In a recent study, Colorado was ranked 5th in the nation in a 2011 Clean Energy Leadership Index. Colorado’s combination of high mountains and broad plains adds up to a bounty of renewable resources. The president’s New Energy For America plan calls for a federal investment of $150 billion to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. Specifically, the plan calls for renewable energy to supply 10% of the nation’s electricity by 2012, rising to 25% by 2025. These are just a few reasons why there is plenty of opportunity for job seekers to land a “green collar” job in the Centennial State by following a few simple steps.
1- Research target companies and job boards that focus on social or environmental responsibility.
Googling “renewable energy companies + Colorado” will bring up a number of target lists of local companies. Assemble a list of organizations you’re most interested in working for based on their size, business type, and/or location. Use online job boards like GreenJobSearch.org and GreenJobSpider.com to learn about what key positions are available or most in demand and which skills are required for each.
2- Create a green-focused resume and embark on a targeted job search for best results.
You will have better results if you focus you résumé for a specific type of green job and ensure your résumé contains the requisite keywords and phrases that are commonly found in the target job descriptions. Passion is important but skills pay the bills! Embarking on a campaign to utilize your network in reaching out to hiring managers and decision makers from target companies is a highly-effective strategy. Most renewable energy and related companies are small, so they mainly rely on word of mouth and referrals for hiring.
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3- Get involved!
Joining a renewable energy or green collar professional association is a great way to learn about the hot jobs, hot companies, what skills are required, and to network with people who are currently employed in the industry. Research is always part of the process but talking to people in the front lines can really increase your chances for success. Offer to take someone to coffee or lunch to gain key insights on what it takes to break into the industry. Some associations for consideration are CRES (Colorado Renewable Energy Society) and CCIA (Colorado Cleantech Energy Association). Volunteering is also a great way to learn about the industry, develop key skills, and make connections. NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in Golden has a number of volunteer opportunities available.
4- Give yourself a competitive advantage by gaining a green degree or certification.
You can give yourself a major advantage over other applicants by gaining a renewable energy or related degree or certification. CU, CSU, Colorado Mountain College, School of Mines, and most local community colleges all offer a number or green and eco-friendly degree and certification programs. There are also many online programs and certifications available. Ensure you showcase any relevant degree or certification early in your resume.
- Renewable energy is a relatively new industry which has experienced tremendous growth. There are few experts, and most employees in this industry have limited tenure or are fairly new.
- Many major corporations are greening their supply lines and are looking for people with training, ideas and experience to assist them.