Moving Forward with My Entry-Level Green Job Search

[Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of Michael’s search for an entry-level job within an environmentally-focused non-profit or NGO]

Make sure to read my last update on my job search if you missed it. On a whim, I ended up speaking on camera to a college newspaper writer in Chicago about my troubles finding a job that meets my qualifications.

Life is funny—that interview ended up leading me to a seriously useful job resource. I had agreed to the interview because I felt bad for the journalist, who seemed to be struggling to get responses. But the video wound up on the internet, where Wendy Freeman, the director of career advising at Evergreen State College, stumbled across it. Excited to help with a search for a green job, she contacted me quickly.[social_buttons]

She recommended that I focus my search on the east coast, specifically the Washington DC area, and said that she will work with me until I find a job that fits me perfectly. She has been a wealth of knowledge and information that could help anyone else in a similar situation to mine.

Wendy offered me valuable resume and cover letter tips and immediately began to send me links to job openings in my field. She also informed me that Evergreen’s career services are offered for life at no cost to all alumni. Feeling fortunate and motivated, I started fine-tuning my resume. I began researching non-profits and doing a more pointed job search.

Having supportive people who are not only willing, but eager, to help me out has been a huge stress relief. I am told to not be surprised if it takes months to find a good job for me (I naively thought that weeks was a more accurate time frame), but I am also aware that I will have support the entire time.

Green Job Search Tip of the Week

Take advantage of any help that is coming your way, especially your college career center! I think I allowed pride and naivety to convince me that I could do this on my own—that I could move to a strange city, find a job I like, and be financially independent. That was stupid of me. Obtaining advice from those who are more knowledgeable is important and not to be ashamed of.

For instance, Wendy told me that since my work experience (mostly restaurants) is irrelevant to the career I plan to have, that I should devote more space to detailing projects I worked on in college than I should to my prior jobs. This is a tip that I never would have found by reading job resume websites or talking to my mom.

Career centers are there for a good reason, and while they can be useful after graduating, they are there for current students. If I had thought more carefully about how hard it was going to be to land a job in the (surprisingly competitive) non-profit sector, I would certainly have began looking for work 6 months before graduating. There is absolutely no reason to do something like this alone, and there is no shame in needing help from those with more experience.

Be sure to check in next, when I will provide updates on my current job and a detailed break down of my old and new job resume.

Photo Credit: Moriza on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

3 thoughts on “Moving Forward with My Entry-Level Green Job Search”

  1. Also, my organization posts our jobs when available to and, not to Craigslist or ecojobs which you have mentioned checking out in your previous post. Expand your toolset and you’ll find more potential opportunities, I think.

  2. Michael,

    Stumbled across your blog the other day, and I haven’t seen mention of a couple of resources you ought to take advantage of for green job hunting in Chicago. First, the Foresight Design/Chicago Sustainable Business Alliance newsletter always has job listings. Second, Chicago Green Drinks is great for networking. There is a “Sustainable Careers” green drinks event at the Notebart museum in early December: Third, we aren’t quite there yet in terms of being able to connect people to jobs, but the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative hopes to be able to help job seekers.

    Don’t be afraid to reach beyond the nonprofit world to find a job. Seriously, there is a lot of good stuff going on in for-profit business that needs smart, dedicated, green-minded people too!

  3. Michael, this is a great series. You should perhaps try to make it into a book or into a condensed magazine article when you are finished.

    Many of the trials and tribulations you mention with learning how to prepare a resume, where to find job announcements, sucking up your pride and using a career center are things many of us have been through. Once again, I highly recommend buying a copy of What Color is Your Parachute… one quick tip that is from the book.

    Throughout your job search, and especially after interviews– send a brief thank you note for the person’s time– no matter how small their help might have been. If you don’t think using the mail is appropriate, ask for their full name and email. A short email thank you sometimes is easier and less formal– but a hand-written letter is also nice.

    You should do this because it will a) provide evidence as to how you will act during your job (with graciousness and meticulous detail) and b) it can distinguish you from other job applicants.

    Keep up the good work!

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