up many job options.
- Employer size: Green workers are a hot commodity across many sectors and among organizations of many sizes. Do you want your first stint after college to be with a small startup or a large corporation?
- Work setting: Choosing where you want to work is another way to narrow down your job search. Some green jobs might allow for hybrid or work-from-home schedules. Others will require you to report to an office location, and some may have you traveling and doing fieldwork.
Brainstorm Your Top Experiences
Once you’re done envisioning your target green job, start to jot down your experiences and achievements. This exercise is key for identifying what sets you apart from other candidates and what would make you a valuable asset to an organization. Grab a sheet of paper or open a blank document and brainstorm the following aspects of your education and background:
- Academics and education (college GPA, class rank, honors, or awards)
- Community service
- Foreign language proficiency
- Hobbies and interests
- Personal accomplishments
- School clubs and societies
- Technical or computer skills
- Travel or study abroad experience
- Volunteer experience
- Work experience
Develop Your Resume for Green Jobs
You should have completed two exercises: your green job goals and a list of your top experiences. What you discover about yourself with these two lists will form the basis of your green jobs resume.
Naturally, it’s best not to include any irrelevant details. But look for areas of alignment between what you want from your ideal green job and the experiences and skills you have developed. Now you’re ready to begin crafting your resume.
A comprehensive resume should include the following sections:
- Name and contact information: Use a professional-sounding email address.
- Profile summary: This gives the hiring manager quick highlights of your qualifications and accomplishments.
- Key skills: Developing a list of your most valuable hard and soft skills makes your resume easier to scan.
- One or more experience sections: Listing out the value you’ve brought to past jobs or internships is a good predictor of what you can contribute to your next employer.
- Education: Include your degrees, certifications, and any pertinent details.
Green Resume Templates and Examples
1221 Victoria Street, Charlotte, NC 93402 | (989) 876-5454 | [email protected]
Licensed engineer with nine years of experience in environmental consulting. Ready collaborator who builds positive, productive relationships with diverse internal and external stakeholders. Committed to professional integrity and excellence in all endeavors. Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. Bilingual: fluent in English and Spanish.
- Complex problem-solving
- Cross-functional collaboration
- Customer relations
- Environmental investigation
- Environmental protection & sustainability
- Facility inspection
- Field assessment
- Hazardous waste management studies
- Leadership consulting
- Policy development & enforcement
- Pollution control
- Process redesign & improvement
- Program development
- Project review & management
- Public health
- Quality monitoring & assurance
- Recycling improvement
- Regulatory compliance
- Reporting & documentation
- Scientific data analysis
- Waste disposal
Environmental Engineer, Urban Environmental Consulting, Charlotte, NC | November 2013
- Design and hone processes for recycling, waste disposal, pollution control, and overall public health
- Collaborate with environmental scientists, geologists, business directors, city planners, and waste technicians
- Assess and compare field work against project specifications
- Analyze data and write environmental reports for clients and local and federal agencies
- Introduced recycling program that reduced solid and hazardous waste disposal by 75%
Education & Credentials
Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Licensed Professional Engineer – Environmental Engineering, North Carolina
Fluency in Spanish | Proficiency in Italian
323 Sixth Street, Boise, ID 97531
Hydrogeologist with 8+ years’ experience. Versatile leader and collaborator who puts complex topics in clear terms for technical and nontechnical audiences. Skilled at analyzing data and finding anomalies for further investigation.
- Advanced Microsoft Excel
- Complex Problem-Solving
- Cross-Functional Collaboration
- Data Analysis & Interpretation
- Strategic Planning
- Task Delegation
- Team Leadership
- Water Sampling
Research Hydrogeologist, Boise State University, Boise, ID | August 2018 to Present
- Plan and execute water sampling expeditions to remote locations
- Use various equipment to measure water levels and flow rates and maintain precise records
- Supervise teams of up to 15 during borehole logging activities
- Co-created online education resources that raised public engagement by 21% last year
- Earned a workplace commendation in 2020 for effectively addressing water accessibility issues
- Achieved near-perfect (99.8%) water measurement and documentation accuracy
Hydrogeologist, Suez-Na, Boise, ID | July 2014 to August 2018
- Analyzed geophysical logs and presented findings both verbally and in writing
- Planned and carried out field investigations
- Worked with geochemical department to recommend chemical maintenance strategies
- Maintained up-to-date knowledge of local water rights legislation and new hydrogeological technologies
- Praised on all 4 formal reviews for outstanding teamwork
- Met all deadlines and completed 32% of field investigations ahead of time
University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Science | 2014
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Science | 2012
Develop Your Cover Letter and LinkedIn for Green Jobs
To supplement your resume, it’s important to craft a compelling cover letter you can send prospective employers. At the same time, you can develop your LinkedIn profile with much of the same information.
Think of your cover letter as your “elevator pitch” or an extended version of the profile section of your resume. You’ll have more space to provide a glimpse into your personality and go into more depth about accomplishments you’re proud of or experiences that make you uniquely suited for your next role.
Network for Green Career Opportunities
If you did an informal poll with the people you know, you’d likely find that many landed an interview at their current job because of a personal connection or someone in their network referring them. Oftentimes, it is who you know that helps give you an edge during your job search. It’s best to ensure you are tapping your network for potential job leads, career advice, and other industry tips.
You may not realize it, but even as a college student or recent graduate, you’ve already developed a strong professional network. Some people who you can reach out to:
- Professors working in your field of interest. If you studied environmental science or took some other courses related to green careers, speak to your professors (or former ones) to get their take on the industry.
- Your alumni network. Most universities have a robust alumni program that helps recent graduates connect with former students for networking opportunities. You can also look on LinkedIn to see if any graduates from your program are working in the field and connect with them.
- Start following and engaging with industry LinkedIn groups.
- Join green professional associations or networking groups. Some to try (depending on your specialty area):
Explore Jobs at Major Green Employers
Many green employers are out there, making matching your passion with a nonprofit or other organization easy. Here are some of the largest green employers, along with their missions, to give you a sense of some opportunities.
Clean Harbors Inc. North America’s leading provider of environmental and industrial services with services including end-to-end hazardous waste management, emergency spill response, industrial cleaning and maintenance, and recycling services.
View current job openings
Ormat Technologies Inc. A leading renewable energy provider including geothermal, waste heat Recovered Energy Generation (REG), and energy storage.
View current job openings
Re:wild An organization that aims to protect the biodiversity of the Earth by creating and managing protected areas, restoring and protecting ecosystems, working with Indigenous people on their land rights, and preventing wildlife crime. The company has over 200 active project sites in more than 80 countries to help protect 160 threatened species and support an additional 30,000 species.
View current job openings
Sunrun Inc. One of the top solar companies in the nation, the company also integrates home battery storage, electrification, and other smart home solutions to power homes, cars, and communities.
View current job openings
Tetra Tech Inc. A leading global provider of consulting and engineering services, supporting global commercial and government clients focused on water, environment, sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, and international development.
View current job openings
Leverage Green Job Boards
Aside from large job posting sites like Monster and Indeed, some industry-specific job boards exist. Green job boards can help you find roles focusing on sustainability, environmental issues, climate research, conservation, and other related areas. Here are a few to bookmark:
Conservation Job Board This career website focuses on opportunities within conservation, ecology, forestry, wildlife, and fisheries.
EcoJobs Features jobs in natural resources and conservation; environmental science and engineering; environmental advocacy; environmental law; renewable energy and sustainability; and outdoor and environmental education jobs.
Environmental Defense Fund Green Jobs Hub This hub links out to smaller green job boards and professional associations with job leads.
GreenBiz Jobs Search for careers in sustainability, climate tech, renewable energy, net zero, the circular economy, environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), and more.
GreenJobSearch.org This job board features green economy jobs, including environmental, conservation, clean energy, climate change, and sustainability postings.
Frequently Asked Questions About Finding Green Jobs
Is there a demand for green jobs?-
Green jobs are growing faster than the average across all occupations. In fact, some studies forecast more than 300 million additional green-collar jobs will be created by 2050 worldwide. This is due to a greater focus on decarbonization, renewable energies, climate change, and other green initiatives.
How do I start a career in climate change?-
Finding a career related to climate change begins with the appropriate course of study and familiarizing yourself with some industry opportunities. Studying climatology or weather topics and then getting an internship with a climate change organization can help get your foot in the door.
What is an example of a green industry?-
Green industries are related in some way to environmental protection, climate change awareness, promoting renewable energies, reducing the carbon footprint, conservation projects, and other eco-friendly initiatives. Popular green industries include solar, wind energy, and electric vehicles.
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